Dec 23, 2016

Obamacare signups surge in going-out-of-business sale

Obamacare enrollment for next year now stands at 6.4 million people -- roughly 400,000 more than at this time last year, according to a government report released Wednesday. That could suggest a rush to sign up for coverage now that the law is likely to be repealed, but Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell reported that more than 30,000 callers have asked whether they should even bother.

The answer, she told reporters, is yes. Obamacare is the law of the land, Burwell said, and any Obamacare coverage people buy is "a contract for 2017" that will be honored. She acknowledged, however, that the signup duties will switch to the Trump administration shortly before open enrollment ends Jan. 31 -- so all the Obama administration can do is offer to help the Trump team and hope the handoff goes well.

Between the lines: The Obama administration has to run up the score -- not just because a high enrollment number is a better talking point against repeal, but because they'd already promised insurers a better mix of healthy and sick people. The signups include roughly 2 million new customers and 4.3 million renewals.

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NASCAR driver Ryan Newman hospitalized after fiery Daytona 500 crash

Ryan Newman, driver of the #6 Koch Industries Ford, crashes and flips during the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Monday. Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Racing driver Ryan Newman was hospitalized in a serious condition with non-life threatening injuries after his car crashed at the Daytona 500 on Monday, NASCAR said in a statement.

The big picture: The 42-year-old was leading the final lap of the race, won by Denny Hamlin, when his car flipped in the fiery crash. President Trump tweeted after the crash, "Praying for Ryan Newman, a great and brave @NASCARdriver!"

Go deeper: Trump takes presidential limousine for lap at Daytona 500

Bolton indicates more Ukraine details if book prevails WH "censorship"

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton on stage at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, on Monday. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton said during a talk at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina he hopes his new book is "not suppressed" by the White House, according to journalists present in the room.

This is an effort to write history and I did it the best I can. We'll have to see what comes out of the censorship."
Bolton's comments, per Bloomberg and the New York Times

There are warning signs that Nevada could be Iowa all over again

Former Sen. Harry Reid (D) lines up to cast an early vote for the upcoming Nevada Democratic presidential caucus. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The alarms are increasingly sounding over Nevada's Democratic caucus, which is just five days away.

Why it matters: Similar issues to the ones that plagued Iowa's caucus seem to be rearing their ugly heads, the WashPost reports.