(CNN) - The Obamacare website, plagued by major problems since its rollout at the start of the month, should be functioning smoothly by the end of November, according to the official now in charge of fixing it.
Jeffrey Zients told reporters on Friday that an outside contractor will handle the task of resolving technical problems that have become a serious political flashpoint for the Obama administration.
"Healthcare.gov is fixable," Zients said on a conference call.
(CNN) - Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is again pushing back against calls for her resignation over the rocky rollout of the Obamacare website, saying “we are determined to make it perfect.”
While visiting a health insurance call center in Phoenix on Thursday, Sebelius stuck to the Obama administration’s line that the functionality of the online insurance marketplace Healthcare.gov is improving.
Washington (CNN) – As the Obama administration continues to fix a problematic enrollment process, it appears it might end up delaying the launch of the Spanish-language online enrollment component on CuidadoDeSalud.gov, the Spanish version of the English website Healthcare.gov.
In September, officials told CNN the Spanish-language tool would launch the week of October 21. That would be part of a week of action highlighting the end of Hispanic Heritage Month. Now, when asked whether that launch was still on schedule, Health and Human Services and White House officials declined to provide a specific launch date. Still, officials emphasized that even without the online tool there are numerous ways for Spanish-speaking consumers to purchase health insurance, including a Spanish-language hotline and in-person assisters.
Washington (CNN) - The U.S. Energy Information Agency announced it will furlough 346 federal employees and more than 200 contractors at close of business on Friday. The furloughs affect nearly the entire EIA staff and will force the agency to cease operations beginning next week.
“Data releases and analyses will not be published during the furlough of EIA staff,” spokesman Jonathan Cogan said in a statement announcing the furloughs.
Washington (CNN) – The pro-Obama group Organizing for Action Tuesday will begin running digital banner ads urging internet users to send House Speaker John Boehner a message telling him to end the federal government shutdown.
The group tells CNN ads will run most prominently on the homepage of the Washington Post, taking over both the top and sides of the newspaper's website. Featuring a picture of Boehner leaning against a large circuit-breaker switch in the off position, the ads urge viewers to add their name to OFA's "Enough Already" campaign.
Washington (CNN) - The White House said Thursday that its Spanish-language health care enrollment tools will not be ready to launch until three weeks after the start of registration on Tuesday.
Administration officials explained there will be Spanish-language speakers on the government's help line beginning on the first day of open enrollment, but the site CuidadodeSalud.gov, will not allow Spanish speakers to compare insurance plans and enroll entirely in Spanish until the week of October 21.
Washington (CNN) – Online enrollment and other Web features for the Obamacare health marketplace for small businesses will be delayed for a month, officials said on Thursday.
Small businesses looking for a plan to offer employees will be able to start using the Small Business Health Option Program on October 1.
Liberty, Missouri (CNN) - President Obama warned Congress on Friday that shutting down the government would halt any economic momentum the country has established, telling a crowd at a Ford plant here that "our recovery still needs to build more strength."
"Right now the debate that is going on in Congress is not meeting the test of helping middle class families," the president said. "It is just – they are not focused on you. They are focused on politics. They are focused on trying to mess with me. They are not focused on you."
Washington (CNN) - A new study released Thursday by the nonprofit RAND Corporation estimates that consumers purchasing health insurance on the individual market will see little or no increase in their premiums when the Affordable Care Act is more fully implemented later this year.
"Our analysis shows that rates for policies in the individual market are likely to vary from state to state, with some experiencing increases and some experiencing decreases in cost," said Christine Eibner, lead author of the study and a senior economist at RAND. "But our analysis found no widespread trend toward sharply higher prices in the individual market."
Washington (CNN) - During a ceremony at the White House on Thursday morning to swear in Todd Jones as the new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Vice President Joe Biden announced two new executive actions intended to address the problem of gun violence.
"The president and I are going to continue to do work with the Congress, to continue to strengthen gun safety laws in this country," Biden said, speaking in the Roosevelt Room. "But in the meantime the president and I – the president's going to continue to do everything we can within our executive authority to try to reduce gun violence in America."