The Note's Must-Reads for Tuesday October 22, 2013

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

Compiled by ABC News' Carrie Halperin, Jordan Mazza, Will Cantine and Amanda VanAllen

HEALTH CARE WEBSITE PROBLEMS The New York Times' Michael D. Shear and Robert Pear: " Obama Admits Website Flaws On Health Law" President Obama offered an impassioned defense of the Affordable Care Act on Monday, acknowledging the technical failures of the Web site, but providing little new information about the problems with the online portal or the efforts by government contractors to fix it. LINK

The Washington Post's Lena H. Sun and Scott Wilson: " Health Insurance Exchange Launched Despite Signs Of Serious Problems" Days before the launch of President Obama's online health ­insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously. Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead. LINK

Politico's Jason Millman and Reid J. Epstein: " Obama On ACA Website: 'No Excuse For These Problems'" President Barack Obama on Monday tossed aside months of messaging about how easy it would be to sign up for health care under his signature law and sought to remind Americans that the Affordable Care Act has benefits far beyond the chance to apply for insurance online. And he urged Americans not to give up on Obamacare, even if they were frustrated by LINK

Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown: " Obama: Your Call Is Important To Us" President Barack Obama delivered an Obamacare speech Monday that sounded a lot like hold music. With a staunch defense of the law and a hint of outrage over its problems, Obama sought to buy time with Congress, potential customers and the public while his administration rushes to fix, the beleaguered website that threatens the viability of his signature domestic achievement. LINK

The Hill's Elise Viebeck: " Embattled Sebelius to testify next week on ObamaCare rollout" Embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will testify before Congress next week about the botched rollout of ObamaCare's insurance exchanges after rejecting GOP demands to appear this week. The House Energy and Commerce Committee confirmed Monday night that Sebelius would meet with the committee next Wednesday. LINK

The Boston Globe's Tracy Jan: " Obama admits frustration with snarled insurance site" A frustrated President Obama on Monday acknowledged the extensive technical failings of a new federal website through which millions of Americans are supposed to sign up for health insurance, but he said he would fix it before the problems eclipse his groundbreaking health care law. "There's no sugar-coating it," Obama said in a speech from the Rose Garden. LINK

Bloomberg's Alex Wayne, Drew Armstrong and Alex Nussbaum: " Obamacare Rushes to End Delays as Deadline Talk Grows" The Obama administration said it has reached out to the "best and brightest" from inside and outside of government to get its health-insurance exchange up to speed, even as it faces another missed deadline for the rollout. The promised debut this week of a Spanish-language version of its website has been delayed after an administration spokeswoman said no date had yet been set. LINK

The Washington Times' Tom Howell Jr.: " Federal judge set to rule on Obamacare subsidies quandary" A federal judge will decide Tuesday on a case that could blow a major hole through the Obamacare exchanges when he rules on whether the government can dole out tax credits to Americans whose states declined to run their own Affordable Care Act insurance markets. U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman heard oral arguments Monday and said he would rule Tuesday morning on the challenge by seven plaintiffs, who want an injunction from the rule that extends credits to all of the exchanges. He will also rule on the government's attempt to kill the lawsuit. LINK

USA Today's Jayne O'Donnell "Geographic issues plague federal health site" The federal government's new Web portal for health insurance lags the rest of the health care industry in performance, and the problems could have been prevented with adequate pre-testing, according to a new analysis by Compuware APM, which monitors and manages the performance of websites and other Internet-based assets. Compuware, which works for many Fortune 500 retailers and other companies, says it was not among the companies consulted by the federal government as it grapples with the glitch-prone LINK

CONGRESS ABC News' Gary Langer: "Congress Dives, Anti-Incumbency Soars in Deep Post-Shutdown Criticism" Approval of Congress is at a new low in 40 years of polling, Americans' approval of their own representative in Washington is underwater for the first time and a record number of registered voters are inclined to look for someone new in 2014 - all signs of a powerful, palpable public antipathy following the budget spat that shut down much of the government for 16 days. Among other results in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, a near-record 78 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the federal government works, with downright anger at a new high in polls since 1992. LINK

DRONES The Los Angeles Times' Ken Dilanian: " Reports: U .S. drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan killed civilians " U.S. drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan are not as precise as American officials have suggested, and some appear to have violated international law, according to a pair of reports by human rights organizations based on interviews with survivors and witnesses. The reports by Amnesty International, which looked into drone strikes in Pakistan, and Human Rights Watch, which examined attacks in Yemen, also assert that the U.S. has killed militants when capture was a feasible option and has targeted people rushing to rescue those injured in an initial barrage. LINK

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