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Nation & World Briefs


Thursday, December 28, 2017
Obamacare sign-up tally dips slightly to 8.7M

WASHINGTON — More than 8.7 million people signed up for coverage next year under the Obama-era health care law, the government reported Thursday, as the program that President Donald Trump has repeatedly pronounced “a disaster” exceeded expectations.

The final tally for the 39 HealthCare.gov states showed about 80,000 fewer sign-ups than an initial count provided last week, before the Christmas holiday. A spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the slight dip was due to late cancellations.

Still, HealthCare.gov enrollment reached nearly 95 percent of last year’s level, outperforming projections in a show of consumer demand, despite a shortened sign-up season and big cuts in the ad budget.

Ahead of open enrollment, analysts had predicted somewhere around 1 million to 2 million fewer people would sign up for subsidized private coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

But the latest numbers indicate that new customers kept showing up as the Dec. 15 enrollment deadline closed. More than 66,000 new customers were added since the pre-Christmas enrollment report.

Often at odds, Trump and GOP relish tax win, court picks

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s unpredictable, pugnacious approach to the presidency often worked against him as Republicans navigated a tumultuous but ultimately productive year in Congress.

Trump’s major accomplishments, confirmation of conservative Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and a major tax cut, actually came with relatively little drama. But Republicans often struggled to stay on the rails, particularly with a big pratfall on health care and repeated struggles to accomplish the very basics of governing.

Several shutdown deadlines came and went, and a default on the government’s debt was averted, thanks to a momentary rapprochement with top Democrats, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer. But a promised solution to the plight of young immigrants brought to the country illegally as infants or children was delayed, while a routine reauthorization of a program providing health care to 9 million low—income kids stalled as well.

Often it seemed as if Trump were more interested in picking fights on Twitter than the nuts and bolts of legislating.

Trump lashes out at Vanity Fair over Clinton video

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump is lashing out at Vanity Fair, after the magazine said an online video mocking Hillary Clinton “missed the mark.”

On Twitter on Thursday, Trump said the magazine was “bending over backwards in apologizing for the minor hit.”

The video posted over the weekend shows editors of Vanity Fair’s Hive website offering toasts and New Year’s resolutions for Clinton, including that she vow to take up knitting, volunteer work or any hobby that would keep her from running again for president.

The backlash was swift. Among those to respond was actress Patricia Arquette, who tweeted her own proposal — stop telling women what they should or can do.

In a statement Wednesday, the magazine said the video was an attempt at humor that regrettably “missed the mark.”

From Associated Press