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medicare spending increases compared to predictions
Kaiser Family Foundation:
The Mystery of the Missing $1,000 Per Person: Can Medicare’s Spending Slowdown Continue?
Drew Altman:
Several indicators suggest that the political waters may be calming for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This doesn’t guarantee that the law will achieve its goals and be judged a success. It means that the law stands a better chance of being implemented free of constant political turmoil–and will have a better shot at success.

Consider:

*Public support for the ACA fell after the Web site debacle last fall, but while overall opinion toward the law continues to tilt negative, the falloff in the polls has stopped, according to the June Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking poll.

*After the administration rapidly repaired the Web site, the ACA exceeded the widely cited 7 million target for the first open-enrollment season, which had become a political litmus test for the law. And with no similarly big controversy, the ACA has become a far less juicy, and less prominent, media story.

*Some Republicans seem to be shifting their midterm strategy to focus less on the ACA and more on other issues they have with the president and the direction of the country.

"when the ACA is not in the news its standing improves" @drewaltman writes in WSJ. http://t.co/... #aca #hcr
@JoanneKenen
More politics and policy below the fold.

RT @philipaklein: You know Brazil's defeat was crushing when I can't easily think of a Jets loss that was any worse. ||<—€” this
@DemFromCT
@adambonin Brazil cares only about 1 sport, paid billions to host, expected a title, got historically blown out on home turf.
@IsaacSpaceman
HuffPost:
The Mississippi Republican Party certified Sen. Thad Cochran's victory over state lawmaker Chris McDaniel on Monday in the state's Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate. In the final count, Cochran's lead had grown.
Stuart P. Stevens, MS Sen. Thad Cochran advisor on opponent Chris McDaniel:
There is an odd sort of political bubble emanating from my home state of Mississippi. And like most bubbles, it has more to do with wish fulfillment than reality.

As Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff observed in their classic This Time Is Different, “there are usually remarkable similarities of past experience” linking manias that, in retrospect, seem so obviously unhinged. Believing that tulips are the most valuable commodities in international commerce or betting that house prices can only go up requires a suspension of critical thinking that never ends well.

Now we have the absurd notion that the failure of an obscure Mississippi state senator to win a Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate is a blow to the conservative cause. It’s a downright silly idea that, like all wrong-headed thoughts, doesn’t improve when it’s shouted.  Chanting nonsense might induce a state of euphoria in Hare Krishna devotees, but it doesn’t help win many arguments.

NY Times:
Congressional Democrats said Tuesday that they had developed legislation to override the Supreme Court decision on contraceptives. The bill would ensure that women have access to coverage for birth control even if they work for businesses that have religious objections.
AP:
Whether it's the Republicans or the Democrats, America's political parties are far from beloved. Yet most people continue to align with one or the other.

Those who claim allegiance to the parties say they are driven by a mix of inertia, preference for one side's policies over the other and feeling that one can depart from the party line when necessary, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Despite heated politics, few say they prefer one party out of dislike for the other.

But affiliation doesn't always equal admiration: One-quarter of Republicans and 13 percent of Democrats say they dislike their own party.

Asked what it means when a person says he or she is a Democrat or a Republican, few mention longtime affinity. More people focus on the beliefs or attitudes held by the most visible members of the party.

Reuters:
Iraq's government has lost control of a former chemical weapons facility to "armed terrorist groups" and is unable to fulfill its international obligations to destroy toxins kept there, the country's U.N. envoy told the United Nations.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, made public on Tuesday, Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said the Muthanna facility north of Baghdad was seized on June 11. He said remnants of a former chemical weapons program are kept in two bunkers there.

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