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The Los Angeles Times is up first with an editorial on delusional House Republicans:
Opponents of the Affordable Care Act don't have the votes to repeal it in the Senate, and even if they did, they couldn't override a certain veto by President Obama. Nevertheless, a large faction in the House wants to hold funding for the rest of the government hostage until Democrats agree to stop implementing Obamacare.

One practical problem with that approach is that "defunding" the law won't eliminate the mandates on insurers that could lead to ever-escalating premiums if the rest of its provisions don't go into effect. The bigger problem is that Democrats show no signs of caving. If the anti-Obamacare forces in the House refuse to support a temporary funding bill that includes money for the Affordable Care Act, the government will shut down. The last time a Republican-led House forced a shutdown, in 1995 and 1996, it helped Democrats reelect an embattled President Clinton.

The Boston Globe runs downs the numbers:
IT’S NOT unusual to hear opponents of the Affordable Care Act claim that premiums under the new law won’t be affordable. But one of the first and broadest nonpartisan studies strongly suggests that once federal tax subsidies are factored in, premiums will be well within reach for those with moderate incomes. [...] The same silver plan pattern obtains for 60-year-olds. They would pay the basic $193 in each city. But the price of the bronze plans would be considerably lower. The premiums would be entirely covered by the tax credits in Hartford; that plan would only cost $16 monthly in Richmond and Providence, and only $19 in Baltimore. With the tax subsidies, monthly premiums would be under $75 in 12 of the cities. The high: $140 in, yes, Sioux Falls. (South Dakota is served by only three insurers.)

Whether someone at that income level, who would likely have $1,500 to $1,700 a month in after-tax income, will consider those premiums conveniently budgetable depends very much on their other expenses. But this much is clear: Those premiums are not exorbitant. They give the lie to the idea that Obamacare will saddle millions of people with a insurance requirement that is simply unaffordable.

The Longview News Journal in Texas, not the biggest fan of the health care law, slams Republicans for refusing Obamacare's Medicare expansion:
The fact is there is no plan, beyond the foolish notion that if they continue to dig in their heels, Obamacare will go away. As we’ve said before: It won’t. Now there’s a notion that de-funding it will lead to its demise. That, too, is snake oil.

If you’re among the “I have mine, let them get their own” crowd on health coverage, another recent report might interest you. This one indicates your cost of insurance will increase because of the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid.

Rates for individuals purchasing private coverage could jump between 8 percent and 10 percent in Texas and other states where political leaders have decided against expanding Medicaid for the poor. The reason, according to the RAND Corp. research: Such states will force more lower-income people into the individual insurance market. Because they are generally less healthy than more affluent people, costs will rise. That will force a 9.3 percent increase in premiums for all 3 million Texans who will be enrolled in the individual market by 2016, the research indicates.

In Michigan, The Grand Rapids Press editorial board calls out delayed implementation of the Medicaid expansion in that state:
Republican lawmakers wisely agreed to expand Medicaid, as advocated by their party leader, Gov. Rick Snyder. But it was petty and vindictive not to grant the measure immediate effect.

Senate Republicans have needlessly cost the state an estimated $630 million by forcing an April 2014 implementation instead of Jan. 1. And hundreds of thousands of Michigan's working poor will have to go for months unnecessarily without health care coverage.

In New Jersey, The Star-Ledger editorial board adds its take:
Repeal has been a persistent drumbeat in the GOP-controlled House, which has voted to do so 40 times. The most recent House vote was Aug. 2; again, all six of New Jersey’s Republican congressmen voted for repeal.[...]

There’s more: The Star-Ledger’s Dan Goldberg reported last week that House Republicans are fishing for dirt from groups getting federal grants to teach New Jersey’s uninsured about the program, which 57 percent of Americans don’t want defunded, according to a Kaiser Health Foundation poll.

The anti-Obamacare marathon is muddying public opinion in a dangerous way: 44 percent think the Affordable Care Act was repealed, overturned in court or aren’t even sure it’s still a law. That’s a misinformation gap that could keep poor families from getting coverage. That’s the best reason for Republicans to finally drop their quixotic assault.

Over at The Montgomery Advertiser, it's argued that the Medicare opt-out in the South is the "South rising again and again to fight on the wrong side of history":
It has been said more than once that the South will rise again.

If Ol’ Dixie can just get Virginia and Tennessee to reject Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, the Confederate States of America will be intact with the exception of those turncoats in Arkansas.

Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama have elected not to help their poor and low-to-moderate wage earners receive health care through expanded Medicaid. [...] [T]he fact that the Deep South has united in opposing the health care plan when the region is inhabited by so many poor and unhealthy people is worthy of further examination.

What — other than geographical proximity — unites us in this crusade to prolong the physical, mental and financial anguish of our people?

More on the day's top stories below the fold.

Switching topics to foreign policy, there's lots of analysis on Russian President Vladamir Putin's op-ed in The New York Times.

Alan Greenblatt at NPR runs down why Obama and Putin are "frenemies forever":

Putin has long been frustrated by U.S. military actions that have led to regime change in Iraq and Libya. He doesn't like autocrats being ousted from power because, well, it sets a bad example for the folks at home.
Jonathan Capehart lays out all of the bizarre and disingenuous tidbits in Putin's op-ed:
So, we’re supposed to ignore all those times Russia used its powerful veto on the U.N. Security Council to stall a solution to the Syrian civil war and undermine the effectiveness of the international body. For instance, Russia (with an assist from China) in July 2012 blocked a Security Council measure to impose sanctions against Syrian dictator and Russia patron Bashar al-Assad. And let’s not forget that just this week, Russia cancelled an emergency Security Council meeting it called to discuss the last-minute proposal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control. [...]

There should have been an asterisk at the end of Putin’s piece. God created us equal — unless you’re gay or lesbian. Putin’s ban on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” is so broad that the lives of gay Russians and gay tourists in Russia have been deemed illegal. Putin banned the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples in foreign countries. This also applies to unmarried, straight couples and single adults from nations that recognize marriage equality.

Given all this, Putin’s surreal lecture of the United States and our president is a bit much.

Dana Milbank also takes Putin to task for his attack on American exceptionalism:
When we say we are exceptional, what we really are saying is we are different. With few exceptions, we are all strangers to our land; our families came from all corners of the world and brought all of its colors, religions and languages. We believe this mixing, together with our free society, has produced generations of creative energy and ingenuity, from the Declaration of Independence to Facebook, from Thomas Jefferson to Miley Cyrus. There is no other country quite like that.

Americans aren’t better than others, but our American experience is unique — exceptional — and it has created the world’s most powerful economy and military, which, more often than not, has been used for good in the world. When you question American exceptionalism, you will find little support from any of us, liberals or conservatives, Democrats or Republicans, doves or hawks.

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