Wonkbook: Only 6 people enrolled in an insurance plan on Day 1 of Healthcare.gov

November 1, 2013

Welcome to Wonkbook, Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas's morning policy news primer. (Well, usually Ezra and Evan's, but Ezra is on vacation today, so it's just Evan.) To subscribe by e-mail, click here. Send comments, criticism, or ideas to Wonkbook at Gmail dot com. To read more by Ezra and his team, go to Wonkblog.

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Wonkbook's Number of the Day: 6 and 248. That's how many people had enrolled through Healthcare.gov by the end of the first and second days of Obamacare's launch, respectively.  

Wonkbook's Graph of the Day: Who's to blame for Healthcare.gov in one flowchart.

Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: 1) the desperation inside Healthcare.gov; 2) nuclear-option DEFCON; 3) intelligence committees try NSA reform, but not really; 4) U.S. wants world investment; and 5) FAA loosens up.

1) Top story: Only 6 people managed to enroll in an insurance plan on Day 1 of Healthcare.gov

Obamacare’s launch looked even worse from the inside. "Healthcare.gov had tallied exactly six successful enrollments by the morning of Oct. 2, new documents released by the House Oversight Committee show. By the end of Oct. 2, the health law Web site that serves 36 states had received 248 insurance enrollments...These notes, taken at meetings of the "war room" of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, suggest that the health law's rollout looked just as bad behind the scenes as it did to the public, where many struggled to purchase coverage -- or even get the site to load.."High capacity on the website, direct enrollment not working, VA system not connecting," the Oct. 2 notes read, under a category labeled "on-going issues." "Experian creating confusion with credit check information, residency issue has a script being developed for the 900 issues that occurred and many agent-brokers have not signed up on EIDM."" Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post.

@philipaklein: Hey, 1 in every 50 million Americans enrolled in Obamacare on Day 1.

Obamacare's marketing push is on hold. "There’s no point in an ad blitz directing people to sign up on a website that doesn’t work...The pro-Obamacare interest groups have been holding back, according to White House and insurance industry sources, in large part because they don’t want to direct people to a website that’s not working...[T]here’s still a lot of more money than expected sitting on the sidelines as the administration struggles to get the website running efficiently and calculate enrollment figures...In July, HHS inked a $33 million contract with PR giant Weber Shandwick. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid had already signed a $3 million and $8 million contracts. Porter Novelli also has a $20 million contract with the agency." Anna Palmer and Jonathan Allen in Politico.

Early health plan enrollment favors Medicaid over private insurance. "The first month of the new health law’s rollout reveals an unexpected pattern in several states: a crush of people applying for an expansion of Medicaid and a trickle of sign-ups for private insurance. This early imbalance — in some places nine out of 10 enrollees are in Medicaid — has taken some experts by surprise. The Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicaid to cover millions of the poorest Americans who couldn’t otherwise afford coverage, envisions a more even split with an expanded, robust private market..." Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post.

Explainer: Who's to blame for Healthcare.gov in one flowchartSarah Kliff in The Washington Post.

Data security added to worries about Healthcare.gov. "Concerns about the security of personal information on the HealthCare.gov website are getting closer attention in Washington, potentially adding to the list of problems with the new federal health-insurance exchange. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), on Thursday subpoenaed information about the website from the Obama administration, including on whether the site was well-protected from hackers." Jennifer Corbett Dooren and Amy Schatz in The Wall Street Journal.

Another Obamacare deadline is worrying Democrats. "According to an Affordable Care Act timetable established by administration officials, early next October insurance companies will announce their new menu of health care plans for the ACA marketplaces -- plans that may be more varied and numerous than those offered this year, but that almost certainly will come with higher prices. The likely price hikes will hit the individual and small-business insurance markets only weeks before Election Day on Nov. 4, 2014." Howard Fineman in The Huffington Post.

Why state exchanges have been working and the federal one hasn't. "Some analysts argue that the complexity of doing the job at the federal level is just too great. Under the Affordable Care Act, states that chose not to create their own exchanges are to use an exchange set up by the federal government — Healthcare.gov. Thirty-six states chose not to create their own exchange. The federal system must be capable of integrating with multiple-state eligibility databases...Another advantage to implementing Affordable Care Act portals at the state level, say analysts, is proximity to those with a stake in the system: insurers, state eligibility departments and consumers." Patrick Marshall in The Seattle Times and Kaiser Health News.

