Scott Horsley http://wfpl.org en DOJ Expected To Defend Health Law's Contraceptive Mandate http://wfpl.org/post/doj-expected-defend-health-laws-contraceptive-mandate The Justice Department will answer a challenge Friday morning to a controversial provision in the new health care law. It requires most employers that offer health insurance to include birth control at no cost.<p>A group of Catholic nuns has objected to that, and this week they won a temporary reprieve from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. It's an unusual test case, but it won't be the last one.<p>The health care law's requirement that workplace insurance policies include free birth control has been controversial from the get-go. Fri, 03 Jan 2014 11:52:10 +0000 Scott Horsley 8106 at http://wfpl.org DOJ Expected To Defend Health Law's Contraceptive Mandate Enrollment Jumps At HealthCare.gov, Though Totals Still Lag http://wfpl.org/post/enrollment-jumps-healthcaregov-though-totals-still-lag Enrollment in the federal government's new health insurance exchange picked up sharply in November, but the number of people signing up for coverage still trails original forecasts. Officials from the Obama administration say they expect the pace of enrollments will continue to increase now that the insurance website is working more smoothly.<p>Users have until Dec. 23 to <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/">sign up for coverage</a> that begins in January.<p>As of Nov. 30, more than 137,000 people had obtained health insurance through the federal website, which serves consumers in 36 states. Wed, 11 Dec 2013 14:13:04 +0000 Scott Horsley 7864 at http://wfpl.org Enrollment Jumps At HealthCare.gov, Though Totals Still Lag 6 Ideas Being Floated To 'Fix' Obamacare Sign-Up Woes http://wfpl.org/post/6-ideas-being-floated-fix-obamacare-sign-woes As technical problems with the government's new health insurance marketplace slow the pace of sign-up, a variety of "fixes" have been proposed. But some of these would create their own challenges. In rough order from least to most disruptive, here are some of the ideas:<p><strong>1) Fix the website on schedule</strong><br /> This is everyone's favorite idea. The Obama administration says it hopes to have HealthCare.gov working smoothly for most users by the end of November, though it's not clear that target will be met.<p><strong>2) Use alternative government sign-up paths</strong> Thu, 14 Nov 2013 11:53:24 +0000 Scott Horsley 7553 at http://wfpl.org 6 Ideas Being Floated To 'Fix' Obamacare Sign-Up Woes 'It Takes A Crisis': How '73 Embargo Fueled Change In U.S. http://wfpl.org/post/it-takes-crisis-how-73-embargo-fueled-change-us Americans started thinking differently about U.S. dependence on imported oil 40 years ago this Sunday. Decades later, the U.S. is in the midst of a homegrown energy boom.<p>The oil embargo began in 1973. The United States had long taken cheap and plentiful oil for granted when Saudi Arabia shocked the country by suddenly cutting off all direct oil shipments in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel. Other Arab countries followed suit.<p>Prices soared. Gasoline lines stretched for blocks. Richard Nixon became the first of many U.S. Sat, 19 Oct 2013 15:38:46 +0000 Scott Horsley 7269 at http://wfpl.org 'It Takes A Crisis': How '73 Embargo Fueled Change In U.S. A Short History Of Government Shutdowns http://wfpl.org/post/short-history-government-shutdowns Drawn-out fights over spending bills are nothing new for Congress. But that's where the fights used to stay: in Congress. The rest of the country didn't have to pay much attention to countdown clocks and all this drama.<p>"In the '60s and '70s down until 1980, it was not taken that seriously at all," says Charles Tiefer, a former legal adviser to the House of Representatives, who now teaches at the University of Baltimore Law School. Mon, 30 Sep 2013 10:55:47 +0000 Scott Horsley 7026 at http://wfpl.org A Short History Of Government Shutdowns In Syria Debate, Obama's Internal Dialogue Becomes Audible http://wfpl.org/post/syria-exposes-ambiguities-obamas-foreign-policy A surprise agreement between the U.S. and Russia, announced Saturday, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/09/14/222397967/u-s-and-russia-form-a-plan-on-syrias-chemical-weapons">calls for</a> Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons by mid-2014. Sat, 14 Sep 2013 10:48:11 +0000 Scott Horsley 6837 at http://wfpl.org In Syria Debate, Obama's Internal Dialogue Becomes Audible Obama To Outline Unfinished Work, Decades After King's Dream http://wfpl.org/post/obama-outline-unfinished-work-decades-after-kings-dream President Obama will stand in the symbolic shadows of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln Wednesday, as he marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.<p>Aides say Obama will use the opportunity to celebrate the progress that's been made, thanks to the civil rights movement. He'll also discuss the work that he says still has to be done to realize King's dream of racial justice in America.<p>That includes fighting to protect voting rights and building what the president calls "ladders of opportunity" for poor people of all races.<p>Obama doesn't often talk publicly about race. Wed, 28 Aug 2013 10:23:01 +0000 Scott Horsley 6628 at http://wfpl.org Obama To Outline Unfinished Work, Decades After King's Dream Obama Presses Congress On Student Loan Rates http://wfpl.org/post/obama-press-congress-student-loan-rates President Obama surrounded himself with college students at the White House on Friday and warned that the cost of student loans is about to go up.<p>Interest rates on government-backed college loans are set to double July 1 — unless Congress agrees on a fix before then. Obama has threatened to veto a House-passed bill that would let the cost of student loans go up and down with the market.<p>If the alarm bells over rising student loan rates sound familiar, that's because the same thing happened last year. Fri, 31 May 2013 11:08:12 +0000 Scott Horsley 5604 at http://wfpl.org Obama Presses Congress On Student Loan Rates The Federal Deficit Is Actually Shrinking http://wfpl.org/post/federal-deficit-actually-shrinking During the housing bust, taxpayers were forced to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But thanks to the real estate recovery, Fannie Mae could end up paying tens of billions of dollars back to the Treasury this summer.<p>That's just one of the factors behind a better bottom line for the federal government. Thu, 02 May 2013 10:41:17 +0000 Scott Horsley 5225 at http://wfpl.org The Federal Deficit Is Actually Shrinking What Obama's Tax Proposal Could Cost Him, And Us http://wfpl.org/post/obama-republicans-agree-tax-loopholes-little-else President Obama's <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/12/177049876/in-2012-obamas-made-662-076-paid-112-214-in-taxes">newly released tax return</a> shows his effective income tax rate was 18.4 percent last year. He'll likely pay a somewhat higher rate in 2013, and that tax bill would be even bigger if Congress were to adopt the recommendations in the president's own budget, unveiled this week.<p>The president signed his tax return last Monday, just one week before the deadline, and he's in good company. Sat, 13 Apr 2013 10:46:43 +0000 Scott Horsley 4960 at http://wfpl.org What Obama's Tax Proposal Could Cost Him, And Us