Wonkbook: Is Obamacare turning the corner?

November 26, 2013

Welcome to Wonkbook, Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas's morning policy news primer. 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.

A spin through HealthCare.Gov this morning went smoothly. The site loaded quickly. The process progressed easily. There were no error messages or endless hangs. I didn't complete the final step of purchasing insurance but, until then, the site worked -- or at least appeared to work -- exactly as intended.

My experience isn't rare. There are increasing reports that HealthCare.Gov is working better -- perhaps much better -- for consumers than it was a few short weeks ago. "Consumer advocates say it is becoming easier for people to sign up for coverage," report Sandhya Somashekhar and Amy Goldstein in the Washington Post. "The truth is, the system is getting stronger as it recovers from its disastrous launch," writes Sam Baker in the National Journal. Applying "was no problem at all, with no delays," says Paul Krugman.

Reports from inside the health care bureaucracy are also turning towards optimism. People who knew the Web site was going to be a mess on Oct. 1st are, for the first time, beginning to think HealthCare.Gov might work. Data backs them up: By mid-November, the pace of enrollment in the federal exchanges had doubled from what it was in October.

The Obama administration is certainly acting like they believe the site has turned the corner. Somashekhar and Goldstein report that they're "moving on to the outreach phase, which had taken a back seat as they grappled with the faulty Web site. Next week, the White House will host an insurance-oriented 'youth summit' aimed at people ages 18 to 35, an age group whose participation in the health-care law will be critical to its success."

The White House had held off on this kind of outreach because they believed it would simply drive people to a useless Web site. If they're restarting the outreach, it's because they believe, rightly or wrongly, that HealthCare.Gov will be able to convert the interest into enrollments.

The worry, at this point, is that the site is working in ways that are visible but broken in ways that are harder to see. The Obama administration won't answer direct questions on the percentage of "834s" -- the forms insurers need to sign people up for the correct policies at the correct prices -- that are coming through with errors. Robert Laszewski, a health-industry consultant with deep contacts among the insurers, told the National Journal the problem is getting better, but that his clients are still seeing a five percent error rate. That's still too high.

The systems that determine whether applicants are eligible for insurance are also improving. But inside the administration there's a recognition that it was error-ridden in the first six weeks of Obamacare -- and so the question is how to handle the many people who unknowingly received an eligibility determination that can't be trusted.

Still, it's clear that HealthCare.Gov is improving -- and, at this point, it's improving reasonably quickly. It won't work perfectly by the end of November but it might well work tolerably early in December. A political system that's become overwhelmingly oriented towards pessimism on Obamacare will have to adjust as the system's technological infrastructure improves.

The next challenge for the law, as the White House knows, will be the outreach challenge of signing up enough young-and-healthy people to balance out its risk pools. That's a challenge the White House spent quite a lot of time thinking about before this IT nightmare. The question is whether they still have enough time, and enough clout, to get it right.


(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Wonkbook's Number of the Day: 80 percent. That's the share of health care decisions that women make for their families, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Wonkbook's Quotation of the Day: "Usually for lunch he buys a candy bar. His skin flakes from psoriasis, which gets worse when he worries, which, these days, is all the time."

Wonkbook's Graph of the Day: The young and uninsured, now in charts.

Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: (1) Obamacare's struggles; (2) interpreting the Iran deal; (3) why the NSA has a lot to worry about; (4) the all-too-American story of John Stewart; and (5) lots o' methane.

1. Top story: The Obamacare problems you should worry about, and those you shouldn't

ID verification is still a problem at Healthcare.gov. "Just days before the Obama administration’s self-imposed deadline to fix the troubled federal health insurance website, officials said Monday that they were aware of another problem that has prevented thousands of people who were unable to verify their identity from shopping for health plans. Many users of the website have had their applications cast into limbo after they uploaded copies of documents like driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and voter registration cards, or sent them to the office of the federal insurance marketplace in London, Ky...Customer service representatives for the federal marketplace and for Experian said they had received calls from many people who were unable to verify their identity, and internal government documents show that lower-level federal employees have known of a problem for weeks." Robert Pear in The New York Times.

