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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

An additional 3 million people are now enrolled in Medicaid since Obamacare launched in October, the Obama administration reported Friday, providing some further data points for understanding how the law is covering the uninsured.

Medicaid enrollment had become a point of contention between the law's supporters and critics. The administration had taken credit for any and every one who enrolled in Medicaid since Oct. 1, regardless of whether they were already enrolled in Medicaid before Obamacare kicked in. Some journalists, and conservatives, called those administration figures into question, making the point that Obamacare shouldn't received the credit for people who were already in the program.

But until now, it was difficult to ascertain what percentage of Medicaid enrollments were new and what percentage were renewals.

Friday's figures are the official first attempt by the administration to quantify how many new enrollees could be attributed to Obamacare. Compared to enrollment in September, Medicaid had added 3 million enrollees by the end of February. That number would combine people covered under the law's Medicaid expansion, as well as those who were previously eligible but had not enrolled.

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The White House reportedly wanted to put President Barack Obama on primetime television Tuesday to tout Obamacare's 7 million enrollees -- but network TV officials denied him the airtime.

BuzzFeed had the scoop, citing three sources with knowledge of the request. Details of the request are unclear from the report, but it appears that the White House was seeking primetime space on broadcast TV networks.

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House Republicans passed another Obamacare repeal bill Thursday, this one indirectly aimed at the law's employer mandate -- but, following in the footsteps of almost all of the other repeal bills that came before it, this is likely the end of the line for the proposal.

The bill passed 248 to 179. But the Senate looks unlikely to take up the bill, and even if it somehow cleared through the upper chamber, the White House has pledged to veto it.

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The claim that the Congressional Budget Office had estimated that Obamacare would cost 2.5 million jobs was thoroughly debunked in February -- but that hasn't stopped conservative groups from trotting it out in attacks on Democratic members of Congress.

The Libre Initiative, a conservative Hispanic group, announced a new ad Thursday hitting Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), who is seeking re-election, for her support of the health care reform law -- and it features the 2.5 million figure.

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One poll has found that Obamacare has actually surpassed its namesake in popularity.

The NPR poll released Thursday found that 47 percent of Americans support Obamacare, and 51 percent oppose it. Approval for President Obama himself, on the other hand, sits at 46 percent with 51 percent disapproval.

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Former Obama White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday that he believed Obamacare's employer mandate would eventually be repealed.

BenefitsPro.com flagged Gibbs's comments, made during a speech at an employee benefits expo in Colorado Springs.

“I don’t think the employer mandate will go into effect," he said. "It’s a small part of the law. I think it will be one of the first things to go."

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House Republicans will vote on Thursday to repeal yet another piece of Obamacare: the provision that sets 30 hours as the threshold for defining full-time employees, raising it to 40 hours. A company's compliance with the law's employer mandate depends on its number of full-time employees, so fewer full-time workers would presumably lighten the mandate's load on businesses.

If that seems like small potatoes for the party after its leaders continued to advocate for full repeal this week, here's why: The Obama administration has outmaneuvered Republicans on Obamacare, and the opposition party doesn't have many options left in its quest to roll back any part of the law. The administration already made unilateral alterations to unpopular pieces of the law, drawing bewildered reactions even from supporters.

But by making changes itself, the White House hasn't let the GOP get in on the game, despite the party's unending stream of anti-Obamacare bills -- therefore denying Republicans the opportunity to extract the high-profile pound of flesh from the law that they've been seeking for years.

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A lot has changed for Obamacare since October. From 100,000 enrollees to more than 7 million. From record-low public support to record-high in at least one poll. From President Barack Obama being publicly humbled for a botched rollout to his admonishing the GOP on Tuesday for their obsession with repeal.

But one thing hasn't changed: In their own reality, conservative politicians and their allies at Fox News are convinced, all evidence to the contrary, that the law is an unmitigated disaster.

Seven million enrollees isn't a guarantee of Obamacare's eventual success anymore than HealthCare.gov's disastrous launch was a sure sign of its failure. But, as both parties struggle to steer the narrative about the law going forward, let's revisit how conservatives portrayed the latter -- and examine how little their tune has change even as the facts on the ground have.

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