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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

Three million Americans have now enrolled in private coverage through Obamacare, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Friday, reflecting a continued increase in sign-ups through the health care reform law.

Sebelius announced the new enrollment number during her remarks in Jacksonville, Fla., and they were reported by Bloomberg's Alex Wayne on Twitter. An administration official confirmed the figure to TPM.

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The U.S. uninsured rate tumbled more than a percentage point from December 2013 to January 2014, according to a new Gallup poll, indicating that millions of Americans became covered at the same time that Obamacare coverage took full effect this month.

The percentage of uninsured Americans fell from 17.3 percent in December to 16.1 percent in January, Gallup found. Among different subsets, the biggest drop was among the unemployed: 6.7 percent.

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Can Coloradans purchase their new-fangled recreational marijuana with food stamps?

The Associated Press calls it "an urban myth." The U.S. Department of Agriculture's guidance appears pretty explicit in forbidding anything like the procurement of narcotics, even legal ones, with government benefits. But Fox News is still sounding the siren that taxpayer dollars could be paying for people to smoke up.

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2013 hasn't exactly been a banner year for the Heritage Foundation, Washington's most well-known and influential conservative think tank.

In its first year under former senator and tea party godfather Jim DeMint, there was a growing consensus -- and concern -- that the foundation once renowned for its intellectual rigor might now be more of a political advocacy outlet than a home for scholarly research, albeit of the conservative variety.

Heritage saw a study on the supposed cost of immigration reform blasted by those within its own ideological sphere as methodologically shoddy. One of its authors was forced to resign after revelations of anti-immigrant views in his earlier work surfaced. Its Obamacare research has come under scrutiny for its inherent bias, as TPM has reported.

Those unforced slip-ups, and its advocacy arm's growing reputation as a bully toward any kind of moderation, have started to call the foundation's reputation into question on Capitol Hill. Conservatives lamented to the New Republic that Heritage had become a political action group "with a research division," burning bridges with the House GOP, something totally foreign to "the gold standard of conservative, forward-looking thought" that it used to be. The foundation's $82 million budget was reportedly being scaled back, with more money flowing to the advocacy efforts that have so chafed Hill Republicans.

That's why Heritage's most recent hire could mark a potential return to normalcy and respectability for the foundation.

The new man is Stephen Moore, most recently of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, who is joining Heritage as its chief economist. He has previously worked at Heritage in the 1980's, the Cato Institute, and Club for Growth before spending the last nine years at the Journal.

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Some 6.3 million people have enrolled in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program since Oct. 1, when HealthCare.gov and its state counterparts went live, according to a new report from the Obama administration. The report covers Medicaid enrollments through the end of December.

That figures includes people who are newly eligible for Medicaid because their state expanded the program under the health care reform law, people who were already eligible but not enrolled and, in some states, people who were renewing their eligibility.

Thirteen states included renewals in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report, though their exact number out of the 6.3 million could not be determined.

States that expanded Medicaid saw a boom in enrollments in December, corresponding with a similar surge in private coverage enrollees through the insurance marketplaces. Medicaid enrollments were up 73 percent in those states last month compared to the pre-Obamacare monthly average. In states that didn't expand Medicaid, enrollment was up 3 percent in December.

The U.S. Secret Service paid a visit to the Florida state House candidate who advocated for President Barack Obama's execution on Twitter.

Joshua Black, a Republican who is running in Florida House District 68, told the Tampa Bay Times that Secret Service agents had come to his home following the uproar over his comments.

"I'm past impeachment. It's time to arrest him and hang him high," read a message on Black's campaign Twitter page Monday.

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Bill Gates told BuzzFeed Tuesday that he voted in favor of marijuana legalization last year in Washington state.

The Microsoft founder said it would be "interesting" to see how legalization played out in his home state. Recreational pot is expected to be for sale some time in 2014.

“It’s an experiment, and it’s probably good to have a couple states try it out to see before you make that national policy,” Gates told BuzzFeed. The marijuana ballot initiative passed 56 percent to 44 percent last November.

He declined to say whether he had smoked pot in the past, though BuzzFeed noted that he is listed by the Marijuana Policy Project as one of the top 50 most influential pot users based on reporting in a Gates biography published in 1994.

A Republican candidate for a Florida state House seat said Monday that President Barack Obama should be executed for war crimes, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

"I'm past impeachment. It's time to arrest him and hang him high," read a tweet that Joshua Black, whose website said he formerly practiced street evangelism in St. Louis, Mo., retweeted. Black, who is African-American, added: "Agreed."

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December was the month that Obamacare desperately needed.

Spurred by the approaching deadline to sign up for coverage that started in January, Americans finally showed up to HealthCare.gov and its state-based counterparts in droves -- and for the most part those websites were finally able to accommodate them. About 1.8 million people signed up in December alone, about five times the total enrollment in October and November combined.

With such a significant surge, some states are starting to make serious progress toward covering their uninsured population.

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