A healthcare meeting at the White House tomorrow. "Healthcare stakeholders, including doctor groups, have been invited to the White House on Tuesday to discuss the implementation of ObamaCare...An invitation stated that groups would meet with Chris Jennings and Jeanne Lambrew, deputy assistants for health policy, on topics including the "January transition to marketplace coverage."" Elise Viebeck in The Hill.

@jonfavs: If Obama really wanted to distract attention from Obamacare, maybe he'd stop giving all those public speeches on Obamacare? Just a thought.

Consumers see progress but insurers smell trouble. "As the Obama administration closes in on its self-imposed deadline to fix the troubled online health insurance marketplace, consumer advocates say it is becoming easier for people to sign up for coverage but insurers warn that critical flaws continue to hinder participating health plans...But the online system is still marred by defects that will create havoc for insurance companies if a significantly larger volume of applicants starts to sign up in coming weeks. Among them are the error-riddled reports that insurers are receiving about who has enrolled, a problem that could be disastrous if not fixed soon." Sandhya Somashekhar and Amy Goldstein in The Washington Post.

What we learned from today's Obamacare update. ""The system will not work perfectly on December 1 but will operate much better than it did in October." That was Julie Bataille, Medicare spokeswoman, explaining what to expect from HealthCare.gov after we get past the Nov. 30 deadline. This is in line with how the administration has previously de-emphasized their self-imposed deadline of having the Web site work for the vast majority of users come the end of the month." Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post.

What Healthcare.gov is still missing. "On Tuesday, Henry Chao, the deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, raised eyebrows when he testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the payment system for the federal health insurance exchange hadn't yet been built...As originally conceived, on at least a monthly basis, the government and the insurers were supposed to go through a process of “reconciliation” to make sure that the 834 forms the government has on file match up with the ones insurers have on file. That process has not yet taken place. At some point about the middle of January, the federal government is supposed to transfer subsidy money over to insurers. But this is the system that Chao said hasn’t been built yet." Philip Klein in The Washington Examiner.

Here's the Obama administration's backdoor admission that the Obamacare fix will weaken exchanges and drive up costs. "Hundreds of pages of regulations made public Monday contain an acknowledgment that the decision, announced amid fierce criticism over canceled policies, would mean fewer healthy people would buy healthcare through the exchanges...The agency [HHS] said it is exploring ways to address the decision’s impacts by tweaking other programs, including ObamaCare’s “risk corridor” provision allowing partial reimbursements for insurers who take on high-risk consumers. “As we continue to analyze its potential impacts, we will determine whether such approaches and modifications are warranted,” the agency wrote." Ben Goad in The Hill.

How will we know when Healthcare.gov is fixed? "The site is still sending incorrect or incomplete information to insurance companies about the people who choose a plan, and industry officials are afraid the administration is about to flood them with more bad data than they can manage...Bob Laszewski, a health care consultant who works closely with insurers, estimated that the site's back-end error rate is 5 percent. It needs to be lower than 1 percent for the site to be considered fixed, he said." Sam Baker in NationalJournal.

A guide to surviving Obamacare debates at Thanksgiving. "This is probably the most obvious question to come up on Thursday: How busted is this law?...It's fair to say the launch of HealthCare.Gov has not exactly gone as the White House would have hoped...That's the part of the health-care law that isn't working. But in some states that built their own insurance marketplaces, Obamacare is working--and the health law is meeting enrollment projections." Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post.

