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Friday, July 20, 2018

A government lawyer acknowledged Monday that the Trump administration will miss its first court-imposed deadline to reunite about 100 immigrant children under age 5 with their parents. Department of Justice attorney Sarah Fabian said during a court hearing that federal authorities reunited two families and expect to reunite an additional 59 by Tuesday’s deadline. She said the other cases are more complicated, including parents who have been deported or are in prison facing criminal charges, and would require more time to complete reunions. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, who ordered the administration to reunite families separated as part of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, said he will hold another hearing Tuesday morning to get an update on the remaining cases. He said he was encouraged to see “real progress” in the complicated reunification process after a busy weekend when officials from multiple federal agencies tried to sync up parents and children who are spread across the country. STORY FROM LENDINGTREE Crush your mortgage interest with a 15 yr fixed “Tomorrow is the deadline. I do recognize that there are some groups of parents who are going to fall into a category where it’s impossible to reunite by tomorrow,” he said. “I am very encouraged by the progress. I’m optimistic.” Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who leads a lawsuit against the federal government, sounded more skeptical. When asked by the judge if he believed the government was in full compliance of the court order, Gelernt said there was much more work to be done. “Let me put it this way: I think the government in the last 48 hours has taken significant steps,” he said. “We just don’t know how much effort the government has made to find released parents. I don’t think there’s been full compliance.” U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, based in San Diego. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, based in San Diego. (Photo: U.S. District Court) The difficulty in reuniting the first 100 children shows the challenge that lies ahead as the Trump administration braces for another deadline in two weeks to reunite nearly 3,000 older children – up to age 17 – with their parents. The process is complicated because of all the different situations that emerged over the weekend. The government initially identified 102 children under age 5 who needed to be reunited but removed three children from that list because investigations into their cases revealed that those children came with adults who were not their parents, Fabian said. Twelve parents were found to be in federal and state custody on criminal charges, making a reunification impossible since the government can’t transfer minors to state and local prisons to protect the well-being of the child. Nine parents were deported, and the government established contact with only four of them, Fabian said. Four children had been scheduled to be released from government custody to relatives who weren’t their parents, leading the government to question whether to allow that process to be completed or to redirect the child back to a parent. Gelernt said he understood many of the hurdles but urged the judge to force the government to scrap its time-consuming investigation into every single case and start a 48-hour clock to reunify families that remain separated by Tuesday. Sabraw said he would decide that during Tuesday’s hearing. Fabian said one of the silver linings of the busy weekend is that her office worked closely with its challengers at the ACLU to share information on each child’s case, to ensure that representatives from immigration advocacy groups and volunteer organizations could be present during each reunification. Gelernt said they’re doing that to help the parents, who are often released from custody with no money and nowhere to go. Fabian said that coordination has led to a more formalized process between government agencies and with the immigrants’ lawyers that should make reunifications go more smoothly in the coming weeks. “I think this process over the weekend helped us see what information, and in what form, is the most useful to share,” she said. “I’d like to make that as efficient a process as possible.” -

Monday, July 9, 2018

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Monday, July 9, 2018

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

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Friday, December 15, 2017

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Friday, December 15, 2017

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Friday, December 15, 2017

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Friday, December 15, 2017

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Friday, December 15, 2017

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

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Friday, April 14, 2017

British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia -

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Enrollments on federal and state exchanges picked up after slow start in October.

Charles Dharapak, AP

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans who selected health insurance through the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, quadrupled in November over the paltry statistics in October, according to new figures released Wednesday morning.

The rise from 26,794 enrollees through Nov. 2 to 137,204 through November came before the government said the site had been repaired on Nov. 30.

STORY: White House claims success on HealthCare.gov repairs

Through November, the Department of Health and Human Services said, 364,682 people nationwide had signed up for health insurance through either the federal or state exchanges. The state exchanges enrolled 79,391 in October and another 227,479 in November, HHS said.

Federal and state exchanges, the websites where people can buy health insurance, opened on Oct. 1 but were hampered by outages, glitches and constant slowdowns that have eroded confidence in the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s support for it. But the latest round of statistics, officials said, showed enrollment in health insurance is gaining strength.

“Today, just two months into the open enrollment, nearly 1.2 million Americans have selected a plan or have been determined eligible for Medicaid or CHIP,” the health insurance program for children, said Michael Hash, director of HHS’ Office of Health Reform.

