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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

FILE - This Nov. 12, 2014 file photo shows the website, where people can buy health insurance, on a laptop screen, shown in Portland, Ore. Consumers in most places will see their health insurance premiums go up next year for popular plans under President Barack Obama’s health care law.  But it will take time to get to a bottom line for family finances, let alone the larger political battle over the program’s future. For many people, government subsidies will cushion the hit. And there’s a new factor: returning customers who are savvy about health insurance and unafraid to shop for a better deal.   (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

7.1 million have signed up for Obamacare plans for 2015: HHS

Nearly 1.8 million new customers signed up for health coverage on the federal Obamacare marketplace and over 1.6 million actively re-enrolled for coverage starting Jan. 1, while an additional 600,000 new and returning customers added to the tally on exchanges run by 13 states and the District of Columbia, according to administration data released Tuesday. Published December 30, 2014

Accenture wins $563M contract to run

The Obama administration has awarded Accenture — the technology company that swooped in to help revive at the start of this year — a five-year, $563 million contract to continue its work on the federal Obamacare exchange, the company said Monday. Published December 29, 2014

GOP governors look for ways to expand Medicaid

Even as states wrestle with whether to expand their Medicaid programs under Obamacare, they're already grappling with the looming 2017 date when the federal government begins to cut its support, which will force states to have to make tricky budget decisions. Published December 28, 2014

Obama marks end of Afghan mission as 'milestone'

President Obama marked the end of America's longest-ever war Sunday by praising those who died in the post-9/11 mission in Afghanistan and trumpeting his own efforts to bring troops home, even as he committed to leaving a "limited military presence" to train Afghan forces for the lingering fight against extremists. Published December 28, 2014

President Barack Obama sits next to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell as he speaks about Ebola during a meeting with his national security and public health teams, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Obamacare enrollment on federal exchange reaches nearly 6.4M

The Obama administration said Tuesday that nearly 6.4 million new and returning Obamacare customers had selected a plan on the federal exchange through Friday, a significant jump from previous enrollment reports because Americans who automatically renewed older plans were lumped into the official count. Published December 23, 2014

Liberians election workers watch as a voter washes her hands before casting her votes, during the senate election in Monrovia, Liberia. Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate vote that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

Sen. Chris Coons sees progress against Ebola in Liberia

Sen. Chris Coons, the first member of Congress to visit the West African heart of the Ebola outbreak, said Monday that U.S. government and nonprofit aid has resulted in demonstrable progress against the virus in Liberia. Published December 22, 2014

Birds fly past at sun set as smoke emits from a chimney at a factory in Ahmadabad, India, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. The momentum from a historic U.S.-China pact to resist global warming is showing signs of fading at the U.N. climate talks in Peru as the familiar rich-poor conflict persists over who should do what to keep the planet from overheating. The conference's high-level phase begins Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Manufacturers association chief sees little hope for Obamacare relief

Resurgent U.S. manufacturers face headwinds from Obamacare's mandates and taxes, but the law's namesake has two more years in the White House and public benefits will be hard to reel back despite the recent midterm election results, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said. Published December 17, 2014

This photo provided by the Service Employees International Union show a couple reviewing health care plans at an Affordable Care Act enrollment event sponsored by SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West and Community Coalition, in Los Angeles Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/SEIU, Michael Chavez) ** FILE **

Obama says works 'flawlessly'

President Obama says the federal Obamacare exchange works "flawlessly" and that returning customers should "go shopping" before the end of the day for a good deal on coverage that starts Jan. 1. Published December 15, 2014