@sam_baker: A Thanksgiving debate about Obamacare is not nearly as bad as everyone you know assuming you want to be their insurance agent

Hospitals are reforming the patient experience after the ICU. "As many as 80% of ICU survivors have some form of cognitive or brain dysfunction, according to the Society of Critical Care Medicine, and some never recover. Many experience post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression, fatigue and prolonged muscle weakness...Now, many hospitals are starting to modify standard ICU practices, such as giving patients breaks from constant ventilation, avoiding over-sedation, monitoring them closely for signs of delirium and getting them out of bed to walk as soon as feasible. They are adopting protocols to treat sepsis aggressively." Laura Landro in The Wall Street Journal.

@MattZeitlin: What should I add to the Thanksgiving conversation banned list. Israel has a permanent spot. Obamacare too?

Here is the next frontier in healthcare. "[H]eart-disease specialists hope genetics will reveal fresh insight into the interaction between a person's biology, living habits and medications that can better predict who is at risk of a heart attack or stroke...Researchers hope genetic and other information might enable doctors to identify subgroups of hypertension that respond to specific treatments and target patients with an appropriate therapy." Ron Winslow in The Wall Street Journal.

State officials are trying to prevent insurers from shrinking their coverage networks. "Officials in at least a half dozen states are pushing back against health plans in the new insurance markets that limit choice of doctors and hospitals in a bid to control medical costs...Legal fights are brewing. In some cases, the officials are responding to complaints of health care systems or providers that were excluded...The ability to sell less-expensive plans with limited choices of doctors and hospitals helps contain medical inflation, health economists argue. Looser networks could. mean higher prices." Jay Hancock in Kaiser Health News.

Democrats worry leaders in denial on Obamacare. "Democratic leaders claim the bungled launch of Obamacare is just the latest news sensation — a media-stirred tempest that looks in the heat of the moment like it could upend the midterm election, but ends up fizzling well before voters head to the polls. Some party strategists say they’re in denial...[T]hat perceived gap between party spin and facts on the ground is fueling worries that the White House and Democratic higher-ups aren’t taking the possible electoral blowback seriously enough or doing enough to shield their candidates. Democratic contenders in the toughest races are distinctly less convinced that Obamacare will fade as an election-year issue." Alex Isenstadt in Politico.

Explainer: The young and uninsured, now in chartsCatherine Rampell in The New York Times.

The new Obamacare sales line: Your mom wants you to get insured. "Recruiting enough young people is a major goal of the Obama administration because insurers need healthy customers to offset the cost of caring for those with expensive medical needs...Beneath the marketing campaigns’ playful language is a deeper truth: When it comes to making major life decisions, many people — especially young adults — still turn to their mothers for help. More broadly, women make about 80 percent of the health care decisions for their families, according to the federal Labor Department." Katie Thomas in The New York Times.

COHN: You might lose your doctor. But don't blame Obamacare. "Obamacare critics on the right think they have a new issue. They are calling it “provider shock.” Thanks to the new health care law, these conservatives say, insurance companies are limiting beneficiaries to small groups of doctors and hospitals...Insurance companies have been using limited provider networks for a long time. It's how they conducted business before Obamacare came along and, for better or worse, it's how they'll conduct business now that Obamacare is law." Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic.

MILLER AND MCCLOSKEY: The next Obamacare mirage. "The claim this time is that the health-care "cost curve is bending, and the ACA is a significant part of the reason."...[C]hampions of ObamaCare have little to crow about, once one recognizes that the persistently weak economic recovery has overlapped with the law...By 2022, ObamaCare alone is projected to increase cumulative health spending by roughly $621 billion, according to CMS." Thomas Miller and Abby McCloskey in The Wall Street Journal.

BEUTLER: The Republicans' choice: politics, or the health of their constituents? "[T]he real fix for 70 percent (or so) of people whose policies have been canceled is to get new, subsidized coverage through exchanges, or to enroll in Medicaid. Once Healthcare.gov is working at high capacity, they’ll owe people with canceled coverage more than just the play-acting they’ve offered for the past month. Democrats will be helping these people find such coverage. Will Republicans?" Brian Beutler in Salon.

