The Note’s Must-Reads for Tuesday, April 1, 2014

By Will Cantine

Apr 1, 2014 3:35am

The Note’s Must-Reads are a round-up of today’s political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at www.abcnews.com

Compiled by ABC News’ Jayce Henderson, Will Cantine and Jordan Mazza

HEALTHCARE
ABC News’ Arlette Saenz: “Americans For Prosperity Unleashes Another Attack On Mark Pryor” Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group financially backed by the Koch Brothers, is targeting Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., with a new ad highlighting his position on Obamacare, increasing its ad spending in the Arkansas Senate race to over $1.8 million. The minute long ad features a man named Jerry, who runs a trucking business and is frustrated with the uncertainty of his health care coverage due to the Affordable Care Act. LINK

ABC News’ Erin Dooley: “Obamacare Ads Win Millennials’ Applause, But Did They Enroll?” The Obamacare team has used Hollywood celebrities, star athletes, animals, online games and memes to entice young people to the state and federal healthcare exchanges before today’s midnight  deadline. They even put the president on Zach Galifianakis’ snarky web series “Between Two Ferns.” The marketing strategy may be paying off. According to a poll released by Pew Research Center for People & the Press earlier this month, 50 percent of young adults, age 18 to 29, now say they ”approve” of Obamacare. Compare that to a similar survey taken three months ago. Back in December, just 41 percent of those in the 18-29 demographic said they approved of the president’s signature healthcare law. LINK

Politico’s Joanne Kenen and Kyle Cheney: “Obamacare Enrollment Period Ends With Massive Surge” The first open enrollment season of Obamacare ended at midnight Monday, a day that saw millions of Americans click onto Obamacare sign-up portals, dial into call centers and stand in long lines at assistance sites nationwide. The huge surge made it increasingly likely that enrollment would hit 7 million, the finish line that seemed out of reach during much of the often rocky six-month period. Shortly after 10 p.m., the Associated Press cited two sources that said sign-ups were “on track” to hit 7 million. Administration officials wouldn’t confirm the number but said that signs were pointing in that direction. LINK

The New York Times’ Robert Pear: “Health Website Failures Impede Signup Surge As Deadline Nears” A frenzied last-minute scramble to sign up for health insurance overloaded phone lines and temporarily overwhelmed the website of the federal marketplace on Monday, as hundreds of thousands of people around the country raced to beat the deadline to obtain coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Administration officials, stepping up the push for enrollment in the final hours, said they were confident that they would reach their original goal of having seven million people sign up for private health plans through federal and state exchanges. LINK

The New York Daily News’ Glenn Blain and Joseph Straw: “Obamacare Enrollment ‘Significantly’ Above Projection Despite Website Crash On Enrollment Deadline” Obamacare’s inaugural signup period ended Monday as it began, with its troubled national website crashing under a stampede of health insurance shoppers. For more than an hour, users of healthcare.gov were unable to create new accounts and begin the sign-up process, frustrating Americans who waited until the last minute to arrange for coverage. Still, the White House seized on the positive: Despite the abysmal rollout of Obamacare six months ago, enrollment was closing in on the original goal of nearly 7 million Americans by the end of March. LINK

The Hill’s Elsie Viebeck: “ObamaCare Traffic Surges In Rush To March 31 Deadline” HealthCare.gov crashed twice Monday as an apparent surge of visitors rushed to register before the 11:59 p.m. insurance enrollment deadline for President Obama’s healthcare law. By 2 p.m., the site had received some 1.6 million visits, a higher volume of traffic than ever before, according to the administration. Applicants also queued for several hours as the website coped with a peak of 125,000 concurrent visitors. LINK

USA Today’s Jayne O’Donnell, Aamer Madhani and Ray Locker: “Health Care Sign-Ups Surge Toward 7M” A surge of interest and last-minute technical glitches marked the final day of enrollment in health insurance through federal and state websites Monday, as a target once thought out of reach — 7 million enrollees — was on the verge of being reached.  Late Monday, a government official told USA TODAY that the administration is on track to sign up 7 million people by the midnight deadline. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because officials were not authorized to speak before the enrollees were all counted.  LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Spencer E. Ante and Louise Radnofsky: “New Technical Woes Hobble Health-Insurance Sign-Ups At Zero Hour” New problems in the federal health-insurance website stymied some of the hundreds of thousands of Americans trying to sign up at the last minute, prompting health plans and officials to brace for the complex task of enrolling people after Monday’s official deadline.  The HealthCare.gov site for 36 states that have about 33 million uninsured people went down shortly after midnight Sunday and remained unusable until about 7:45 a.m. EDT Monday, a person familiar with the matter said. LINK

CIA
The Washington Post’s Greg Miller, Adam Goldman and Ellen Nakashima: “CIA Misled On Interrogation Program, Senate Report Says” A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques. The report, built around detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees, documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the document. LINK

The Washington Times’ Guy Taylor: “CIA Officer Confirmed No Protests Before Misleading Benghazi Account Given” Before the Obama administration gave an inaccurate narrative on national television that the Benghazi attacks grew from an anti-American protest, the CIA’s station chief in Libya pointedly told his superiors in Washington that no such demonstration occurred, documents and interviews with current and former intelligence officials show. The attack was “not an escalation of protests,” the station chief wrote to then-Deputy CIA Director Michael J. Morell in an email dated Sept. 15, 2012 — a full day before the White House sent Susan E. Rice to several Sunday talk shows to disseminate talking points claiming that the Benghazi attack began as a protest over an anti-Islam video. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO
Uninsured Scramble As Obamacare Deadline Draws NearLINK
North Korea And South Korea Exchange FireLINK
Obamacare Heads To Finish Line With GlitchesLINK
Last Minute Surge Ahead Of Obamacare DeadlineLINK

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