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White House: 11.4 million Americans have enrolled in Obamacare

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Some 11.4 million Americans enrolled in private health insurance through Obamacare during the open enrollment period, the White House said in a tweet on Tuesday.

“The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is working. It’s working better than we anticipated, certainly working a lot better than many of the critics talked about early on,” President Barack Obama said in a video linked to the White House tweet.

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Administration officials have said they expected 9.1 million people to be enrolled in coverage and up to date on insurance payments by the end of the year. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had predicted 12 million enrollees for 2015.

Last April, the Obama administration announced that more than 8 million people had selected plans for 2014. But by the end of last year, only 6.7 million were still enrolled.

Obamacare’s open enrollment period for 2015 began on Nov. 15 and closed on Sunday.

The White House said there had been a surge of applications in the last nine days of enrollment, particularly on Sunday.

“Sunday, February 15 was the biggest enrollment day ever: more new consumers signed up for health coverage than on any day this open enrollment period or the last,” the White House said in a statement.

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The U.S. Health and Human Services Department said on Saturday that a technical problem had prevented some consumers from enrolling but that the issue, involving income verification, was fixed late on Saturday.

The department said on Saturday that anyone who had been unable to submit an application because income could not be verified due to that problem or any other technical issue would receive an extension for enrollment.

Plans for Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, are sold on HealthCare.gov for 37 states. The other 13 states plus Washington, D.C., run their own websites.

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The Obama administration said last week that 2015 Obamacare subsidies were averaging $268 a month for people in the 37 states who had qualified for federal assistance.

(Reporting by Breaking News Team; Editing by Peter Cooney and Lisa Shumaker)

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards honors staffer who died from COVID-19

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Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) offered a moving tribute to a member of his staff who died from COVID-19.

"On behalf of the first lady and my entire administration, it is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of our dear April, who succumbed to complications from COVID-19," he posted on Twitter, along with photos.

"She brightened everyone’s day with her smile and was an inspiration to everyone who met her," he continued.

"She lived her life to the fullest and improved the lives of countless Louisianans with disabilities as a dedicated staff member in the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs. April worked hard as an advocate for herself & other members of the disability community," he wrote.

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Washington state nurses share shocking stories from their war against coronavirus

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by Ken Armstrong and Vianna Davila

Nurses at one hospital in southeastern Washington state have alleged that, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they were ordered by supervisors to use one protective mask per shift, potentially exposing themselves to the novel coronavirus.

At another hospital, just east of Seattle, nurses had to use face shields indefinitely.

At a third hospital, on Washington’s border with Oregon, nurses reported that respirators were expired. The hospital responded, the nurses said, by ordering staff to remove stickers showing that the respirators might be as much as three years out of date.

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2020 Election

‘His incompetence will cost lives’: Joe Biden goes after Trump on coronavirus in new 2020 campaign ad

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Former Vice President is continuing to campaign for president in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting America.

On Saturday, Biden went after Trump on the issue of coronavirus testing.

"Where are the tests, Mr. President?" Biden asked.

Biden followed up with an online video warning that lives will be needlessly lost.

"His failure will cost lives," the video says. "His downplaying will cost lives. His incompetence will cost lives."

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