@ByronYork: Am baffled by Dems who say that since GOP wants to end Obamacare, not fix it, therefore shouldn't hold hearings, investigations…

What economist Jonathan Gruber has to say about Obamacare enrollment. "Gruber broke down the A.C.A. “winners” and “losers” for me. About eighty per cent of Americans are more or less left alone by the health-care act—largely people who have health insurance through their employers. About fourteen per cent of Americans are clear winners: they are currently uninsured and will have access to an affordable insurance policy under the A.C.A. But much of the current controversy involves the six per cent of Americans who buy their own health care on the individual market, which the A.C.A. has dramatically reformed. Gruber argued that half of these people (three per cent of all Americans) will have little change to their polices. “They have to buy new plans, but they will be pretty similar to what they had before,” he said. “It will essentially be relabeling.” The other half, however, also three per cent of the population, will have to buy a new product that complies with the A.C.A.’s more stringent requirements for individual plans. A significant portion of these roughly nine million Americans will be forced to buy a new insurance policy with higher premiums than they currently pay." Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker.

...And why Gruber may be wrong. "[T]he law will only increase insurance coverage by about 26 million people through 2016, or 8% of the population. That's the group that can be called "clear winners"; 14% is too aggressive an estimate...Another 30 million people in the U.S. (9%) will still be uninsured in 2016...Gruber says 3% of the population will be left in about the same place because they're already insured through individual-market plans that meet Obamacare requirements. That's wrong, too. This group includes a lot of winners and losers." Josh Barro in Business Insider.

It's tough being an Obamacare navigator. "[P]roblems with the federally run website have placed these "navigators" on the front lines, facing a deluge of questions and resorting to pen-and-paper applications to enroll consumers...As of Oct. 22, more than 2,200 navigators paid by federally funded organizations have been helping millions of eligible consumers nationwide search for health plans and sign up for coverage. They were meant to augment HealthCare.gov, providing answers consumers couldn't find on the site, and were supposed to be accessible through a "help" button on the site, over the phone or in person. Instead, they have become human versions of the online insurance marketplaces, serving the functions that HealthCare.gov has so far been unable to perform for the majority of consumers looking to sign up." Timothy W. Martin in The Wall Street Journal.

Timeline: Obama’s promise that people can keep their insuranceMasuma Ahuja in The Washington Post.

Watch: The first ad attacking 'if you like your plan, you can keep it' has already landedSheryl Gay Stolberg in The New York Times.

Can Silicon Valley save the Obamacare site? "High-profile companies like Google, Oracle and Red Hat are donating their engineering talent to President Obama in response to his administration's call for a "tech surge" that would fix the embattled Obamacare Web site. A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday that Google's Michael Dickerson, a site reliability engineer who's on temporary leave, will be aiding QSSI, one of the initial contractors for HealthCare.gov. Meanwhile, a former Presidential Innovation Fellow named Greg Gershman has signed on with CGI, the Canadian company widely said to be responsible for the botched project." Brian Fung in The Washington Post.

@Brendan_Buck: Carney just twice called the time since Obamacare's launch "the aftermath."

Who else is in the tech surge? "Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille described “dozens’” of experts rounded up to help with the HealthCare.gov repairs, but she mentioned only four, all familiar to either the Obama administration or federal IT...The political nature of Obamacare and the complexities of the federal IT process may make it difficult for some tech companies to participate — or to admit they are doing so. And it takes an understanding of the site’s construction to know how to fix it. But the administration could possibly draw them in through a special emergency contact or if their names show up on a pre-approved list of vendors." Jessica Meyers in Politico.

In other big heath-policy news: These guys have a plan to end the 'doc fix.' "Republican and Democratic lawmakers have agreed on a framework to replace the problematic Medicare payment formula for doctors with a plan that would link reimbursements to the quality of care provided...The draft released Thursday by the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees would eliminate the sustainable growth rate, or SGR, formula...The proposed framework would repeal the SGR and hold doctors’ pay at current levels as alternative payment models are developed. It would combine some existing Medicare quality programs into an initiative, starting in 2017, that would offer doctors additional pay based on new metrics." Mary Agnes Cary in The Washington Post.

