1. Health-care enrollment deadline: Today is the deadline for Americans to purchase health insurance on the exchanges, if they want that insurance to take effect on Jan. 1.
Despite all the early troubles with the federal HealthCare.Gov website, there is some good news for the administration: On Friday, President Obama said that more than one million Americans had enrolled on the exchanges (both federal and state), including more than 500,000 on the HealthCare.Gov website in just the first three weeks of December alone.
That’s up from the total of 106,000 Americans who had enrolled in the first month of October, as well as the total of 364,000 who had enrolled by the end of November.
What’s more, that one-million-plus figure will also include this notable politician: NBC's Kristen Welker reports that Obama himself will sign up for enrollment today while on vacation in Hawaii.
The final date for Americans to enroll for health-care coverage under the new law is March 31.
But here is the bad news for the administration: A new CNN poll finds popularity for the health-care law at a new low. “Only 35% of those questioned in the poll say they support the health care law, a 5-point drop in less than a month. Sixty-two percent say they oppose the law, up four points from November.”
2. Federal judge to consider request to block gay weddings: After a federal judge last Friday ruled that Utah’s gay-marriage ban is unconstitutional, the AP reports that the same judge “is set to consider a request from the state … to block gay weddings that have been taking place since [then],” the AP reports.
As one of us wrote last week, gay marriage is legal in 17 states, plus the District of Columbia. Significantly, those are all states that President Obama carried in both 2008 and 2012. But if the judge’s ruling is ultimately upheld, that would be the first red state – a deep-red state at that – where gay marriage is legal.
3. The debate over deporting undocumented immigrants: The New York Times writes, “Since taking office, President Obama has deported more than 1.9 million foreigners, immigration officials announced last week, a record for an American president. The officials said they focused on removing criminals, serious immigration offenders and recent border crossers, with 98 percent of deportees in 2013 in those groups, while sparing workers and their families. Mr. Obama is also pressing for an overhaul of immigration laws with a path to citizenship for those here illegally.”
“But immigrant leaders say the enforcement has a broad impact on their communities, with deportations still separating bread-winning parents from children and unauthorized immigrants from family members here legally, including American citizens.”
First published December 23 2013, 5:50 AM