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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

A Homeland Security official said Wednesday that the Obama administration is aware of one attempted cyberattack aimed at shutting down HealthCare.gov.

Roberta Stempfley, a Homeland Security acting assistant secretary, told the House Committee on Homeland Security that the attack, known as a "denial-of-service attack," had been unsuccessful.

"We are aware of one open-source action attempting to perpetrate a denial-of-service attack against the HealthCare.gov site that has been unsuccessful," she said.

"So there has been a denial-of-service attack on HealthCare.gov?" Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) asked.

"There was the attempt of one, but it has not been successful," Stempfley said.

"And, of course, a denial-of-service attack has the ability to shut down websites," McCaul said.

"The goal of a denial-of-service attack, sir, would, yes, be to deny the access to that information," Stempfley said.

The exchange is below.

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A senior Democratic aide told the Washington Post's Greg Sargent that without an administrative fix for people who are losing their existing individual health insurance policies -- which the White House is reportedly searching for -- it will be hard to maintain Democratic opposition to a House GOP bill that would seek to solve the problem.

The House is expected to vote Friday on a bill from Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) titled the "Keep Your Health Plan Act." House Democratic leadership has said it would oppose the bill, but, as some Senate Democrats proposed their own fix, the aide told the Washington Post that it might be hard for the House Democratic caucus to hold the line as public pressure to find a fix mounts.

The aide portrayed the endorsement by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) of a similar bill from Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) as making it more difficult for House Democrats to oppose the Upton bill.

“Now that Feinstein has broken off, that makes it even more important that House Democrats stay together as much as possible -- to keep Senate Ds from caving,” the aide told the Post. But the aide adds, in a reference to this week’s House action: ”We need an administrative fix that works before the vote.”

The Obama administration started Monday to reach out to HealthCare.gov users who were stymied by the website's problems during its early days, asking them to come back and start over the process.

The administration will email approximately 275,000 users who got "stuck" during the account creation process, Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters. The email will be sent in waves, with the first one going out Monday.

The email will "invite individuals back into the system and tell them that their experience will be a positive one," Bataille said.

According to CMS, the agency has been conducting "monitoring and analysis activities ... to identify consumers who may have been unsuccessful in creating accounts through some of the technical inconsistencies." Those are the people who will be receiving emails this week.

In a blog post published Monday, Bataille explained that users were experiencing fewer problems with the account creation step -- which had been a significant roadblock during the website's troubled launch.

"Our ongoing monitoring shows that the system is stable with users moving more quickly through it with fewer errors," she wrote.

Obamacare needs young and healthy people to sign up for health insurance for its finances to work, and its opponents know it. That's why groups like the Koch brothers-backed Generation Opportunity, which was behind the infamous videos with 'Creepy Uncle Sam,' have sprung up and urged young Americans to opt out of the law.

Step one of their master plan was that video series, an attempt to go viral. The next step, it seems, is going to where the young people are: Tailgating at college football games.

As Yahoo! News reported, Generation Opportunity teamed up with College Republicans to throw an anti-Obamacare party outside the University of Miami's game this Saturday against Virginia Tech.

So, as documented on the group's Facebook and Twitter pages, this is what the war against Obamacare looks like if you're an inebriated twentysomething.

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President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that President Obama should do whatever it takes to fulfill his pledge that if Americans like their current health plan, they can keep it under Obamacare.

In an interview with OZY, Clinton said he had been talking to a young American with a family who had had his old health plan canceled and seen his premiums increase when it was replaced with an Obamacare-compliant plan. Clinton said the man said some of his benefits were better -- his co-pays and deductibles are lower -- but because he's young and healthy, that might not end up helping him or his family much.

It's those people -- young, healthy and affluent -- who took Obama's pledge to heart, Clinton said, and the administration should do what it takes to make things right with them.

"I personally believe, even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got," Clinton said.

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This week, the Obama administration will release its first official data on how many people have enrolled in health insurance under Obamacare.

The figures are highly anticipated. Reporters and members of Congress have been seeking them doggedly, only to be shut down by administration officials. It will be the first official check-up on how the health reform law is doing in actually getting people to sign up for its product.

If nothing else, we'll likely get a top-line number: Here are the number of people who have enrolled in coverage in the first month. That will tell us something, but how much can really be learned depends on how much additional information the administration releases.

Policy wonks aren't particularly optimistic that there will be much to glean from this week's data dump. So here's a useful way of thinking about the numbers.

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Between 40,000 and 50,000 people have enrolled in health insurance through HealthCare.gov as of last week, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The Obama administration is expected to release official enrollment data this week.

Citing "two people familiar with the matter," the newspaper reported that "private health plans have received enrollment data for between 40,000 and 50,000 federal marketplace customers."

HealthCare.gov serves more than 30 states. Earlier Monday, an independent analysis had concluded that about 50,000 people have enrolled so far through state-run marketplaces, which operate in 14 states and Washington, D.C.

The Obama administration had set a pre-launch goal of 500,000 October enrollments.

Nearly 50,000 people have enrolled in health insurance through state-run insurance marketplaces set up under Obamacare, according to a new analysis, one of the few early glimpses into how many people have signed up for coverage under Obamacare.

The federal government is expected to release enrollment data for HealthCare.gov, which serves more than 30 states, later this week.

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In an interview with NBC News last week, President Barack Obama apologized to Americans that his "If you like your health plan, you can keep it" pledge had not been kept and people's health insurance policies were in fact being canceled.

"I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," Obama said. "We've got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this."

But that apology came with a few asterisks. For starters, Obama implied that this wasn't supposed to happen, that these canceled plans were some bug in the implementation of the law that his administration hadn't intended.

"First of all, I meant what I said. And we worked hard to try to make sure that we implemented it properly. But obviously, we didn't do a good enough job, and I regret that," he said. "Obviously, we didn't do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law. That's something that I regret. That's something that we're going to do everything we can to get fixed."

That struck health policy experts, even those supportive of the law, as an odd thing for the president to say. Obamacare was designed to disrupt the individual market, where medical underwriting had led to discrimination and high prices for a lot of people. The way that the law tried to correct some of those flaws was requiring comprehensive coverage, mandating that insurers cover everybody and effectively combining all of the market's participants into one big risk pool.

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The Obama administration is reportedly considering expanding the subsidies available to buy health insurance policies under Obamacare as a means of helping people who have recently seen their plans canceled or premiums increased.

The Huffington Post reported Friday that the proposed fix would assist people who must replace their existing plans with a new Obamacare plan but whose income (400 percent of the federal poverty level and above) is too high to qualify for financial assistance under the law. An official told Huffington Post that the White House is "looking at an administrative fix for the population of people in the individual market who may have an increase in premiums, but don’t get subsidies.”

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