Senator Ron Johnson has announced he is going to file suit in Federal court to force Congress to cut the pay of its members and staff. I’ll explain why below, but that is quite literally his intention. This bizarre action is indicative of the state of Obamacare acceptance on the right.Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine writes a play-by-play of confronting an ACA critic with the facts. It wasn't pretty:
Back in October, conservatives had convinced themselves that the law was going down in flames. But now that it looks to be basically functional (if far from perfect) conservatives are fumbling for any reason at hand to delegitimize the law. Going by past history, the answer will be to turn it into a conservative pet rock: like Benghazi and the IRS stories, an initially suspicious happening which turns out to be a non-scandal or an example of run-of-the-mill governing incompetence, but lives on forever as a Watergate level episode in the conservative fever swamps.
I have been trying to figure out what, if anything, could dent their overweening ideological certainty. The answer seems to be, nothing at all.Much more on the day's top stories below the fold.
Here's a super-important piece by Arit John on all of those "health care horror stories":
At the root of every debunked, cancelled plan, Obamacare "horror story" is usually a person who isn't as informed as he or she would like to believe. Usually that person is a journalist. [...] Obamacare horror story debunkings are actually just journalists calling out their peers. While the Obamacare "victim" — usually someone who's policy was cancelled — may be motivated by political leanings, an aversion to subsidies or just a lack of knowledge, it's not their job to give an accurate, thorough report on the issue from all sides. “The whole concept of the media checking the media is a new phenomenon,” Bill Adair of PolitiFact told Poynter in November. There was once a time when journalists were a little more discreet with their critics of their peers, but now calling people out is the norm. And with Obamacare, which leads all kinds of reporters to pick and choose details, everyone (everyone) can learn something from the mistakes of others. Here are the key lessons from the last three months of bogus horror stories.Meanwhile, the DCCC goes on the attack against Republicans over the ACA:
Democrats are expanding their Obama-Care offensive with Web ads in 12 competitive districts that feature people touting the benefits they’ve seen from the healthcare reform law, according to information shared first with The Hill.Jamelle Bouie at The Daily Beast:
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s new online ads direct viewers to FacesOfRepeal.com, a standalone site that outlines the stories of Americans helped by the law.
“I take insulin and 12 other medications, and my daughter’s medicine costs $700 a month. We couldn’t afford it without healthcare reform,” Diane, from Denver, says in the ad.
it is true that Americans are unhappy with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. But we have eleven months before the next election, and in that time, millions will have received benefits from the law. Far from a parade of horror stories, we’re likely to see a whole lot of nothing, as Obamacare recedes to the background as an area of focus for ordinary Americans. The Affordable Care Act may never become popular, but it won’t drive voters to the polls like it did in the last midterm elections.Switching topics to extending unemployment benefits, Bloomberg's editors urge Congress to act:
Republicans can still run on their opposition to the law, yes, but barring catastrophe, it’ll be irrelevant. The public will have come to terms with the existence of the Affordable Care Act, and insofar that it’s an issue, they’ll likely want to know how the GOP can improve its parts and fix its problems. Which means that, instead of rehashing the rhetoric of the last four years, Republicans should start to think a little harder about what–if anything–they want out of a health care system.
Of late, Congress has actually made the unemployment problem worse. Economists, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, agree that with interest rates extremely low, short-term fiscal stimulus would be the best way to get people back to work before unemployment erodes their skills and does permanent damage to the economy. Instead, legislators have focused on short-term spending cuts that do nothing to address the U.S. government’s long-term fiscal challenge.Finally, on the topic of gun violence, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) and Monte Frank pen a must-read in The Hill:
Even with fiscal policy set on the wrong course, the government could have done more to help the long-term unemployed -- for example, by simplifying and coordinating dozens of existing retraining programs. [...]
Republicans say they’d be willing to extend the benefits for three months if Democrats find spending cuts to offset the cost. They’re wrong to impose that condition -- not least because extending the benefits will in large part pay for itself by boosting jobs and output. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a one-year extension would add about 200,000 jobs at a cost of about $25 billion in fiscal 2014 and 2015.
Recently, a pickup basketball game of two-on-two started up in the fenced-in playground of the Child of Mine Youth Center located on the southeast side of Washington, D.C.
Tyrek Marquez of New Britain, Conn., had just finished volunteering at the center as part of a week of “Acts of Kindness” in remembrance of the attacks at Newtown. “All net,” gloated the 12-year-old after nailing his third 3-pointer. For many 12-year-olds, this would be no big deal. But, for a boy who has use of only one arm and walks with a limp as a result of being shot in the head just five years ago at a parade in Hartford, his jump shot is nothing short of miraculous.
During the week preceding the one-year anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, we each had the opportunity to participate in events with Tyrek in Connecticut and Washington, D.C. Our time with Tyrek taught us more than he could ever imagine about courage.