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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.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell speaks in Washington in this July 28, 2014, file photo. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

500K picked plans in Obamacare's first week

More than a half-million people selected a health plan through the federal Obamacare website during the first week of open enrollment, according to a government update Thursday that said two-thirds of the customers were renewing coverage they already had. Published November 12, 2015

The website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington on Oct. 6, 2015. (Associated Press) ** FILE ** alert gives rare nod to Obamacare penalty

The administration is warning customers to make sure they log onto the Obamacare website and get covered so they don't face a stiff penalty for lacking health insurance next year. Published November 12, 2015

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell speaks at the Treasury Department in Washington on July 28, 2014. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

N.Y. takes steps to rescue Obamacare co-op customers

Hoping to stem the fallout from the collapse of Obamacare's largest co-op plan, New York State regulators said the state's Obamacare exchange will automatically enroll affected customers into new coverage on Dec. 1 and let customers actively select a new plan through Nov. 30 -- a 15-day extension -- so they don't see a gap in coverage this year. Published November 9, 2015

President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to the Newark campus of Rutgers University, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) ** FILE **

White House challenges 20 cities to boost Obamacare signups

Hoping to boost Obamacare signups in a tough third year, the White House on Friday challenged 20 cities across the U.S. to root out their uninsured residents and drive them into Web-based exchanges set up under the law. Published November 6, 2015

GOP digs into Obamacare's co-op headache

Obamacare's co-op plans were "learning how to sail in a hurricane" when they set out to compete with larger, more-established insurers on Web exchanges set up to offer subsidized coverage in January 2014, a state regulator told Congress on Thursday. Published November 5, 2015

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania Republican, takes his seat on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 2, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

House approves $325B roads bill

The House advanced a $325 billion highway bill Thursday that funds infrastructure projects for three years -- setting the stage for Congress's first long-term roads deal in a decade -- though the White House says America's crumbling infrastructure will need even more money. Published November 5, 2015

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2015 file photo, the website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington.  The government's insurance website is faster and easier to use, but as a third sign-up season gets underway, President Barack Obama's health care law is approaching limits.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Obama kicks off media blitz for health law

President Obama kicked off a media campaign in support of his signature health law Wednesday by cheering on "navigator" groups tasked with rooting out the millions of Americans who failed to sign up during the first two rounds. Published November 4, 2015

President Barack Obama shares a humorous moment with a group of doctors from around the country in the Oval Office, Oct. 5, 2009, prior to a health insurance reform event at the White House.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

More than half of Obamacare co-ops fail

More than half of Obamacare's nonprofit co-op plans have failed, with Michigan becoming the latest to announce it will not offer plans for next year, prompting Republicans to label the program a disastrous waste of taxpayer money. Published November 3, 2015

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office during the President's Daily Economic Briefing on July 30, 2009. (White House)

GOP piles on after nearly half of Obamacare's co-ops fail

Leading Senate Republicans pressed the administration Monday to explain how it plans to recoup $2.4 billion in loans to Obamacare's flailing co-op program and whether consumers will be able to get new coverage without significant hiccups. Published November 2, 2015

Outgoing House Speaker John A. Boehner hugs his successor Rep. Paul Ryan in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday. (Associated Press)

Paul Ryan vows to unify party, reshape House

Paul Ryan on Thursday became the youngest House speaker in nearly 150 years, winning one of the trickiest jobs in Washington by quelling rebellious conservatives and pledging to shake up the way Congress does business. Published October 29, 2015