Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

3 Million Enroll in Obamacare

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

3 Million Enroll in Obamacare

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- About 800,000 people signed up for private health plans through Obamacare in January, pushing total enrollment to 3 million as negative perceptions about the program give way to more practical needs.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, touted the January figures in a speech Friday in Jacksonville, Fla., which add to the 2.2 million who enrolled from Oct. 1 through December.

The agency said it expected the numbers to grow.

The acceleration may indicate increased familiarity and interest in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act among people who previously had heard only of its problems, said Ron Pollack, executive director of the advocacy group Families USA. Public opinion about Obamacare plunged after the Oct. 1 debut of the insurance exchanges greeted consumers with website breakdowns, higher prices and potentially broken promises.

McDonnell pleads not guilty

RICHMOND -- Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, once a rising star in the national Republican Party, pleaded not guilty to federal charges he used his office to help a businessman in exchange for more than $165,000 in loans and gifts.

Mr. McDonnell, whose term ended Jan. 11, and his wife, Maureen, were allowed to remain free without bail while awaiting trial after appearing today in Richmond federal court. Both were ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge David Novak to surrender their passports. They face as long as 30 years in prison if convicted on the most serious counts.

The trial, on a grand jury indictment for fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding, was set for July 28.

Port won't pick up legal tab

NEW YORK -- The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it won't pay the legal bills of a former executive accused of restricting access to the George Washington Bridge as political payback.

Traffic lane closures created days of gridlock in Fort Lee, N.J., whose Democratic mayor didn't endorse Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman says the agency informed David Wildstein on Friday that covering his legal expenses wasn't warranted under its bylaws. …

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