One more item: Obama administration loosens rules on flex-spending accounts. "The Obama administration loosened rules governing health-care savings accounts known as flexible-spending arrangements, or FSAs, allowing consumers to roll over as much as $500 in unused funds each year. The change—likely to be popular with consumers—modifies the use-it-or-lose-it rule that has governed the tax-advantaged accounts for decades. Currently, FSA accounts are used by about 14 million families. They allow employees to set aside pretax dollars to pay for many health expenses that aren't covered by insurance, such as deductibles or dental and vision services." John D. McKinnon in The Wall Street Journal.

SEBELIUS: Clearing up the facts. "Some of less than 5 percent of Americans who currently get insurance on the individual insurance market have recently received notices from their insurance companies suggesting their plans may no longer exist. These Americans have a choice – they can choose a plan being offered by their insurer, or they can shop for coverage in the Marketplace. As insurers have made clear – they aren’t dropping consumers; they’re improving their coverage options, often offering plans that are more affordable." Kathleen Sebelius in HHS.gov.

KLEIN: How the Obama administration broke its promise of tech usability. "The disastrous launch of healthcare.gov,the online portal that was supposed to be the linchpin of the Affordable Care Act, has dealt a devastating blow to Obama’s vision. In the months leading up to the Oct. 1 rollout of the site, the president rarely compared his signature policy achievement to Medicare or Social Security. Instead, he favored analogies to e-commerce sites such as Orbitz, Travelocity, and Expedia. Obamacare was supposed to be the model for a 21st century social program, not a replica of programs built in the 20th. Now Republicans are seizing on the breakdown of the health exchange to reinforce the idea that government can’t do anything right—particularly not anything of this size." Ezra Klein in Bloomberg Businessweek.

@samsteinhp: now, you can try and fail to log on to http://healthcare.gov while taking off on a flight.

SALAM: Could we get a better health care reform out of this mess? "If  you want a better health system, is it obvious that sticking with Obamacare is the right way to go? At least some voices on the political left are suggested that Democrats should go back to the drawing board and press for a single-payer system for covering under-65s. On the right, people who favor an Obamacare replacement agenda centered around reforming the tax treatment of health insurance feel that the political barriers to their approach are lower now than they were pre-Obamacare, in light of the disruption Obamacare is already causing." Reihan Salam in National Review Online.

PAREENE: Liberals need to float liberal reforms to Obamacare. "Democrats who aren’t Obama should already be working on easy-to-grasp proposals to “reform” the ACA — to make it more public and less private. The immediate priority — and progressives running for office in 2014 and 2016 should practice saying this out loud — is fixing Obamacare. Not just the website, but the coverage gaps, the ways insurance companies will continue to exploit people and rip them off, and the potential for the cost burden on middle-class people to grow. Liberal Democrats need to propose real, old-fashioned liberal solutions to the real problems of the ACA. Things like federalizing Medicaid, to take care of people in states where the expansion has been blocked, and lowering the Medicare eligibility age. And they need to reintroduce the public option." Alex Pareene in Salon.

BARRO: The American health care system sucks. "In a sane world, "This health reform plan will make America like France!" would be praise, not a dire warning...[T]he real problem with Obamacare is that it does not change the American health care system enough in the direction of other countries' systems. Republicans are wrong to warn that Obamacare will turn America's health care system into a European-style one. I wish they were right." Josh Barro in Business Insider.

LEVIN: The Medicare Part D analogy. "Medicare Part D was a much, much simpler undertaking than Obamacare: it was a new benefit added to an existing federal program, a fairly simple additional insurance product (as it pays for goods rather than services), and there was not a need to achieve some balanced risk pool in the program...The fact that even a much simpler federal undertaking ran into real problems should lead us to think that Obamacare could well encounter far, far worse and more difficult problems, on a scale that may not be readily addressable." Yuval Levin in National Review Online.

BEUTLER: Why Republicans never define 'replace.' "[A]ll of the healthcare reform plans Republicans support would disrupt the insurance market much more dramatically than the Affordable Care Act does. Republicans can’t achieve consensus on a plan to replace Obamacare, but they all basically agree that very few people should be allowed to keep the insurance plans they have right now...Nearly all Republicans support eliminating traditional Medicare for future retirees, and replacing it with a plan that looks (ironically) a lot like Obamacare." Brian Beutler in Salon.

