Skip to content

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

Prince William County, Virginia residents use HealthCare.gov to research health care insurance at the Greater Prince William Community Health Center, Evergreen Terrace Site, in Manassas, Va., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Obamacare's second act avoids disaster that marred inaugural run

New and returning Obamacare customers started to sign up on the law's marketplace Saturday, logging onto HealthCare.gov and other insurance portals from their own computers or flocking to enrollment centers for face-to-face help. Published November 15, 2014

This screen shot made Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 shows the home page of HealthCare,gov, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service. The Obama administration says starting this weekend, consumers can get an early peek at 2015 premiums and plans under the president’s health law. Open enrollment starts Nov. 15, a week from Saturday. But Lori Lodes, spokeswoman for HealthCare.gov, said Friday that consumers will be able to “window shop” for plans before then. (AP Photo)

Administration promises better Obamacare enrollment website this year

The Obama administration said Friday the American public will find a simpler, more reliable HealthCare.gov when Obamacare's second round of enrollment begins Saturday — a chance for the law's overseers to redeem themselves after last year's failed launch nearly doomed the overhaul in its infancy. Published November 14, 2014

President Obama speaks June 4, 2013, in the Rose Garden of the White House while announcing the nominations of (from left) Robert Wilkins, Cornelia Pillard and Patricia Ann Millet to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. (Associated Press)

Federal appeals court rejects challenge to Obamacare on contraceptives

A federal appeals court ruled Friday the Obama administration did not overly burden religious nonprofits by telling them to document their objections to an Obamacare mandate that requires employers to include birth control in their health plans. Published November 14, 2014

This photo taken Nov. 27, 2013, in Washington shows part of the HealthCare.gov website page featuring information about the SHOP Marketplace. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Obamacare's small-business enrollment slow: Government auditors

Enrollment in the Obamacare insurance exchanges for small businesses has been much slower than expected, government auditors said Thursday, as the federally run portals and some state versions failed to offer key features such as online enrollment. Published November 13, 2014

Jonathan Gruber has put the Obama administration in a tough spot as it defends the Affordable Care Act. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber suddenly recast as bit player after uproar

For years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Jonathan Gruber was deemed an architect of Obamacare and his economic modeling was cited regularly by the health care law's defenders on Capitol Hill and in legal briefs defending the Affordable Care Act in federal courts. Published November 13, 2014

This screen shot made Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 shows the home page of HealthCare,gov, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service. The Obama administration says starting this weekend, consumers can get an early peek at 2015 premiums and plans under the president’s health law. Open enrollment starts Nov. 15, a week from Saturday. But Lori Lodes, spokeswoman for HealthCare.gov, said Friday that consumers will be able to “window shop” for plans before then. (AP Photo)

Consumers to window shop on Obamacare 2.0

Americans who flock to Obamacare 2.0 this weekend will find spruced-up websites and enhanced "window-shopping," particularly at the federal government's HealthCare.gov portal, giving them a chance to pick and choose from plans they're eligible for. Published November 11, 2014

Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, will be holding two hearings to determine U.S. preparedness to manage a possible Ebola outbreak. (Associated Press)

Ebola fight to be a top topic for Congress

The fight against Ebola will be front and center for Congress when lawmakers return to Washington on Wednesday, scrutinizing the Obama administration's response to the deadly virus even as the U.S. is on the path to clearing its remaining cases and doctors say they are making some headway in slowing the disease at its source in West Africa. Published November 11, 2014

Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has taken President Obama's signature health care plan to task for what he calls "broken exchanges, canceled coverage, higher premiums and unaffordable deductibles" for those who have signed up. Mr. Issa's committee has investigated last year's botched rollout of the online exchange. (associated press)

Obamacare may not have enough enrollees to stay solvent

The administration on Monday said fewer than 10 million Americans will enroll in Obamacare's health exchanges this go-around, well short of the 13 million target congressional scorekeepers deemed critical to its economics, suggesting another rocky rollout in the law's second year of full operation. Published November 10, 2014

Medicaid Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

HealthCare.gov launches enhanced 'window shopping' tool

Shoppers on the federal Obamacare marketplace can get a sneak peak at the array of health plans offered in their area before they formally apply for coverage when open-enrollment kicks off on Saturday, according to an Obama announcement that outlines a much-needed "window shopping" feature on the website. Published November 10, 2014

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2014 file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House in Washington. From left are, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. Republican leaders and President Barack Obama say the message of the midterm elections is clear: Voters want them to work together. But on what? The two parties’ voters, like their politicians, are far apart on health care, immigration and climate change, exit polls show. The voters can’t even agree on whether the economy is looking worse or getting better.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Administration moves goalposts on Obamacare enrollment for second round

The Obama administration on Monday significantly scaled down expectations for the health care law's second round of enrollment, a move that is sure to draw fire from Republican opponents who have accused the administration of tweaking the law and its barometers for success too many times. Published November 10, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday, Nov. 7, 2014,  to hear a new challenge to President Obama's health care law. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Obamacare's latest Supreme Court case could erase subsidies, raise premiums

The Supreme Court will wade into the legal heart of Obamacare for the second time in three years, taking up a case that could severely dent President Obama's signature domestic achievement as Republicans pledge to dismantle the law when they take full control of Congress. Published November 9, 2014

U.S. Sen.-elect Thom Tillis answers a question from the media during a news conference in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014. Tillis unseated Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in Tuesday's election, narrowly winning a race that attracted more than $100 million in spending from the candidates and outside groups and that proved to clinch the Senate majority for the GOP. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Despite campaign talk, contraception plan not on GOP agenda

A number of Republican candidates surmounted Democrats' "war on women" attacks in this year's campaigns by calling for birth control to be made available over the counter — but it's unclear whether they'll be able to follow through on those promises when the new Congress convenes next year. Published November 9, 2014