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JPMorgan backs away from Obamacare delay report

(Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co backed away from a research note to clients on Wednesday that said a delay in the launch of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform was imminent.

JPMorgan initially said in the note on Wednesday morning that based on its Washington D.C. contacts and comments from the administration, it believed an announcement of a delay could come as soon as Wednesday.

But the U.S. government said later on Wednesday that the public health exchanges being created under the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would open as planned on October 1.

After the statement by a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that oversees the public health exchanges, JPMorgan issued a second note.

The second note said that the Obama administration had cleared the air by vehemently denying the delay.

JPMorgan analyst Justin Lake wrote in the second note that additional conversations with more sources clarified that the timing uncertainty was around the ability to complete customer enrollment over the Internet. Some enrollment could take place by call center or with in-person help, he wrote.

Advocates and foes of Obamacare are keeping a close watch on a timely opening of the exchanges, as an indicator of the possible future success or failure of Obama's health reform plan.

(Reporting by Caroline Humer; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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