Music recommendations interlude: The best Halloween songs in the history of everything

Top opinion

BERNSTEIN: Bad fiscal policy isn't the only driver of slow growth. "There’s a bit of meme I hear growing that sure, when it comes to economic growth right now, the government sector is a real drag, but otherwise we’re doing pretty well...I disagree...[W]hen you take out the fiscal drag, the private economy is clearly growing faster. But it too has decelerated." Jared Bernstein in The New York Times.

KRUGMAN: A war on the poor. "Republican hostility toward the poor and unfortunate has now reached such a fever pitch that the party doesn’t really stand for anything else — and only willfully blind observers can fail to see that reality...[This is] a party committed to the view that unemployed workers have it too easy, that they’re so coddled by unemployment insurance and food stamps that they have no incentive to go out there and get a job." Paul Krugman in The New York Times.

TYSON: The business of business is more than business. "A recent study found that patient shareholders account for a larger portion of the shares of companies that espouse a long-term sustainability agenda relative to companies committed to share-price maximization. A growing number of investors are looking for responsible investment or “impact investment” opportunities that promise a mix of both financial and social returns...Businesses that ignore the broader social and environmental context in which they operate are likely to pay a price: reputational damage and loss of brand value, falling sales, difficulties in recruiting talent, lower worker productivity, corruption, tougher government regulation, or an increase in climate-change-related costs." Laura Tyson in Project Syndicate.

WESSEL: Why it's wrong to dismiss the deficit. ""Let me be clear," Mr. Summers said recently, "I am not saying fiscal discipline and economic growth are twin priorities. I am saying that our priority must be on increasing demand."...Summers concludes from CBO analyses that if the economy grew by two-tenths of a percentage point faster than projected for each of the next 75 years, the fiscal problem would evaporate. That's a rosy reading, but even if he's right, it's no small chore to find a policy that would achieve that faster growth and enact it." David Wessel in The Wall Street Journal.

CHERTOFF: What the NSA and social media have in common. "In one case, the former NSA chief becomes a victim of eavesdropping. In the other, a politician critical of teen drinking fails to intervene when he is surrounded by it. But both stories carry a more troubling implication. The ubiquitousness of recording devices ­— coupled with the ability everyone has to broadcast indiscriminately through Twitter, YouTube and other online platforms — means that virtually every act or utterance outside one’s own home (or, in Gansler’s case, inside a private home) is subject to being massively publicized." Michael Chertoff in The Washington Post.

Halloween interlude: 5 nerdy jack-o-lanterns.

2) Wonkbook brings back its nuclear-option DEFCON

Senate Republicans filibuster two of President Obama’s nominees. "Senate Republicans blocked President Obama’s nominees to oversee the home mortgage industry and to serve on a powerful appellate court, refusing to stop a filibuster of the two selections amid fresh rumbling from Democrats about changing the chamber’s rules. On a 56 to 42 vote, the Senate fell four votes shy of the 60 required to choke off debate in the GOP filibuster against the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to run the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac...Immediately after that vote, Obama’s bid to place Patricia Millett on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit fell five votes shy of 60, leaving the prominent Supreme Court lawyer caught in a filibuster that has nothing to do with her qualifications for the post." Paul Kane and Ed O'Keefe in The Washington Post.

You should get ready for a major fight over the filibuster. "The GOP opposition angered the majority Democrats, who said they were considering whether to take new steps to limit Republicans' ability to prevent confirmation votes...Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said he expected the Senate to reconsider the nominations of Ms. Millett and Mr. Watt in the "very near future" and voted no on both to preserve that option. He also said he wouldn't make a decision Thursday on whether to invoke what is known as the "nuclear option" of the rules change." Kristina Peterson, Brent Kendall, and Nick Timiraos in The Wall Street Journal.

And you thought you had seen it all interlude: Two guys dress up as umps.

3) There are NSA reformers...and then there are the intelligence committees

Senate Intelligence Cmte. signs off on modest reforms to NSA surveillance. "The intelligence panel voted 11-4 to approve its reform package at a closed meeting that followed two other closed markup sessions earlier this week...The text of the committee bill was not immediately released, nor were the identities of those who voted for and against the measure...Feinstein’s measure would largely convert court-imposed limits on the call-tracking program into statutory requirements. Some new limits would be added, like a requirement that the justification for every query of the database be provided after the fact to the federal court which oversees the program. In addition, a five-year limit on the retention of data would be imposed by law, with records older than three years accessible only with the approval of the attorney general...Feinstein’s bill would allow the court to appoint lawyers to argue for the privacy rights of those affected. The measure would also make the head of the NSA subject to Senate confirmation. One provision in the bill actually broadens surveillance authority, giving the NSA or other agencies the OK to continue surveillance on foreigners after they enter the United States from overseas. The legislation says such surveillance can continue for 72 hours, or longer if the attorney general issues an emergency order." Josh Gerstein in Politico.