Music recommendations interlude: The Capitol Steps on Healthcare.gov, via David Wessel of The Wall Street Journal.

Top opinion

WYDEN, UDALL, AND HEINRICH: End the NSA dragnet now. "The usefulness of the bulk collection program has been greatly exaggerated. We have yet to see any proof that it provides real, unique value in protecting national security. In spite of our repeated requests, the N.S.A. has not provided evidence of any instance when the agency used this program to review phone records that could not have been obtained using a regular court order or emergency authorization." Ron Wyden, Mark Udall, and Martin Heinrich in The New York Times.

SEIB: Why the U.S. thinks Iran can give more. "Administration officials think they have bought time; they think they have retained leverage; and they believe the power of moderates could grow within Iran as the process unfolds...For more than a decade, the world has feared that Iran might simply use negotiations to buy time to continue work on its nuclear program. The new deal, U.S. officials say, reverses that: Nuclear advances are frozen, creating time and space for negotiations without fear that talking equals nuclear program by the Iranians." Gerald F. Seib in The Wall Street Journal.

SLAUGHTER: Bringing the Iran deal back home. "The West had better hope that the Iranian narrative proves true, because the political space for any meaningful diplomatic agreement – both the desire for a deal and the room to achieve it – is created at home. This is particularly true when a new government comes to power with promises of improving the economy...The true test of this interim agreement, therefore, is whether both sides can secure the domestic space to continue negotiating." Anne-Marie Slaughter in Project Syndicate.

BERNSTEIN: Why inflation is less of a risk than it's ever been. "Last week, Dean Baker and I asserted on this blog that the Phillips Curve has flattened over the years, and this development means policy makers face a diminished risk of inflation in the pursuit of full employment. This week, I’d like to unpack that very dense sentence...The fact that inflation has grown less responsive to lower unemployment means the weighting of the risks associated with the unemployment-inflation trade-off has changed in favor of full employment." Jared Bernstein in The New York Times.

PONNURU: Dumb versus dumber in the Common Core debate. "The initiative’s critics advance an angry populism that is frequently misinformed...But supporters of the Common Core have their own misleading claims. They say that its adoption by states has been totally voluntary, even though state governments had a better shot at getting a share of federal money and relief from some regulations if they signed up for it...What these arguments obscure is that the case for having a “common core” in the first place is weak. High standards may be valuable, but why do they have to be common? It isn’t as though different state standards are a major problem in U.S. education." Ramesh Ponnuru in Bloomberg.

ORSZAG: Who benefits from activist investors? "Activists are increasingly turning their attention to conglomerates with multiple lines of business and low investment. And many companies are targeted multiple times; 60 percent of the companies activists went after this year had been the subject of previous campaigns...On average, from a month prior to the campaign through two years after it starts, targeted companies receive returns about 20 percent to 30 percent higher than those of their untargeted peers...What lasting differences do activist hedge funds make in the way targeted companies operate and in the lives of the people working there? Alon Brav of Duke University, Wei Jiang of Columbia University and Hyunseob Kim of Cornell University have explored these questions for manufacturing companies in the U.S. On average, the researchers find, activism causes a temporary decline in productivity, presumably as the company reorganizes, but within three years, productivity rises significantly." Peter Orszag in Bloomberg.

SACHS: Sustainable development and the modern city. "Sustainable development offers a new concept for the world economy in the twenty-first century. Rather than focusing solely on income, sustainable development encourages cities, countries, and the world to focus simultaneously on three goals: economic prosperity, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability...Cities will be in the front lines of the battle for sustainable development. Not only do they face direct threats; they also have the best opportunities to identify and deliver solutions. As high-density, high-productivity settlements, cities can provide greater access to services of all kinds." Jeffrey D. Sachs in Project Syndicate.

