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"So far, both programs have proven extraordinarily popular.” MI and AR Medicaid compromise, from @onceuponA

Joe Sonka (who knows KY politics) on Rand Paul:

When I say he “appeared” to do a turnabout on voter ID, I use that word intentionally. The morning this story came out, I immediately said that Paul appeared to be hedging just slightly, and if he faced even the slightest bit of pushback from his right flank, he would walk that statement back. [Joe's chatting with me in the link].

While some liberals were quick to celebrate Paul becoming a new advocate against repugnant voter ID laws — “he admits they’re crazy and offensive!” — and some conservative lashed out at him for surrendering to the neo-ACORN forces of rampant minority voter fraud, the inevitable walk back happened today in a statement from Doug Stafford, Paul’s former chief of staff and current director of his PAC:

“At no point did Senator Paul come out against voter ID laws. In terms of the specifics of voter ID laws, Senator Paul believes it’s up to each state to decide that type of issue.”
Ah, that was fun while it lasted.
Jonathan Chait:
The trouble, for Republicans, is that vote suppression creates an opposing force. It allows Democrats to (correctly) place Republicans within the history of odious tactics designed to limit the political power of minorities, and thus making the act of voting itself a form of political protest. Conservatives like Ross Douthat have argued that vote suppression probably inspires more Democrats to register and vote than it keeps away from the polls.

Paul’s original point got at the dilemma in a different way. Smart Republican strategists understand that, even though their party will never win the black vote, the marginal difference between winning 10 to 15 percent of the black vote, as the party did not long ago, and winning 5 percent of the black vote is substantial. The GOP is never going to rebuild its reputation when they are upholding such an odious American tradition. The Republican candidate who rebuilds his party’s reputation with black America is probably not going to be the one who disagrees with major sections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and has surrounded himself with white supremacists. But the broader strategy Paul is identifying makes enough sense that somebody is bound to eventually take it up, even if it’s not him.

More politics and policy below the fold.

Richard Clarke on Benghazi committee: We shouldn’t even dignify this with pretending this is a serious’s a political stunt.


Chuck Todd: It's Time For Republicans To Get Over Benghazi

"I’ll hear from Republicans that say, ‘But there are unanswered questions!’ Well, no, all the questions have been answered," he said. "There’s just some people that don’t like the answers, that wish the answers were somehow more conspiratorial, I guess."

Adrianna McIntyre:
Most state decisions about whether to participate in Obamacare's Medicaid expansion have fallen along partisan lines. Nearly every state with a Democratic governor has opted to expand the public program; nearly every state with a Republican governor hasn't.

But a few states have mustered bipartisan support to move forward on Medicaid — mostly by petitioning the Obama administration for really big changes to how the public program works.

"These alternatives are allowing states to break through political barriers that they have faced to expand their Medicaid program," Sara Collins, vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, said at a Monday briefing on these expansion models.

This wasn't how the Medicaid expansion was supposed to work: the health care law initially required all states to expand the program to everyone below 138 percent of the federal poverty line (about $15,000 for an individual). But the Supreme Court ruled that part of the law was unconstitutional, and allowed each state to decide whether to opt into the expansion.

That means some five million Americans still lack access to affordable coverage because their states are refusing expansion — access that new research suggests could save lives.

Phil Galewitz:
The headlines were ominous: Good luck finding a doctor under Obamacare. Not enough doctors for newly insured. Obamacare, doctor shortage could crash health system.

Despite these dire predictions, the nation's primary care system is handling the increased number of insured patients without major problems so far, according to interviews with community health centers, large physician practices and insurers nationwide.

The Guardian:
]Marco] Rubio then continues by saying that the climate is always changing but that scientists
take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer term trend that is directly and almost solely attributable to manmade activity
The fail here is huge. First, scientists don’t look at just a “few decades”. There is a whole branch of study called paleoclimatology. This branch of science goes back hundreds of thousands to millions of years in order to assess the relationship between our atmosphere and the climate. In fact, I published a paper on this topic recently hoping to improve paleoclimate studies. And don’t forget the scientists who, in the 1800s, warned of changes to the climate as we emit greenhouse gases. Was that just a few decades ago?

But notice that Rubio tries to be careful with his choice of words. He says “directly” and “almost solely attributable” to manmade activity. Was he careful enough? Not quite.

"The climate is always changing."

 - Marco Rubio confusing the climate with his stand on immigration reform

Lauren Friedman:
When the cost of an employer-provided health insurance plan is compared to the cost of an Affordable Care Act plan bought on a state health insurance exchange, the ACA plan will be more affordable on average, a new analysis from PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute finds.

"In 2014, the premiums for health plans offered on new state exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are comparable to — and in some cases lower than — those being offered by employers with similar levels of coverage," the analysts concluded. "The data suggest the new exchanges are competitive with the current insurance market."

Brad Friedman:
Just over a week ago, The BRAD BLOG’s legal analyst Ernie Canning posited that the decision by a federal court in Wisconsin to strike down that state’s polling place Photo ID law could signal “the beginning of the end” for such disenfranchising, Republican-enacted laws around the nation.

Since that landmark ruling in the Badger State, new signs from top elected Republican officials in Pennsylvania and Iowa, and even in Wisconsin, suggest that the (at least) decade-long GOP “voter fraud” fraud may have finally peaked, and will now begin the inevitably long slide into abandoned, historical shame.

My twitter friend Tara Smith is a subject matter expert on antibiotic resistance, but that didn't stop Some Dude from lecturing her on her expertise.
.@aetiology speaks back to having her own specialty tweetsplained to her. #gogrrl
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