OVERNIGHT HEALTH: GOP launches inquiries into botched ObamaCare rollout

The Obama administration insists that the enrollment system is under constant improvement, and reminds users that they have six months to purchase their new health plans. But the rollout debacle is likely to yield more fodder for GOP attacks on the healthcare law at a time when ObamaCare is receding as an issue (see below) in broader fiscal talks with the White House.

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Healthwatch has the rest on the investigations.

51,000? The Daily Mail reported Thursday that 51,000 people had signed up for insurance through healthcare.gov in the site's first week. These are not official numbers — the administration has kept a tight lid on its enrollment figures, and The Daily Mail's report was not confirmed. The report is online here.

Inmate enrollment: GOP leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are concerned that the Medicaid expansion could extend coverage to millions of jail inmates if they decide to enroll. The lawmakers asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate. Read their letter here.  

Initial polling on the exchanges ... does not look good. According to an AP-GfK survey released Thursday, only one in 10 users were able to successfully purchase health coverage in the marketplaces' first week. Another 40 percent said the rollout did not go well, 20 percent said it went somewhat well and 30 percent did not know. Healthwatch has the story.

Off the table: Defunding ObamaCare — the idea that started the government shutdown — is now "off the table" in talks to reopen the federal government, Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday.

Lankford said, however, that Republicans are still pushing for a one-year delay in the law's individual mandate. The House has passed, and the Senate has rejected, bills to reopen the government in exchange for both defunding and delaying ObamaCare. Here's CNN's report.

Big players: ObamaCare contractors include some of Washington's biggest private-sector players, according to a new analysis from the Sunlight Foundation. Read more about it at Healthwatch.

'Catastrophe': Two liberal House Democrats are warning that a recent salmonella outbreak is a sign of a coming “catastrophe” that could make some food-borne illnesses nearly impossible to prevent. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday said that increasing amounts of antibiotics fed to livestock and chickens are producing drug-resistant strains of bacteria, making outbreaks harder to contain.

Slaughter has long pushed for legislation to limit the amount of antibiotics given to animals in food production. RegWatch has the story.


Friday's schedule

Barbara Bush, daughter of former President George W. Bush, will speak Friday at an event on global health sponsored by The Atlantic.


State by state

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) wants the state legislature to stop fighting ObamaCare.

Arkansas doesn't have enough money to update information about its exchange.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says the District's exchange might have to close if the government shutdown continues.


Lobbying registrations

FaegreBD Consulting / Remington Medical Resorts


Reading list

Consumers must sign up for insurance by Valentine's Day to avoid the individual mandate's tax penalty, The Associated Press reports.

NPR breaks down the volume of new choices facing consumers shopping for insurance.

The problems with healthcare.gov could stem from broader issues with federal IT policies, The Washington Post reports.


Comments / complaints / suggestions?

Please let us know:

Sam Baker: sbaker@thehill.com / 202-628-8351 / @sam_baker

Elise Viebeck: eviebeck@thehill.com / 202-628-8523 / @eliseviebeck

—This post was changed on Thursday, Oct. 17 to reflect that Barbara Bush, daughter of former President George W. Bush, spoke at The Atlantic's event.