By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Wednesday said the number of people who have enrolled in private Obamacare health plans rose to 3.3 million from October 1 to February 1, providing new evidence that its effort to extend coverage to the uninsured is gaining momentum. Data collected from new health insurance marketplaces set up in all 50 states, under President Barack Obama's healthcare law, showed enrollment rising by 1.1 million or 53 percent in January and surpassing a government projection set before the botched rollout of the federal website HealthCare.gov. "We're seeing a healthy growth in enrollment," Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, told reporters in a conference call. Administration officials said the enrollment results bring to 9.6 million the number of people who have signed up for private plans or been found eligible for the Medicaid program for the poor since enrollment began on October 1.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sid Caesar, the TV comedy pioneer whose rubber-faced expressions and mimicry built on the work of his dazzling team of writers that included Woody Allen and Mel Brooks, died Wednesday. He was 91.
CHICAGO (AP) — This merciless winter is taking a heavy toll on the nation's pipes and pavement, breaking hundreds of water mains that turn streets into frozen rivers and opening potholes so big they snap tire rims and wheel axles like Popsicle sticks.
By Susan Cornwell and David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress approved an increase in the country's debt limit through March 2015, bowing to President Barack Obama's demands for a debt limit increase without any conditions, but only after a dramatic Senate vote on Wednesday. Final action in the Senate followed an hour long nail-biting procedural tally forced by the objections of Republican Ted Cruz, a conservative Tea Party favorite. It appeared at first there would not be enough Republicans to join the Democratic majority and advance the bill. A decision by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn, who are both up for re-election this year, to vote to advance the measure appeared to kick the procedural tally over the needed 60 votes.