Daily Dispatches
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Associated Press/Photo by Al Behrman
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Midday Roundup: Sebelius clings to job despite botched exchange rollout


Exchange fiasco. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she has no intention of resigning her post, despite calls from Republicans and some Democrats following the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare exchanges. People close to her say she’s focused on fixing the problem, and the White House claims she has the president’s full confidence. But now that the media’s no longer focused on the partial government shutdown and the debt ceiling fight, stories of failed enrollments and inoperable websites could erode the administration’s optimism. “I am the first to admit that the launch was rockier than we would have liked,” Sebelius said earlier this week, insisting that after two weeks the system has seen vast improvements. But on Wednesday, would-be insurance shoppers said they still couldn’t log on, according to The New York Times. The administration has yet to release numbers on how many people have signed up for healthcare coverage, but an independent market research team tracking it estimates only 83,000 of the 564,000 who made the attempt actually walked away with a policy.

Final blow. The Kansas Supreme Court voted unanimously this morning to strip former state Attorney General Phill Kline of his law license, citing “clear and convincing evidence” of professional misconduct. Kline’s fight with the state’s legal and political establishment started in 2003 when he began investigating Planned Parenthood and late-term abortionist George Tiller. Kline discovered they regularly performed abortions on girls younger than 15 but reported only one of 166 cases during 18 months to the authorities as child rape. Despite mounting evidence and eventual misdemeanor and felony charges filed against the abortion providers, state officials attacked Kline personally, politically, and professionally. Kline now teaches law at Liberty University. (Read more of WORLD’s coverage of the Kline case here.)

Bodies recovered. Kenyan officials say two charred bodies pulled yesterday from the rubble of the Westgate Mall likely belong to two of the attackers killed in a four-day firefight with the country’s security forces almost a month ago. Newly released graphic security camera footage shows four militants affiliated with Somali-based al-Shabaab walking through the mall shooting victims. Sixty-one people died in the attack. Kenyan security forces initially estimated as many as 15 attackers might have been involved but recently revised that number to just six. Norwegian officials suspect but have not confirmed that one of the bodies found this week belongs to Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow, a 23-year-old Norwegian citizen of Somali origin.

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Back to the picket lines. Transit workers in San Francisco went on strike late last night, stranding about 400,000 commuters who use the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system to get to work. BART employees are fighting for better salaries, healthcare plans, and pensions. According to the transit authority, workers average about $71,000 in base salary and $11,000 in annual overtime. They pay a flat $92 monthly fee for health insurance. This is the second time this year the union members have resorted to a strike. BART General Manager Grace Crunican said the transit authority can’t agree to something it can’t afford.

Leigh Jones
Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the managing editor of WORLD's website.


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