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

With House Republicans and media figures alike berating President Obama for failing to fulfill a promise made four years ago, the president tried to set the record straight during a Wednesday rally in Boston.

"This has been the latest flurry in the news because there's been a lot of confusion and misinformation," Obama said. "I want to explain just what's going on."

"Anyone peddling the notion that insurers are canceling peoples' plan without mentioning that almost all the insurers are encouraging people to join better plans with the same carrier and stronger benefits and stronger protections while others will be able to get better plans with new carriers through the marketplace and that many will get new help to pay for these better plans and make them actually cheaper," he said. "If you leave that stuff out, you're being grossly misleading, to say the least."

NBC News produced what they billed (and Republicans seized on) as a blockbuster report this week: The administration has known for years that what Obama promised Americans in 2009 -- "If you like your health plan, you can keep it" -- wasn't exactly true.

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In a rally Wednesday at Boston's Faneuil Hall to promote Obamacare, President Obama singled out two states he lost in the 2012 election -- Arkansas and Kentucky -- for their efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act.

"Keep in mind, I did not win in Kentucky. But there are a lot of uninsured people in Kentucky and they're signing up," Obama said while touting the law in Boston. "Arkansas, I didn't win that state either. Covered almost 1 percent of its uninsured already. That's already happened."

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If it wasn't already quite clear, House Republicans removed any doubt at Wednesday's hearing with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about whether they are actually interested in fixing HealthCare.gov after its troubled rollout.

They aren't. They're looking for any and all means to continue their fight to stop Obamacare.

That's why they spent as much time at Wednesday's hearing grilling Sebelius about President Obama's promise that Americans who like their health plan can keep it as they did inquiring about the problems with the website -- even though the latter was ostensibly the hearing's purpose.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius indicated Wednesday that the Obama administration will not extend Obamacare's open enrollment period because of HealthCare.gov's troubled rollout.

"At this point, congressman, they will have a full four months," Sebelius said at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing. "The open enrollment period is extraordinarily long. It's about six times as long as a typical generous open enrollment period. And it's important for the insurance partners to know who is in their pool so again they can stay in the market next year and know who they are insuring."

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The first question Wednesday that House Republicans asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about HealthCare.gov's troubled rollout focused on President Obama's promise: "If you like your health plan, you can keep it."

House Energy and Commerce Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) pressed Sebelius on why the president had made that statement, given recent reports of individual policies being dropped prior to 2014, which is when the law's major market reforms take effect.

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With HealthCare.gov's problems piling up last week, a small coalition of Democratic senators formally urged the Obama administration to extend the deadline for enrolling in a health plan beyond March 31, 2014, which is when the enrollment period ends now. They said that, given the website's problems, an extension only makes sense. People should be given enough time to sign up for coverage.

The insurance industry is lobbying senators to give up that fight, saying that it would be bad actuarial policy. But there's another, more nakedly political element to the pitch: New higher rates for 2015 would become public right before the 2014 elections.

In other words, the message to lawmakers behind closed doors is: Be careful what you wish for.

Industry sources told TPM that those electoral considerations would be communicated to lawmakers in the coming weeks, though they declined to go on the record to talk about it.

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