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First POST: Hanging By 834 Threads

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, December 3 2013

Hanging by 834 Threads

  • The White House is pivoting back to selling the country on the benefits of Obamacare, confident that the problems with HealthCare.gov are behind it, Politico reports.

  • Meanwhile, Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic, who has tracked health care reform intensively, says it's still too soon to say for sure. Anecdotal reports of people having success signing up are appearing more often, and the administration's own usage statistics sound good. But finding out whether insurers are getting accurate sign-up information--known as "834" forms--is still difficult and if that piece isn't working well, there are going to be a lot of unhappy people.

  • On that final point, Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin report for the Washington Post that errors plague "roughly one-third of the people who have signed up for health plans since October 1." They add, "The mistakes include failure to notify insurers about new customers, duplicate enrollments or cancellation notices for the same person, incorrect information about family members, and mistakes involving federal subsidies."

  • White House senior communications adviser Tara McGuinness disputed the Post report, saying the one-third figure "doesn't accurately reflect the picture of what's happening now. “We’ve got a team of experts already working closely with issuers to make sure that every past and future 834 is accurate. We’re confident they’ll succeed."

In other news around the web

  • Our Antonella Napolitano reports on the role of social media in the new wave of anti-government protests in the Ukraine. Just don't call it a "Twitter revolution," she says.

  • For more on the roots of Ukraine's vibrant civil society sector, and its reliance on the Internet, read Nadia Diuk's "The Grassroots Are Growing," essay in Foreign Policy.

  • The NSA gave its employees talking points to use for family conversations over Thanksgiving, reports Kevin Gosztola of FireDogLake. He debunks each point, one-by-one.

  • Alec MacGillis reports in The New Republic on how gun rights activists are attacking the gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America with "violent, misogynistic messages" on Facebook.

  • In the Huffington Post, Theresa Bradley profiles the growing civic tech movement in Mexico, nicely illustrating how they've caught the government's eye and explaining its relationship to the movement worldwide.

  • Nancy Scola checks in on how Peers.org's networked organizing is helping home-sharers in places like Venice, CA, block efforts by some municipal elected officials to investigate the short-term rental market, and notes its roots in the same tactics perfected by the Obama campaign. (And a glance at Peers's action.peers.org page shows plenty of source code from Blue State Digital, which built many of Obama's organizing tools.)

  • An upstart candidate for mayor of Marseilles (France) is using NationBuilder to power his outsider campaign.

  • Heads-up, all you Facebook social sharing optimizers: The company just announced that it is tweaking its newsfeed algorithm so more "high-quality articles" appear in your feed, and fewer "memes," based on their internal surveys of what people prefer to click on. Stories that get fresh comments on them will also be highlighted more.