In brief: Sick get break on health sign-up
Washington – The Obama administration moved Thursday to help tens of thousands of sick Americans who have struggled to enroll in health coverage for next year because of problems with the rollout of new insurance marketplaces created by the president’s health law.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced that patients who have been enrolled in special insurance plans for consumers denied coverage elsewhere would be able to stay on those plans until the end of January. Nearly 86,000 people are currently in such plans.
Wildfire season’s hype a false alarm
Los Angeles – A wildfire season that began with dire warnings that dry conditions had set the stage for a year of flames across California and the West turned out to be one of the nation’s quietest in the past decade.
Although 2013 was marked by two high-profile blazes, one in California and the other in Arizona, nationally the total wildfire acreage of 4.15 million is far below the 10-year average of 6.8 million acres.
As always, weather was the deciding factor. The fierce Santa Ana winds that can turn Southern California’s autumn wildfires into monsters didn’t blow much this year. And in a perverse upside of parched conditions elsewhere in the West, there wasn’t enough moisture for grassland fuel to grow, keeping blazes in check.