States are beefing up privacy protections. "Over two dozen privacy laws have passed this year in more than 10 states, in places as different as Oklahoma and California...[laws] from limiting how schools can collect student data to deciding whether the police need a warrant to track cellphone locations." Somini Sengupta in The New York Times.

Tech companies urge lawmakers to reform NSA programs. "Facebook, Google, Apple and three other leading technology companies on Thursday called for substantial reforms to the U.S. government’s surveillance programs, which have drawn new scrutiny in the aftermath of revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The letter, sent to top members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, endorses greater transparency in surveillance programs, long a goal for tech companies that must comply with government data requests from around the world. Yet it also goes further, urging U.S. lawmakers to enact reforms that would “include substantial enhancements to privacy protections and appropriate oversight and accountability mechanisms for those programs.”" Craig Timberg in The Washington Post.

From the archives interlude: Steven Colbert worked for Good Morning America as a humor correspondent in 1997. This is his only segment that ever aired.

4) U.S. to world: invest here

Obama launches a push to increase foreign direct investment. "It had a tent revival atmosphere, upbeat pop music, a giant artsy American flag and an almost giddy sense of good things about to happen. Add an A-list of Cabinet members starting with President Obama himself, several hundred foreign executives, an army of state economic officials and plenty of space for speed-dating capitalism, and you have America’s first-ever effort to put itself on the block for overseas investors." Howard Schneider in The Washington Post.

Interview: Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on the FDI pushHoward Schneider and Lydia DePillis in The Washington Post.

Regulators propose tougher measures on capital requirements. "Global regulators are cracking down on banks that try to bend capital rules for their trading businesses by proposing new standards for the way lenders assess risk. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision yesterday published a consultation paper that analysts said could have significant repercussions for the way banks run their trading operations...It comes after regulators uncovered wide divergences between banks, with some using their complex internal models to minimise the amount of capital they have to set aside. The new system will require banks to calculate risks according to a standardised approach in addition to their own in-house methodology. The Committee said it may go further after assessing the effect of its proposals and introduce the standardised approach as a minimum requirement." Sam Fleming in The Financial Times.

CFTC hit by budget constraints. "The Commodity Futures Trading Commission may have to forgo or delay certain investigations because of budget constraints as the agency works on setting priorities for the new fiscal year, agency officials said...[T]he agency is being forced to make tough choices because it does not have the money to fund all of its duties, especially because it now has added responsibilities under the Dodd-Frank legislation, said CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton." Gina Chon in The Financial Times.

Central banks agree to retain swap lines. "The world’s major central banks have agreed to keep one of their main crisis-fighting tools in place until further notice. Temporary swap lines, introduced by the Federal Reserve in 2007 to combat a global shortage of dollars, allow monetary authorities to pump foreign currency into their home markets. On Thursday, six central banks said that they would turn their temporary lines into standing ones...Although there is little use of the swap lines today, at the height of the turmoil they were used regularly to counter shortages of dollars and euros. The shortages arose as the interbank lending market froze and market participants became less willing to offer foreign currency loans to their counterparts." Claire Jones in The Financial Times.

Fannie Mae sues banks over alleged Libor manipulation. "Fannie Mae filed a lawsuit Thursday against nine of the world’s largest banks over losses that the mortgage finance giant suffered from the alleged ma­nipu­la­tion of the global interest rate known as Libor...The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, said Fannie lost about $800 million on “swaps, mortgages, mortgage-backed securities and other variable rate transactions” tied to Libor...Fannie Mae accused Barclays, UBS, Internal Rabobank Groep, Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, Citibank and JPMorgan Chase of colluding to artificially lower the rate from 2007 to 2010." Danielle Douglas in The Washington Post.

