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

Health insurance companies will give people who have purchased a health plan through HealthCare.gov and its state counterparts until Jan. 10 to pay their first premium for coverage that starts on Jan. 1.

The extension gives consumers an additional 10 days to pay their first premiums and still have coverage with an effective date of Jan. 1.

America's Health Insurance Plans, the insurance industry's lobbying group, announced Wednesday that its members would voluntarily offer the extension. The Obama administration had previously asked insurers to consider offering an extension beyond the current Dec. 31 deadline to ensure that people's coverage would start on time despite problems with HealthCare.gov.

“Our community is taking an important step to give consumers greater peace of mind about their health care coverage,” AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said in a statement.

AHIP also said in the release that while there have been improvements to HealthCare.gov's back-end, more work needed to be done to prevent insurers from receiving missing or incomplete enrollment information.

Asked to explain a Republican alternative to Obamacare in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) managed to contradict himself within a span of about 90 seconds.

Wenstrup began by describing the House Republican Study Committee's bill, which he co-sponsored. That bill would give people tax deductions to purchase health insurance on their own rather than relying on employer-provider coverage, which accounts for the largest share of the market (48 percent). It also lacks support from House GOP leadership, which hasn't allowed it to come to a vote.

"We would like individuals to be able to get a tax deduction by purchasing insurance on their own," Wenstrup said. "That way it gives them much more portability. They can go from job to job and keep their insurance."

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Three Republican senators introduced a bill Wednesday that would require the Obama administration to disclosure 2015 health insurance prices under Obamacare prior to the 2014 election.

It's a direct counterpoint to the administration's decision last month to postpone the next Obamacare open enrollment period until after the election -- which has the side effect of preventing people from seeing their new 2015 premiums until after they've cast their votes. Republicans immediately criticized the move as a political ploy.

Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and John Barrasso (R-WY) would aim to reverse the delay by requiring that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services release premium cost information in mid-October -- one month before open enrollment is now scheduled to begin.

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Last week, with two high-profile acquisitions, a conservative media company catapulted itself from successful but largely below-the-radar company to a player with a portfolio that could make it the next news empire on the right.

Salem Communications, which got its start in the 1980s in talk radio, formally announced its purchase of Twitchy, the conservative social media tracker founded and run by Michelle Malkin. It also reportedly finalized a deal to acquire Red State, best known for the punditry of its editor-in-chief Erick Erickson, and several affiliated properties in January. Both moves were first reported by BuzzFeed. (Politico had earlier reported that Salem was "in talks" to make the purchase).

The acquisitions marry RedState -- inextricably linked to its editor-in-chief, who has said, among other things, that female breadwinners are antithetical to nature -- and Twitchy, which trolls Twitter for viral fodder like #MeninistTwitter, with Salem and its vast radio empire that includes the official radio program of the United States Concealed Carry Association.

In the insular world of conservative media, those are a pair of mammoth additions in less than a week. And in the eyes of Salem's competitors, it could spark an arms race of acquisitions. The kind of media ownership consolidation that some on the right decry in the mainstream media seems to be now seeping into their world as well. Small scrappy start-ups are suddenly being swallowed up by more established corporations with a lot of money to spend.

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A top Microsoft executive is set to take over as head of HealthCare.gov, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Tuesday.

Kurt DelBene, currently head of the Microsoft Office division, will succeed Jeff Zients, who President Obama tapped following the website's disastrous launch. He will start Wednesday.

DelBene will officially be a senior advisor to Sebelius and work alongside Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Marilyn Tavenner, Sebelius wrote in a blog post. He has agreed to serve in the position for at least the first half of 2014.

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The man tasked with overseeing HealthCare.gov's fix is delaying his long-planned move to the White House by one month, an administration official told TPM.

Jeff Zients, who will take over as the director of the White House National Economic Council, will delay assuming that post by about a month. He was originally supposed to start at the beginning of the new year. The delay was first reported by the New York Times.

Gene Sperling, the current director, will remain in his post until that time, according to the official.

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Americans who won't be covered by Medicaid under Obamacare because of Republican opposition are disproportionally black or Hispanic and Southern, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The non-partisan foundation broke down the demographics of the nearly 5 million people who fall in the coverage gap in 25 non-expanding states (making too much money to qualify for the state's current Medicaid program but not enough to qualify for financial assistance to purchase private insurance under the Affordable Care Act).

Nearly eight in 10 (79 percent) live in the South. Blacks (27 percent) and Hispanics (21 percent) combined totaled more than whites (47 percent) in the gap.

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Among their many anti-Obamacare gambits during the government shutdown debacle, House Republicans voted to strip federal employer contributions for health insurance from themselves and their staffs.

It was a problem of their own making. A GOP-pushed amendment to the Affordable Care Act had required members of Congress and their staffs to purchase health coverage through the law's health insurance marketplace. Later, after outcry from staffers who were facing what amounted to a significant pay cut, the federal Office of Personnel Management said that they could still use the employer contribution from the federal government to help pay for it.

The GOP said that wasn't fair. So they voted on Sept. 30, on the eve of shutdown, to fund the government but prevent themselves and their staffs from using that employer contribution -- the so-called Vitter amendment, named for Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who pushed the policy. It passed with 228 votes (nine Democrats joined 219 Republicans).

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"60 Minutes" received another round of criticism Sunday for what critics called soft coverage of the National Security Agency -- and the next morning, the host of that segment was reported to be taking a job in intelligence or counterterrorism.

The news program was given "unprecedented access" to the agency and its employees, said host John Miller at the outset of the report -- where he did note that he had formerly worked in the office of the Director of National Intelligence.

But the Daily Beast and Huffington Post have reported in recent days that Miller was under consideration for a job at the NYPD in an intelligence or counterterrorism role. On Monday, the New York Post's Page Six reported that Miller was on the verge of taking such a job.

Miller, who had previously worked for new NYPD chief Bill Bratton in New York as a spokesperson and Los Angeles as counterterrorism chief, did not mention any pending career move during the segment. A spokesperson for "60 Minutes" did not immediately return TPM's requests for comment.

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Insurance companies plan to spend a combined $500 million in local television advertising in 2014, according to the Washington Post -- more than double what they spent in 2012.

There is one obvious culprit: Obamacare.

Insurers look at these next few years as a gold rush. Tens of millions of people will be buying private insurance of the exchanges. It's a swarm of customers like nothing they've ever seen. And they plan to capture them — even if they need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to do so.

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