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What We Read Today 01 January 2015

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

U.S. Easing of Oil Exports Challenges OPEC's Strategy (Heesu Lee, Bloomberg Businessweek)  The Obama administration’s move to allow exports of ultralight crude without government approval may encourage shale drilling.  This could thwart Saudi Arabia’s strategy to curb U.S. output, further weakening oil markets, according to Citigroup Inc.  A type of crude known as condensate can be exported if it is run through a distillation tower, which separates the hydrocarbons that make up the oil, a much simpler (and cheaper) process than going through a refinery. That may boost supplies ready to be sold overseas to as much as 1 million barrels a day by the end of 2015.

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Health Insurance Enrollment Strongest in Federal Marketplace (Robert  Pear, The New York Times)  The first month of open enrollment for 2015 health insurance coverage under Obamacare produced more than 4 million signing up for the first time of re-enrollment .  Most of these (3.4 million or nearly 85%) were from the 37 states using the Federal website Healthcare.gov.  About 90% (1.8 million) of those signing up for first-time coverage used Healthcare.gov.  States with the largest first-time enrollments were Florida (330,000), Texas (205,000), North Carolina (110,000) and Georgia (103,000); these states were "not the most enthusiastic supporters of the health care law" last year.  States that were supporting the law in 2014 have much lower first-time enrollemnts this year:  California, by a wide margin the most populous state (38 million), has 144,000 new enrollments and New York, the fourth most populous state (20 million) has 83,000.  For comparison, the states cited previously with larger first-time enrollments, populations are Texas, 27 million, Florida, 20 million and Georgia and North Carolina each 10 million.

The data reported is for 15 November to 15 December 2014, for coverage to start 01 January 2015.  Open enrollment continues for another two months until 15 February 2015 for coverage starting after the first of the year.  The numbers reported do not include those who renewed their 2014 plans for 2015.

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