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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.

This image from video released by Funny Or Die shows President Obama, left, with actor-comedian Zach Galifianakis during an appearance on "Between Two Ferns," the digital short with a laser focus on reaching people aged 18 to 34. The president urged young people to sign up for the new health care plan through an appearance posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014, on the comic website Funny or Die, bypassing TV talk show titans like Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel for an online audience. (AP Photo/Funny Or Die)

Obamacare 3 million shy of target — with 19 days left to sign up

More than 4.2 million Americans had selected private health care plans from the Obamacare marketplace through the end of February, though the rate of sign-ups dropped last month and young people still aren't enrolling quickly enough, according to numbers the administration released Tuesday. Published March 11, 2014

President Obama appears on 'Between Two Ferns' with comedic actor Zach Galifianakis.

President Obama goes 'Between Two Ferns' to pitch Obamacare

Hoping to reach a key Obamacare demographic, President Obama took his humorous side to a new level in a sit-down interview with Zach Galifianakis, a comedic actor who hosts the cable-access spoof show on the website Funny or Die. Published March 11, 2014

Rate of uninsured Americans is dropping: Gallup

The Gallup polling group says the percentage of Americans without health insurance continued to fall in the first quarter of 2014, to nearly 16 percent compared to just over 17 percent at the end of 2013. Published March 10, 2014

** FILE ** In this March 23, 2010, file photo, President Barack Obama reaches for a pen to sign the health care bill in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

New tool helps figure Obamacare penalties

As Obamacare takes root, a think tank partnership is offering a new tool to let applicants know just how much they'll have to pony up to the government for lacking health insurance in the coming year. Published March 7, 2014

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2013 file photo, H&R Block Tax preparer Tracey Wales, right, working with customer Muneer Sheikh, on preparing his taxes, at an H&R Block office downtown in Washington. H & R Block reports quarterly earnings on Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Tax-prep firms pitch in, cash in on Obamacare

With less than a month left for Americans to enroll in insurance plans under President Obama's health care overhaul, companies like H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service may be the administration's secret weapon in getting people to sign up. Published March 6, 2014

President Barack Obama talks to the crowd at Central Connecticut State University during a speech Wednesday, March 5, 2014,  about raising the minimum wage. (AP Photo/The Hour, Alex von Kleydorff)

Obama tries to reassure Hispanics on Obamacare

President Obama assured the Hispanic community on Thursday that personal information entered into Obamacare's web system will not be used to root out illegal immigrants for deportation. Published March 6, 2014

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks about educating people on signing up for the new national healthcare coverage plan during a news conference, on Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Half of uninsured look to Obamacare exchanges for coverage

Roughly half of uninsured adults and almost half of people without employer-based insurance had looked at or planned to check out the Obamacare marketplace to see what it offered, according to a new brief from the Urban Institute. Published March 6, 2014

**FILE** President Barack Obama speaks about Ukraine in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Deja vu: Another delay for Obamacare

Announcing another change to the president's signature law, the Obama administration said Wednesday that it will let people keep subpar insurance plans through 2016, carving out another exception to Obamacare in a move Republicans said offers further proof that the law is hurting Americans' health and Democrats' election chances this fall. Published March 5, 2014

The rocky launch of online insurance markets tied to Obamacare has disappointed even the law's most ardent supporters. Congressional Republicans have called for the resignation of Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (Associated Press)

House votes to delay Obamacare individual mandate

Nearly 30 House Democrats ignored a veto threat by President Obama's and helped the GOP majority pass a bill Wednesday that would let people ignore this year's Obamacare penalty for not having health insurance. Published March 5, 2014

**FILE** House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 26, 2014. (Associated Press)

Rep. Dave Camp insists tax reform is possible

Rep. Dave Camp insisted Wednesday his plan to overhaul America's tax code can gain traction and pass this Congress, despite little appetite by key players to take it on in an election year and term limits that will edge him out as chairman of the House's tax committee in 2015. Published March 5, 2014

**FILE** President Barack Obama speaks about Ukraine in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Obama would veto GOP effort to delay individual mandate

The House is set to vote this week on the Simple Fairness Act, which let Americans go without health insurance in 2014 without facing the tax penalty prescribed by the Affordable Care Act. Published March 4, 2014

**FILE** President Barack Obama with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Associated Press)

HHS: We need $1.8B to run Obamacare portal

President Obama's top health officials said Tuesday they expect Congress to front the money needed to fund Obamacare's federal marketplace in fiscal 2015 as they work to make HealthCare.gov operate better this fall. Published March 4, 2014

** FILE ** Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, pauses during an interview with The Associated Press, Friday, May 3, 2013, in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Senate Dems accuse GOP of cherry-picking health reforms

Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, wasn't shy about calling out Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, who recently told a tea party crowd he would "repeal every single word of Obamacare." Published March 4, 2014

FILE - This Nov. 29, 2013 file photo shows part of the HealthCare.gov website in Washington, on Nov. 29, 2013. The new year brings the big test of President Barack Obama’s beleaguered health care law: Does it work? The heart of the law springs to life Jan. 1, 2014, after nearly four years of political turmoil and three months of enrollment chaos. Patients will begin showing up at hospitals and pharmacies with insurance coverage bought through the nation’s new health care marketplaces.(AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)

Insurance brokers see big problems in Obamacare rollouts

A key part of online strategy for President Obama's health care law is faltering as insurance brokers who were supposed to act as middlemen in signing Americans up for policies — particularly the young, healthy enrollees key to the law's success — say they are being thwarted by the clunky system. Published March 3, 2014