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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

The end of November has arrived, as has the Obama administration's self-imposed deadline to get HealthCare.gov working smoothly for the vast majority of users.

So how will we know if it is?

The White House's bottom line is: The site's capacity has now been doubled to handle 50,000 users at a time, up to 800,000 per day. In a briefing with reporters Tuesday, Jeff Zients, who has been tasked with overseeing the fixes, said that the administration believes that's enough capacity to meet demand.

There will be times when the site isn't working perfectly, Zients acknowledged. A senior administration official told TPM that HealthCare.gov sometimes saw as many as 250,000 users at once during its first month.

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The Obama administration is planning a soft launch for the Spanish-language version of HealthCare.gov in early December, after a two-month delay, a senior administration official told TPM Tuesday.

The site's enrollment tools will go live in the near future, and the administration plans to ask key outreach groups -- Enroll America, Planned Parenthood, Voto Latino among them -- to guide users through the process and provide feedback, the official said. It will be live for anyone to use, but, at first, the launch won't be widely advertised. Instead, the administration is hoping to identify any problems with the site's performance by testing it with select organizations and their constituents.

The administration was forced to delay enrollment on the Spanish-language website, which currently offers only informational materials, shortly before HealthCare.gov launched on Oct. 1. The enrollment tools were initially expected to go live in mid-October, but were then effectively delayed indefinitely after that deadline passed.

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Despite the supposed efforts of Senate Democrats and the White House to change the subject -- first through a historic change to the Senate's filibuster rules and then by reaching a tentative deal with Iran on its nuclear program -- Republicans have pledged to keep the country focused on the disastrous rollout of Obamacare.

It's a trainwreck. The president broke his promises. Democrats are running away from it.

No distraction will deter them -- and they've got a plan. As the New York Times reported last week, the House GOP has a detailed blueprint for how its members should be messaging about the health care reform law. It encourages a focus on broken promises and anecdotes of the law's negative impact. And, by and large, the GOP is operating by that playbook: highlighting national and local new reports of Obamacare problems, pushing accounts from people deemed losers under the new law, and trumpeting the troubles of HealthCare.gov.

The White House and Democrats have their own messaging push, too, including conference calls with reporters nearly every weekday. But for those who don't receive press releases day in and day out from the GOP, it might be hard to appreciate how relentless their messaging push has been. Here is a sampling of what's flowed into our inbox in just the last week (except for one particularly good example), culled from House and Senate Republican offices, as well as the Republican National Committee.

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The Obama administration has proposed a plan to adjust payments to health insurers to lower their risk under Obamacare, according to Reuters, a result of the administration's plan to let people keep their current health insurance for up to one additional year.

The health care reform law set up a program for the federal government to make payments to insurers if they end up losing more money than expected on new customers, some of whom may have high medical costs.

The current threshold for those so-called "risk payments" is $60,000 in medical claims per person, at which point the government starts paying 80 percent of the costs. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has now proposed lowering it to $45,000.

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The Obama administration is quietly asking health care advocacy groups not to send a flood of consumers to HealthCare.gov next week, pushing instead for a more phased approach that won't overwhelm the website that the administration has pledged would be fully functional by Dec. 1.

The message is being communicated in private meetings, including one held Monday, a senior administration official told TPM. Groups like Enroll America and Planned Parenthood, which are among the leading organizations that are helping people sign up for coverage under Obamacare, are some of those to be targeted.

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Nobody has been watching Obamacare's rollout like former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), the man who was supposed to oversee the largest transformation of the American health care system in a generation.

But errors on his tax returns torpedoed Daschle's nomination as President Obama's first secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. After Daschle withdrew from consideration, Kathleen Sebelius was confirmed in his place, leaving Daschle to observe the Affordable Care Act's drafting and implementation from the sidelines. Dashcle is currently a senior policy advisor in the government affairs practice at DLA Piper in Washington, where he advises clients on a range of issues, including health care.

So what does he think of the problematic launch of HealthCare.gov and the backlash over President Obama's "keep your health plan" promise?

In an interview Friday with TPM, Daschle gave his bottom-line assessment: The administration is doing the best it can now, but things could have been handled better. The full conversation is below, condensed and edited for clarity.

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The executive director of Hawaii's Obamacare health insurance marketplace will resign on Dec. 6, the first marketplace director in the country to step down since the marketplaces went live on Oct. 1.

The marketplace announced the resignation of Coral Andrews, the current executive director, on Friday. She will be replaced by Tom Matsuda, who has been overseeing Obamacare implementation for Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D).

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Updated 2:34 p.m. ET

The Obama administration will extend the deadline for people to sign up for health coverage that starts on Jan. 1, 2014, from Dec. 15, 2013, to Dec. 23, 2013, officials announced Friday.

After HealthCare.gov's troubled rollout, the change give people more time to sign up for coverage that starts at the beginning of 2014.

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The Obama administration will postpone the start of Obamacare enrollment for 2015 coverage from Oct. 15, 2014, to Nov. 15, 2014, a Department of Health and Human Services official confirmed to TPM.

The move was first reported by Bloomberg, which portrayed the postponement as giving insurers more time to set their rates for next year. The official told TPM that the 2015 rate filing deadline for insurers, which is currently the end of April 2014, would be moved to the end of May.

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