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Sources: 476,000 Obamacare applications filed sign-ups have been marred by a cascade of computer problems, which the administration says it is working around the clock to correct. The rough rollout has been a glaring embarrassment for Obama, who invested significant time and political capital in getting the law passed during his first term. The officials said technology experts from inside and outside the government are set to work on the glitches, though they did not say how many workers were being added. Officials did say staffing has been increased at call centers by about 50 percent. As problems persist on the federally run website, the administration is encouraging more people to sign up for insurance over the phone. The officials did not want to be cited by name and would not discuss the health insurance rollout unless they were granted anonymity.

By Julie Pace Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Administration officials say about 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through federal and state exchanges, the most detailed measure yet of the problem-plagued rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation. However, the officials continue to refuse to say how many people have actually enrolled in the insurance markets. Without enrollment figures, it’s unclear whether the program is on track to reach the 7 million people projecting by the Congressional Budget Office to gain coverage during the six-month sign-up period. Obama’s advisers say the president has been frustrated by the flawed rollout. During one of his daily health care briefings last week, he told advisers assembled in the Oval Of-

AP File Photo

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SPEAKS Oct. 17 in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. Administration officials say about 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through federal and state exchanges, the most detailed measure yet of the problemplagued rollout of President Obama’s signature legislation. fice that the administration had to own up to the fact that there were no excuses for not having the website ready to operate as promised. The president is expected to address the problems on Monday during a health care event at

the White House. Cabinet members and other top administration officials will also be traveling around the country in the coming weeks to encourage sign-ups in areas with the highest population of uninsured people. The first three weeks of

Despite the widespread problems, the Obama administration has yet to fully explain what went wrong with the online system consumers were supposed to use to sign up for coverage. Initially, administration officials blamed a high volume of interest for the frozen screens that many people encountered. Since then, the administration has also acknowledged unspecified problems with software and some elements of the system’s design. Interest in the insurance markets appears to continue to be high. Officials said about 19 million people had visited HealthCare.gov as of Friday night. People seeking insurance must fill out applications before selecting specific plans. The applications include personal information, including income figures that are used to calculate any subsidies the applicant

may qualify for. More than one person can be included on an application. Of the 476,000 applications that have been started, just over half have been from the 36 states where the federal government is taking the lead in running the markets. The rest of the applications have come from the 14 states running their own markets, along with Washington, D.C. The White House says it plans to release the first enrollment totals from both the federal and staterun markets in mid-November. An internal memo obtained by The Associated Press showed that the administration projected nearly a half-million people would enroll for the insurance markets during the first month. Officials say they expect enrollments to be heavier toward the end of the sixmonth sign-up window.

Don’t touch the graffiti N.J. gay couples plan wedding on deadline effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday. The wedding frenzy started shortly after the New Jersey Supreme Court refused Friday to delay a lower-court order for the state to recognize same-sex marriages while the state appeals. The justices said they did not think the state’s arguments were likely to prevail in the end and that delaying the lower court’s order would hurt couples who would not be eligible for federal benefits until they can be married legally in New Jersey. Officials also noted that state law says couples married legally elsewhere can wed in New Jersey without a waiting period — a provision that ap-

By Bruce Shipkowski and Geoff Mulvihill Associated Press

Alyssa Goodman/AP Photo

A WOMAN LOOKS AT WORK by British graffiti artist Banksy on Saturday in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The building owner has hired security guards and installed a metal gate to protect a work by Banksy. Cara Tabachnick, whose family owns the building, said the goal is to preserve the artwork “so it can be viewed and enjoyed.� Most of the Banksy works that have gone up have been tagged over by others, and some have been completely erased. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last week that graffiti ruins property and is “a sign of decay.�

BRIEFLY Ga. to review death penalty provision

U.S. and Pakistan recently announced the restart of their “strategic dialogue� after a ATLANTA — The state that long pause. Pakistan’s new was the first to pass a law prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, prohibiting the execution of is traveling to Washington for mentally disabled death row talks this coming week with inmates is revisiting a rePresident Barack Obama. quirement for defendants to But in a summer dominatprove the disability beyond ed by foreign policy debates a reasonable doubt — the over the coup in Egypt and strictest burden of proof in chemical weapons attacks the nation. in Syria, the U.S. hasn’t A state House committee promoted its revamped aid is holding an out-of-session relationship with Pakistan. meeting Thursday to seek Neither has Pakistan. input from the public. The silence reflects the Other states that impose lingering mutual suspicions the death penalty have a between the two. lower threshold for proving The Pakistanis do not like mental disability, and some being seen as dependent on don’t set standards at all. their heavy-handed partJust because lawmakers ners. The Americans are are holding a meeting does not uncomfortable highlighting mean changes to the law will the billions provided to a be proposed, and the review government that is plagued absolutely is not a first step by corruption and perceived toward abolishing Georgia’s as often duplicitous in fightdeath penalty, said State Rep. ing terrorism. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna, chairman of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. Georgia’s law is the strictest in the U.S. even though the state was also the first, in 1988, to pass a law prohibiting the execution of mentally disabled death row inmates. The U.S. Supreme Court followed suit in 2002, ruling the execution of mentally disabled offenders is unconstitutional.

TRENTON, N.J. — Activists are still working to line up judges who could waive the three-day waiting period for same-sex couples who want to exchange vows first thing Monday, when gay marriage will become legal in New Jersey. Garden State Equality executive director Troy Stevenson said Saturday that the effort to get couples hitched without the waiting period was a “work in progress.� Under state law, couples must normally wait 72 hours after applying for a marriage license before they can tie the knot. Stevenson didn’t have specific details on how many judges would be available to consider couples’ waivers this weekend. But he says many marriages will be held across the state as soon as possible once the new policy takes

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tering firms, banquet halls and other wedding-related businesses to see what was available on short notice. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Just imagine having only three days to do three months of wedding planning,â&#x20AC;? Stevenson joked.

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U.S. releasing $1.6B in Pakistan aid WASHINGTON â&#x20AC;&#x201D; The U.S. has quietly decided to release more than $1.6 billion in military and economic aid to Pakistan that was suspended when relations between the two countries disintegrated over the covert raid that killed Osama bin Laden and deadly U.S. airstrikes against Pakistani soldiers. Officials and congressional aides said ties have improved enough to allow the money to flow again. American and NATO supply routes to Afghanistan are open. Controversial U.S. drone strikes are down. The

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