2. Interpreting the Iran deal

With Iran deal, Obama signals a shift from military might to diplomacy. "The weekend ended with the first tangible sign of a nuclear deal with Iran, after more than three decades of hostility. Then on Monday came the announcement that a conference will convene in January to try to broker an end to the civil war in Syria. The success of either negotiation, both long sought by President Obama, is hardly assured — in fact the odds may be against them. But the two nearly simultaneous developments were vivid statements that diplomacy, the venerable but often-unsatisfying art of compromise, has once again become the centerpiece of American foreign policy...For Mr. Obama, the shift to diplomacy fulfills a campaign pledge from 2008 that he would stretch out a hand to America’s enemies and speak to any foreign leader without preconditions." Mark Landler in The New York Times.

Interview: If you don’t like negotiating with Iran what you’re really saying is you want to go to war.’ The Washington Post.

Reid: Senate will consider stronger sanctions against Iran after break. "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday the Senate might pursue stronger sanctions against Iran, after lawmakers criticized a nuclear accord that would ease sanctions. Reid called the pact negotiated between six world powers and Iran an “important first step,” but expressed uncertainty whether it would be good enough...Reid acknowledged President Obama could veto stronger sanctions passed by Congress if he believed they ran counter to his foreign policy agenda." Alexander Bolton in The Hill.

How the White House is explaining the deal with Iran. "After arguing for weeks that sanctions would hurt the prospects of reaching a deal, senior administration officials are now asking lawmakers to hold off for another six months while negotiators try to achieve a long-term accord. The administration is taking steps to burnish the agreement, casting it as the alternative to Mideast conflict...In an indication of the importance of the agreement to his agenda, President Barack Obama will devote significant focus to the diplomatic effort in his State of the Union address shortly after the new year, a senior administration official said." Carol E. Lee and Peter Nicholas in The Wall Street Journal.

Will a nuclear deal with Iran make oil cheaper? "Oil prices took a tumble this weekend immediately after the nuclear deal between the United States and Iran was announced. But the euphoria didn't very long: The price of a barrel of Brent crude fell nearly $3 after the deal, but soon bounced back up to its previous level of $110.96 by the end of the day Monday. And the cost of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark crude, has fallen just 66 cents since the agreement was announced. Why was the impact so small? Shouldn't a nuclear deal with Iran make oil much cheaper? In theory, yes, any sort of detente between the United States and Iran should ease pressure on oil prices." Brad Plumer in The Washington Post.

Gorgeous interlude: A timelapse video of Chicago.

3. Why the NSA has a lot to worry about

Spies worry over "doomsday" cache stashed by ex-NSA contractor Snowden. "British and U.S. intelligence officials say they are worried about a "doomsday" cache of highly classified, heavily encrypted material they believe former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has stored on a data cloud. The cache contains documents generated by the NSA and other agencies and includes names of U.S. and allied intelligence personnel, seven current and former U.S. officials and other sources briefed on the matter said. The data is protected with sophisticated encryption, and multiple passwords are needed to open it, said two of the sources, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters." Mark Hosenball in Reuters.

The NSA panel is almost done. "Working in secret like the programs they’re reviewing, five men with high-level security clearances and ties to President Barack Obama will soon deliver a report that’s likely to reshape U.S. government surveillance. The group, which is scrutinizing the data harvesting by the National Security Agency, relies on the government’s spy office -- the very people it’s supposed to be examining -- for its staff and logistics. While that may be the safest way to handle sensitive materials, it also limits contrarian viewpoints, say people alarmed by the surveillance disclosures." Margaret Talev in Bloomberg.

NSA deputy director skeptical on sharing data with FBI and others. "The deputy director of the National Security Agency on Friday sounded skeptical about permitting the FBI, DEA or other law enforcement agencies to directly search through the NSA's vast data troves, as a new bill would appear to permit. A bill recently approved by the Senate intelligence committee on a 13-4 vote blesses the ability of law enforcement agencies to directly conduct "queries of data" from NSA databases of foreign-derived communications content "for law enforcement purposes"." Spencer Ackerman in The Guardian.

