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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

Voters in Tennessee's 9th Congressional District to decide whether they will send a black woman who embraces the tea party to Congress. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Group sues D.C. Obamacare exchange over Capitol Hill sign-ups

A conservative public-interest law firm sued the D.C. health exchange Wednesday for letting members of Congress get health insurance through their small-business portal even though each chamber on Capitol Hill employs thousands of people. Published October 15, 2014

Dr. Dan Varga, chief clinical officer at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, speaks as Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings looks on at right during a news conference, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, in Dallas. A second health care worker has tested positive for Ebola. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Second health care worker with Ebola to be transported to Atlanta

The second health care worker in Texas who tested positive for Ebola should not have traveled by air with other passenger the day before she reported symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Wednesday, although she will be transferred to a specially equipped hospital in Atlanta. Published October 15, 2014

Else Trinidad gets help  from Omar Bonet of SRA international about information regarding ACA health insurance options in Paterson, NJ, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/The Record of Bergen County, Viorel Florescu) (AP Photo/The Record, VIOREL FLORESCU)

Obamacare website CEO sees rosier 2015

The man in charge of the said the Obama administration is starting to notify customers who bought health coverage during Obamacare's first year that they need to re-enroll this fall. Published October 15, 2014

This 2010 photo provided by, the yearbook of Texas Christian University, shows Nina Pham, 26, who became the first person to contract the disease within the United States. Records show that Pham and other health care workers wore protective gear, including gowns, gloves, masks and face shields and sometimes full-body suits when caring for Thomas Eric Duncan. (AP Photo/Courtesy of

Dallas nurse with Ebola says she's 'doing well'

The 26-year-old nurse who contracted Ebola while taking care of an infected patient in Dallas is "doing well" and has received a blood transfusion from American doctor Kent Brantly, who overcame the virus after he was flown home from West Africa. Published October 14, 2014

A Protect Environmental worker wears a hazard suite in a staging area at a healthcare workers apartment, who tested positive for Ebola, Oct. 13, 2014, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Congress calls U.S. officials to Washington for Ebola update

House lawmakers have asked U.S. officials on the front lines of the battle against Ebola to testify before Congress Thursday, as a second diagnosis in Dallas rattles health care workers and the American public. Published October 14, 2014

FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, talks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. Long before it opened its doors to the public last fall, California's health insurance exchange awarded a small contract to a business consultant, Leesa Tori, for her advice on designing a program to sell insurance to small companies The industry veteran was a friend and former co-worker of Peter Lee, the exchange's top executive. The seemingly minor deal would mark the beginning of a lucrative and far-reaching partnership between the new state agency and the boutique consulting company Tori formed last year, just as national health care reform took root across the U.S.  (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

If Californians like their Obamacare, most can keep their Obamacare

California officials boasted Monday that they will have to kick off fewer than 11,000 people from Obamacare because the state-run health care exchange was able to verify lawful immigration or citizenship status for the vast majority of the nearly 150,000 people at risk of losing coverage. Published October 13, 2014

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

Labor union set to give Sen. Mark Begich a helping hand

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich will get a helping hand from teachers' union leader Randi Weingarten on Saturday, a few days after a poll put the senator 6 points behind Republican challenger Dan Sullivan in Alaska's Senate race. Published October 10, 2014

Two days after a man in Texas was diagnosed with Ebola, Dr. Gil Mobley, a Missouri doctor, checks in to board a plane dressed in full protection gear Thursday morning, Oct. 2, 2014, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He was protesting what he called mismanagement of the crisis by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, John Spink)

Ebola screening abroad paramount: HHS secretary Burwell

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said Thursday she is deeply involved — even if it's not always on camera — in the nation's response to the Ebola virus, exuding confidence that American know-how, travel screening and improvements in West Africa will beat back the deadly outbreak even if it gets worse before it gets better. Published October 9, 2014

This image shows the updated website for, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service. The Obama administration has unveiled an updated version of It's got some improvements and some challenges. There's also at least one early mistake. (Associated Press)

HHS Secretary Burwell: will be more reliable this year

As Obamacare enters its second act, the Obama administration's top health official said the federal website will work much better than last year and that her team is doing "everything we can" to stabilize state-run health exchanges where qualified Americans can shop for plans. Published October 9, 2014