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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 - In this Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, talks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. Long before it opened its doors to the public last fall, California's health insurance exchange awarded a small contract to a business consultant, Leesa Tori, for her advice on designing a program to sell insurance to small companies The industry veteran was a friend and former co-worker of Peter Lee, the exchange's top executive. The seemingly minor deal would mark the beginning of a lucrative and far-reaching partnership between the new state agency and the boutique consulting company Tori formed last year, just as national health care reform took root across the U.S.  (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

If Californians like their Obamacare, most can keep their Obamacare

California officials boasted Monday that they will have to kick off fewer than 11,000 people from Obamacare because the state-run health care exchange was able to verify lawful immigration or citizenship status for the vast majority of the nearly 150,000 people at risk of losing coverage. Published October 13, 2014

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

Labor union set to give Sen. Mark Begich a helping hand

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich will get a helping hand from teachers' union leader Randi Weingarten on Saturday, a few days after a poll put the senator 6 points behind Republican challenger Dan Sullivan in Alaska's Senate race. Published October 10, 2014

This image shows the updated website for, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service. The Obama administration has unveiled an updated version of It's got some improvements and some challenges. There's also at least one early mistake. (Associated Press)

HHS Secretary Burwell: will be more reliable this year

As Obamacare enters its second act, the Obama administration's top health official said the federal website will work much better than last year and that her team is doing "everything we can" to stabilize state-run health exchanges where qualified Americans can shop for plans. Published October 9, 2014

Two days after a man in Texas was diagnosed with Ebola, Dr. Gil Mobley, a Missouri doctor, checks in to board a plane dressed in full protection gear Thursday morning, Oct. 2, 2014, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He was protesting what he called mismanagement of the crisis by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, John Spink)

Ebola screening abroad paramount: HHS secretary Burwell

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said Thursday she is deeply involved — even if it's not always on camera — in the nation's response to the Ebola virus, exuding confidence that American know-how, travel screening and improvements in West Africa will beat back the deadly outbreak even if it gets worse before it gets better. Published October 9, 2014

Despite boon to the uninsured, Obamacare still decried

Americans are more likely to say Obamacare is hurting them than helping them, even as the law appears to have cut the uninsured rate by nearly 4 percentage points, according to Gallup data released Wednesday. Published October 8, 2014

A man pushes a shopping cart outside of a Walmart store that boarded its entrance and closed early in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, as the area prepares for Hurricane Iselle. Hurricane Iselle is expected to arrive on the Big Island on Thursday evening, bringing heavy rains, winds gusting up to 85 mph and flooding in some areas. Weather officials changed their outlook on the system Wednesday after seeing it get a little stronger, giving it enough oomph to stay a hurricane as it reaches landfall. (AP Photo/Chris Stewart)

Wal-Mart will drop health coverage for some part-timers as of Jan. 1

Wal-Mart announced Tuesday it will no longer provide health insurance to some of its part-time workers as of Jan. 1, following in the footsteps of other big retailers who dropped coverage, citing rising costs and new options outside of the workplace. Published October 7, 2014

Kentucky Democratic senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. (Associated Press)

Activists take on Alison Lundergan Grimes' coal stance with 'tracking' video

Activists targeted Senate challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes on Monday with an undercover video in which her own supporters veer way off message on coal, a digital-age doozy that complicates the Kentucky Democrat's bid against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and reveals a new level of campaign "tracking" that lets the cameraman join the action. Published October 6, 2014

Image: (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Patient at Maryland hospital has malaria, not Ebola

A hospital just outside of Washington said late Friday the patient it admitted with Ebola-like symptoms has malaria, and not the deadly virus that has ravaged West Africa and a patient who tested positive in the Dallas area. Published October 4, 2014

A hazardous material cleaner arrives at the apartment complex in Dallas, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, where Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient who traveled from Liberia to Dallas stayed last week. The crew is expected to remove items including towels and bed sheets used by Duncan, who is being treated at an isolation unit at a Dallas hospital. The family living there has been confined under armed guard while being monitored by health officials. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Obama administration attempts to quell fears about Ebola

The Obama administration sought Friday to tamp down fears of an Ebola outbreak within the U.S., making the case that America's infrastructure and health care systems set it apart from the horrific scenes coming out of West Africa, even as a confirmed case in Dallas and recent scares in the nation's capital prompt fears of a domestic problem. Published October 3, 2014

Hazardous material cleaners prepare to hang black plastic outside the apartment in Dallas, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, where Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient who traveled from Liberia to Dallas stayed last week. The family living there has been confined under armed guard while being monitored by health officials. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Hazmat crews arrive at Dallas apartment for Ebola cleanup

Clean-up crews have arrived at the Dallas apartment where four family members are holed up because the Liberian national diagnosed with Ebola stayed there for days and sweated feverishly into bedsheets. Published October 3, 2014