NSA spying puts $35 billion in U.S. tech sales. "Disclosures of spying abroad may cost U.S. companies as much as $35 billion in lost revenue through 2016 because of doubts about the security of information on their systems, according to the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a policy research group in Washington whose board includes representatives of companies." Nicole Gaouette in Bloomberg.

The NSA is inside the series of tubes. (For those of you who don't get the reference, see here.) "People knowledgeable about Google and Yahoo’s infrastructure say they believe that government spies bypassed the big Internet companies and hit them at a weak spot — the fiber-optic cables that connect data centers around the world that are owned by companies like Verizon Communications, the BT Group, the Vodafone Group and Level 3 Communications. In particular, fingers have been pointed at Level 3, the world’s largest so-called Internet backbone provider, whose cables are used by Google and Yahoo." Nicole Perlroth and John Markoff in The New York Times.

Wonkbookmarks interlude: "If I could pick just one book for you to read" website..

4. The all-too-American story of John Stewart

Among American workers, poll finds unprecedented anxiety about jobs, economy. "More than six in 10 workers in a recent Washington Post-Miller Center poll worry that they will lose their jobs to the economy, surpassing concerns in more than a dozen surveys dating to the 1970s. Nearly one in three, 32 percent, say they worry “a lot” about losing their jobs, also a record high...Fifty-four percent of workers making $35,000 or less now worry “a lot” about losing their jobs, compared with 37 percent of ­lower-income workers in 1992 and an identical number in 1975." Jim Tankersley and Scott Clement in The Washington Post.

One more excerpt from the Tankersley/Clement piece -- meet John Stewart: "The alarm rang on John Stewart’s phone at 1:10 a.m. Up at 1:30, he caught one bus north into Philadelphia a little after 2 and another bus, south toward the airport, half an hour after that. He made it into work around 3:25 for a shift that started at 4, for a job that pays $5.25 an hour, which he cannot afford to lose. Stewart is 55, tall and thin and animated. At work he wears a clip-on tie, a white cotton shirt with a fraying collar and a pair of black sneakers he nabbed on sale for $12.99 a few days ago. He wheels elderly air passengers from the ticket counters through security and to their gates, and back again, and every once in a while they tip him. Usually for lunch he buys a candy bar. His skin flakes from psoriasis, which gets worse when he worries, which, these days, is all the time. He can’t pay for treatments to soothe the itching or for a car to shorten his pre-dawn commute."

How to keep your eye on the ball, corporate-tax-reform edition. "What tends to get lost in the debate is how much corporations actually pay in taxes once various deductions and credits are taken into account. A corporation’s total tax bill divided by its profits is its effective tax rate. It’s hard to imagine a corporation paying anywhere close to 39 percent of all its profits in taxes, as that would mean it has no deductions or credits whatsoever...A key element of the debate over cutting the corporate tax rate is how the United States compares with other countries when corporations decide where to invest and realize profits for tax purposes. Under American law, multinational corporations based in the United States are not taxed on profits earned in foreign countries until those profits are repatriated to the United States." Bruce Bartlett in The New York Times.

Ron Unz, a conservative, is leading the push to raise California's minimum wage. "He plans to pour his own money into a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage in California to $10 an hour in 2015 and $12 in 2016, which would make it by far the highest in the nation. Currently, it is $8 — 75 cents higher than the federal minimum. Using what he sees as conservative principles to advocate a policy long championed by the left, Mr. Unz argues that significantly raising the minimum wage would help curb government spending on social services, strengthen the economy and make more jobs attractive to American-born workers." Jennifer Medina in The New York Times.

On campuses, a fossil-fuel divestment movement. "A divestment movement is marching across U.S. college campuses, borrowing tactics from the 1980s anti-apartheid campaign and using them against oil, gas and coal companies to fight climate change. Students are teaming with investment advisers to convince universities, pension funds and institutional investors that they can take a stand against fossil-fuel companies without hurting their returns." Steven Mufson in The Washington Post.