The new HHS report shows 534,103 people were found eligible for Medicaid through the state exchanges, and 268,974 signed up through the federal exchange through Nov. 30.

Officials say the federal site can now handle 50,000 people at a time and at least 800,000 a day. The HHS report showed that 1.8 million people have completed applications for insurance but have not chosen a plan, which Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille called an encouraging sign of future growth.

The number of enrollees are expected to grow, Bataille said, as the government increases the scope of its marketing campaign. So far this week, she said, about 800,000 have visited the website.

“The HealthCare.gov website is night and day from where it was on October the 1st,” Bataille said. “It’s now easier than ever to shop for and compare coverage, whether that’s online or over the phone.”

STATE ENROLLMENTS

Results in the 14 states that run their own exchanges were mixed in November, although most saw a dramatic increase over the first month, according to the HHS report and state officials. Some states also showed a continuing boost in the first week of December. They include:

• Kentucky. Enrollment in private insurance jumped from 5,586 people on Nov. 2 to 13,145 on Nov. 30, according to the HHS report. By Dec. 5, state officials said, 15,518 Kentuckians had enrolled in private insurance, while another 56,437 new people had enrolled in Medicaid, said Carrie Banahan, executive director of the Kentucky exchange.

• Connecticut. As of Dec. 4, state officials said 14,365 people had enrolled in private insurance, and 9,075 had become eligible for Medicaid. The HHS report said that through Nov. 30, 11,631 Connecticut residents had enrolled in private insurance and 12,635 had been deemed eligible for Medicaid or CHIP.

• California. By Nov. 30, 107,087 Californians had selected a private insurance plan through the state exchange compared with 35,364 through Nov. 2, the HHS report showed.

In New York, as of Monday, 100,881 had enrolled in coverage. About 314,000 people had completed applications. New York also reported a 53% reduction in health plan rates from 2013’s individual rates.

• Colorado. Through Nov. 30, 9,980 residents had enrolled in private insurance, the HHS report said, while state officials said 64,290 people had signed up for Medicaid. The state also said 1,090 people enrolled in a private plan in one day last week.

• Hawaii. Its state exchange failed to launch on time and then suffered from glitches that caused pages to freeze and prohibited people from signing up or determining their eligibility. This week, a new executive director started after the previous director resigned Friday. As of Nov. 30, 574 Hawaiians had enrolled in a private insurance plan.

• Oregon. Its exchange has prevented residents from signing up online at all. Instead, state workers have been entering enrollment paperwork by hand. As of today, state officials said, they had enrolled 9,947 people. Of those, 730 were in a private plan and 9,219 were enrolled in Medicaid. They have received more than 65,000 applications, but processed fewer than 10,000. However, more than 100,000 total have been enrolled in Medicaid through a fast-track option.

LONG WAY TO REACH GOAL

Despite the increase in the number of people signing up for insurance, the exchanges have a long way to go to meet their goal of 7 million new insurance customers in the first year, said Alan Cohen, the chief strategy officer of Liazon, which provides health exchanges to private employees.

“They’ve been stunningly, dramatically below expectations,” Cohen said.

Before the new numbers were released, Cohen said he expected them to be “much bigger than in the past.”

“But even with 100,000 people a day, we need to get 8 million,” Cohen said. “It’s just a big, big number. The numbers coming out seem like so much more than before, but they still have to be so much more. We could almost be lulled into complacency.”

Americans have until Dec. 23 to select insurance and be covered by Jan. 1, and until March 31 to enroll in insurance and avoid paying a fine for being without health insurance.

Diversity among those buying insurance is more important than the sheer number of enrollees said Ceci Connolly, managing director of PWC’s Health Research Institute.

“Obviously you want to see good, steady enrollment day after day after day,” Connolly said. “But I will tell you that ultimately it’s less about the number of people who enroll and more about who enrolls — a good mix of age and health conditions to spread out the risk.”

The law has already changed how Americans look at health insurance, she said, citing the institute’s annual health industry study released Wednesday.

In the past, Connolly said, an employer chose a couple of plans, and then the employees chose between the two plans. That means there’s already more pricing transparency, directly because of the law.

Source: USATODAY

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