TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: President Obama today announced a change to Obamacare that allows insurers to restore canceled plans, even those that don't meet the law's standards, through 2014. The change does not require congressional approval, and is expected to take effect immediately. Janet Yellen encountered no troubles in her Senate confirmation hearing. Iran says it has halted its nuclear program under new President Rouhani. And only 168 veterans were enrolled in Ivy League schools in 2013.
OBAMA CAVES: OLD INSURANCE PLANS GOOD THROUGH 2014: The president's administrative "fix" to the his signature legislative accomplishment will allow Americans to renew current health care plans they like until the end of 2014. The about-face allows insurers to restore canceled plans for an additional year even if those plans do not comply with Obamacare's minimum benefits. The change differs from Rep. Fred Upton's proposal, which would let new customers buy such policies rather than only extend their eligibility to only those currently on them. A House vote on Upton's bill is still set for Friday. During the wide-ranging press conference, a morose Obama repeatedly conceded the health care site's rollout was "fumbled." (NJ)
THE IMPORTANT SMALL PRINT: Two key conditions for keeping insurance, according to the White House: 1) Insurers must notify consumers which protections their current plans do not include, and 2) Insurers must also notify consumers of new options available in the marketplace that offer better coverage.
THIS 'FIX' IS GOING TO GET A LOT UGLIER BEFORE IT GETS BETTER: By allowing insurance companies to renew policies that are not up to snuff with the standards of Obamacare, the administration is creating a complicated mess for both insurers and state officials who regulate them. (Sarah Kliff, WaPo)
BUT DOES ANYONE OUTSIDE OF ADMIN LIKE THE FIX? Obama's fix is an attempt to keep more aggressive congressional changes at bay, but even Senate Democrats, led by Mary Landrieu and Mark Udall, are still agitating for legislation that, as Jeff Merkley put it, "goes a little further" than the administrative solution to help those who lost their insurance plans. (Politico)
YELLEN SENATE HEARING MOSTLY EASY BREEZY: Obama's pick to run the Fed encountered little resistance before the Senate Banking Committee, as both Dems and Republicans opted instead to use the hearing as an opportunity to spar over larger economic issues like income inequality and bank regulations. Yellen resisted giving a clear answer as to whether she thought further bank controls were necessary. (Binyamin Appelbaum, NYT)
Sen. Warren took the hearing as an opportunity to pointedly ask Yellen a series of questions about the Fed's role in regulating Wall Street and whether the central bank may share some of the blame for the 2008 financial crisis. Yellen demurred at times, and it's unlikely Warren will drop the issue anytime soon, regardless of her possible 2016 aspirations. (Linette Lopez, Business Insider)
IRAN HAS HALTED NUCLEAR EXPANSION UNDER ROUHANI: That's the conclusion of a U.N. inspection report released today, which could energize an ongoing diplomatic push to end Tehran's nuclear disagreements with the West. The once-hopeful talks appeared to be gaining little traction earlier this week. (Fredrik Dahl, Reuters)
TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The House is expected to vote on the Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013, which would allow insurers to keep offering their current plans or offer new plans that do not comply with the ACA.
LOVE GROWN COLD: How Silicon Valley fell out of love with Obama (Dana Liebelson, The Week)
FEELING BLUE: Could raising the D.C. height limit help the GOP take back Virginia? (Mark Tracy, New Republic)
DEFORESTATION: The world has lost six Californias worth of forest in the last 10 years. (Ritchie King, Quartz)
IVY LEAGUE'S DISSERVICE: Only 168 veterans were enrolled in Ivy League colleges in 2013. (Wick Sloane, Slate)
THROWBACK THURSDAY: Federalist No. 6, stressing the importance of domestic tranquility, was published on Nov. 14, 1787. (Publius, The Federalist Papers)
IS THE GOP THE LAST HOPE FOR OBAMACARE? The rollout has been so bad that some--including Sens. John Hoeven and Joe Manchin--are beginning to seriously wonder if Republicans might seize an opportunity to fix it. But don't get your hopes up: Most Republicans still see Obamacare as going down the path "to government-run health care," Hoeven said. (Molly Ball, The Atlantic)
JANET YELLEN IS EN ROUTE TO WORLD DOMINATION: At the very least, she's poised to become the most powerful women in the world as the first female Fed chairman. Her words will move markets and she'll be around after Obama is gone from the White House. Here's what's in store for a Yellen-led Fed. (Catherine Hollander, NJ)
LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 3 MINUTES: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is barred from attending Christmas parades, but he's still welcome on the late-night shows. And when Bill Clinton lectures Obama about the importance of keeping his commitment, you know we have a problem. (Reena Flores, NJ)