Nerd Olympics interlude: Bill Gates once bragged in an interview that he could jump over a chair. The interviewer had him do it.

5. We're leaking way more methane than we thought

U.S. methane emissions exceed estimates, study finds. "Emissions of the greenhouse gas methane due to human activity were roughly 1.5 times greater in the United States in the middle of the last decade than prevailing estimates, according to a new analysis by 15 climate scientists published Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The analysis also said that methane discharges in Texas and Oklahoma, where oil and gas production was concentrated at the time, were 2.7 times greater than conventional estimates. Emissions from oil and gas activity alone could be five times greater than the prevailing estimate, the report said. The study relies on nearly 12,700 measurements of atmospheric methane in 2007 and 2008. Its conclusions are sharply at odds with the two most comprehensive estimates of methane emissions, by the Environmental Protection Agency and an alliance of the Netherlands and the European Commission." Michael Wines in The New York Times.

White House launches interagency climate council. "Senior White House officials are gathering Monday to launch the interagency council that President Obama created to help communities harden their defenses against powerful storms and other extreme weather likely worsened by climate change. It’s the first meeting of the Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, an interagency group established under Obama’s Nov. 1 executive order on preparing for the impacts of climate change." Ben German in The Hill.

The US has 43 nuclear power plants’ worth of solar energy in the pipeline. "The boom in solar energy in the US in recent years? You haven’t seen anything yet. The pipeline of photovoltaic projects has grown 7% over the past 12 months and now stands at 2,400 solar installations that would generate 43,000 megawatts (MW), according to a report released today by market research firm NPD Solarbuzz. If all these projects are built, their peak electricity output would be equivalent to that of 43 big nuclear power plants, and enough to keep the lights on in six million American homes. + Only 8.5% of the pipeline is currently being installed, with most of it still in the planning stages. Some projects will inevitably get canceled or fail to raise financing." Todd Woody in Quartz.

We're getting an explanation for why the estimate of the social cost of carbon rose. "The technical support document the White House is releasing will be open for public comment. Officials are especially interested in hearing how the three underlying assessment models are used to calculate the cost estimates, the way the carbon cost is used in analyses of regulations’ impacts and “the strengths and limitations of the overall approach,” the White House said." Julian Hattem in The Hill.

Wonkblog Roundup

That time I ate eggs and talked about the filibuster with Scott WalkerEzra Klein.

If you don’t like negotiating with Iran what you’re really saying is you want to go to war.’ Ezra Klein.

Microsoft might be beating Google at retail. No, reallyLydia DePillis.

Three things we learned from today’s Obamacare updateSarah Kliff.

Can you run a great media organization and also do business in ChinaNeil Irwin.

A guide to surviving Obamacare debates at ThanksgivingSarah Kliff.

Will a nuclear deal with Iran make oil cheaperBrad Plumer.

Et Cetera

Obama calls for swift action on immigration reform, and so does a hecklerSarah Wheaton in The New York Times.

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

Wonkbook is produced with help from Michelle Williams.

SECTION: {section=business, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, childrenitemsperpage=3, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, includesorts=true, includeheader=true, defaulttab=all, includeverifiedcommenters=true, includerecommend=true, maxitemstop=2, includereport=true, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, childrenitemsperpage=3, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, includesorts=true, includeheader=true, defaulttab=all, includeverifiedcommenters=true, includerecommend=true, maxitemstop=2, includereport=true, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=business, subsection=null}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, childrenitemsperpage=3, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, includesorts=true, includeheader=true, defaulttab=all, includeverifiedcommenters=true, includerecommend=true, maxitemstop=2, includereport=true, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, childrenitemsperpage=3, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, includesorts=true, includeheader=true, defaulttab=all, includeverifiedcommenters=true, includerecommend=true, maxitemstop=2, includereport=true, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments
Most Read Business
Next Story
Sarah Kliff · November 25, 2013