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

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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Ten Senate Democrats have signed a letter urging the Obama administration to extend Obamacare's open enrollment period beyond March 31.

The letter, which follows a similar letter that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent Tuesday to President Obama, doesn't say how long the extension should be. It is addressed to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The signatories are: Shaheen, Mark Begich (D-AK), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mark Udall (D-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

Administration officials have told TPM that they are not actively considering an enrollment extension, though the administration is planning to move the enrollment deadline for avoiding the individual mandate penalty -- currently Feb. 15 -- to March 31.

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Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) has added her name to the growing list of Democratic senators who support extending Obamacare's open enrollment period beyond March 31.

Hagan said in a Thursday statement that she supports a two-month extension. She also wants the law's individual mandate penalty waived for those two months.

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Federal officials acknowledged Thursday that HealthCare.gov wasn't tested enough in the time leading up to its Oct. 1 launch, shortly after software contractors told a House committee that they would have preferred to have more time for testing.

"Obviously, due to a compressed time frame, the system wasn't tested enough," Julia Bataille, spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters in a conference call. "We're putting in place a much more robust testing system now."

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