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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.

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

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

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

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

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

New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie speaks  during a campaign rally in support of Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan at Patapsco Arena, in Baltimore, Md., on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. Christie is chairman of the Republican Governors Association. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Christie tops Obama again, gets high marks for handling of Ebola: poll

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie enjoyed a successful election night on the national stage Tuesday, with several Republican governors cruising to election over President Obama's allies. Now, Mr. Christie's constituents are giving him higher marks than the federal government for his handling of the Ebola situation. Published November 6, 2014

House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said the Republican-controlled Congress will hold more votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (associated press)

Obamacare opponents emboldened, gain reinforcements in midterms

Voters dealt a blow to Obamacare in a number of states this week when they re-elected GOP governors who had opposed the law, and even added a few to their ranks, making the climate less hospitable for President Obama's plans to expand Medicaid. Published November 6, 2014

U.S. Sen.-elect Joni Ernst speaks to supporters during an election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Ernst defeated U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Joni Ernst wins in Iowa, piling on Senate wins for the GOP

Republican candidate Joni Ernst has seized the Senate seat left by retiring Democratic senator Tom Harkin, representing the icing on the cake for GOP contenders who took back the upper chamber late Tuesday. Published November 5, 2014