Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the top Republican on the committee that oversees the Department of Health and Human Services, said Tuesday that President Obama should ask Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign over HealthCare.gov's troubled rollout.

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The health insurance industry is planning to warn members of Congress that extending Obamacare's open enrollment period, which a group of Democratic senators have begun to urge the White House to do, could have a disastrous effects on insurance premiums.

The proposal to extend the open enrollment period, which has been endorsed by 10 Democratic senators, is a reaction to the well-documented problems with HealthCare.gov in its opening month. With many people having trouble applying for insurance through the website, and the administration setting a Nov. 30 deadline for the site to be fully functional, the senators say people need more time to sign up for coverage. The enrollment period is scheduled to end March 31. The senators haven't asked for a specific new end date yet.

But expect to start hearing a significant amount of pushback from the industry, with a message focused on the fact that insurance premiums could skyrocket in 2015 if the enrollment period is extended.

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Nearly half of young Americans eligible to buy insurance on HealthCare.gov could pay $50 or less a month for coverage, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a report released Monday. HHS is touting the affordability of insurance on the exchanges in part because young adults are crucial to making the health care reform law's finances work. 

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Federal officials told reporters Monday that two problemtic pieces of HealthCare.gov had been fixed in recent days.

The issues were, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille:

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Kentucky did it right. The state's online health insurance marketplace has become Obamacare's city on a hill while the federal HealthCare.gov has been flummoxed by a month of glitches and bad press. Whatever the federal website seems to have failed to do to ensure its success on the Oct. 1 launch, Kentucky did.

Kentucky, with its deeply conservative congressional delegation, might seem like an unlikely place for Obamacare to find success. But Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear saw the law -- and a state-built marketplace -- as an opportunity to help put the state on a path to greater health.

His state routinely ranks toward the bottom in overall health, and better health coverage is one step toward reversing that norm, he said.

"For us to make a transformational difference, we needed to do something game-changing." Beshear told TPM in an interview. "The (Affordable Care Act) provided us a tool to do that. It's succeeded so far beyond our wildest dreams."

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Federal officials said Friday that HealthCare.gov would be working smoothly for the vast majority of users by the end of November.

Jeff Zients, a top White House adviser who was brought in to lead the "tech surge" to assess the site's problems and fix them, announced the timeline on a conference call with reporters.

"The top-line result is that the HealthCare.gov site is fixable," Zients said. "But it'll take a lot of work."

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