Wells Fargo settles with FHFA. "Wells Fargo & Co. settled with the Federal Housing Finance Agency for allegedly misleading disclosures on mortgage securities the bank sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to people familiar with the matter...The FHFA filed 18 lawsuits against the world's largest banks in 2011 seeking unspecified damages on $200 billion in mortgage securities bought by Fannie and Freddie, but it never filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo...The bank will likely disclose the settlement in an upcoming regulatory filing, people familiar with the matter said. The sum of the settlement likely won't be disclosed, they added. It's unclear whether they will admit or deny any specific behavior." Shayndi Rice and Nick Timiraos in The Wall Street Journal.

U.S. jobless claims fall to 340,000. "Initial claims for unemployment benefits, a measure of layoffs, declined by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 in the week ended Oct. 26, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected 335,000 new claims. Jobless claims spiked early this month because of reporting problems in California and private-sector layoffs related to the government shutdown. But they have since fallen steadily as the state resolved its technical glitches and the initial impact of Washington's budget fight subsided." Jeffrey Sparshott and Sarah Portlock in The Wall Street Journal.

Watch: Gene Sperling talk about why U.S. manufacturing is in a recoveryLydia DePillis in The Washington Post.

Explainer: Citi's global economic forecastsSteven Perlberg in Business Insider.

Backgrounder: The economics of planned obsolescence. (An interesting weekend read.) Catherine Rampell in The New York Times.

Almost anything would have been better stimulus than ‘Cash for Clunkers.’ "A new analysis from the Brookings Institution's Ted Gayer and Emily Parker found that the program was fairly inefficient as economic stimulus and mostly pulled forward auto sales that would have happened anyway. It also cut greenhouse-gas emissions a bit — the equivalent of taking up to 5 million cars off the road for a year — but at a steep cost...[C]onsumers just bought some cars slightly earlier than they otherwise would have. Cumulative purchases over the year were basically unchanged." Brad Plumer in The Washington Post.

Cool enough interlude: It builds a 3d spaceship based on your name.

5) FAA changes device-use rules

The FAA comes to its senses, will let us use electronic devices throughout flights. "Let us pause to honor a rare example of government making a sensible decision that will make life a little better for millions of people.Passengers on U.S. commercial flights will be able to leave their personal electronic devices on, eventually with permission to read e-books, play games and watch videos on their devices throughout flights, the Federal Aviation Administration has ruled. They can leave their phones on in airplane mode, with cellular reception turned off." Neil Irwin in The Washington Post.

Why is the FAA usually so slow to change airline safety rules? "Many of these rules were crafted decades ago by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) — and the agency rarely loosens them...Airline experts have long pointed out that the FAA tends to be extremely risk-averse when it comes to altering its rules. That's not unusual for safety-oriented government agencies." Brad Plumer in The Washington Post.

Reading material interlude: The best sentences Wonkblog read today.

Wonkblog Roundup

Investors think Snapchat is worth $4 billion. That’s insaneLydia DePillis.

In first month, the vast majority of Obamacare sign-ups are in MedicaidSarah Kliff.

Q&A: How Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker wants to get foreigners to invest in AmericaHoward Schneider and Lydia DePillis.

Don’t expect a big budget deal. But what about a small oneNeil Irwin.

Almost anything would have been better stimulus than ‘Cash for Clunkers’Brad Plumer.

Whom to blame for HealthCare.gov in one flowchartSarah Kliff.

Gene Sperling: Fukushima and wage stagnation sure have helped U.S. manufacturingLydia DePillis.

Obamacare’s launch looked even worse from the insideSarah Kliff.

One in four trick-or-treaters is an unscrupulous candy thief, study finds. Sarah Kliff.

The FAA comes to its senses, will let us use electronic devices throughout flightsNeil Irwin.

Why is the FAA usually so slow to change airline safety rulesBrad Plumer.

Don’t expect a big budget deal. But what about a small oneNeil Irwin.

Et Cetera

The sequel to 'Game Change' is out. Here are the parts worth knowing aboutJonathan Martin in The New York Times.

Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) becomes third House Republican to sign onto immigration reformRebecca Shabad in The Hill.

Homeland Security workers routinely boost pay with unearned overtime, report saysEmily Wax-Thibodeaux in The Washington Post.

Tentative deal keeps civil-rights issue away from Supreme CourtRobbie Whelan and Jess Bravin in The Wall Street Journal.

Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail me.

Wonkbook is produced with help from Michelle Williams.

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