For decades, the United States has had a fragmented health policy. States called the shots on major elements of how health care and health insurance were financed and regulated. The result: a hodgepodge of coverage and a wide variance in health.Dan Diamond:
The Affordable Care Act was intended to help standardize important parts of that system, by imposing some common rules across the entire country and by providing federal financing to help residents in all states afford insurance coverage. But a series of court rulings on the law could make the differences among the states bigger than ever.
The law was devised to pump federal dollars into poorer states, where lots of residents were uninsured. Many tended to be Republican-leaning. But the court rulings, if upheld, could leave only the richer, Democratic states with the federal dollars and broad insurance coverage. States that opted out of optional portions of the law could see little improvement in coverage and even economic damage.
"There is a geographic pattern in the distribution of the uninsured that is becoming more pronounced," RWJF's Katherine Hempstead told me.Linda Greenhouse:
"We are definitely seeing an increasing share of the uninsured that are both below 138% of the federal poverty level and living in states that did not expand Medicaid—meaning that there is practically speaking no real coverage options for them."
Given the avalanche of world-shaking news since last week, the shrug greeting the latest chapter in the long-running affirmative action saga at the University of Texas is understandable. Even the usually lively constitutional law blogosphere has had little to say about the July 15 ruling by which the federal appeals court in New Orleans once again upheld the flagship Austin school’s admissions plan...More politics and policy below the fold.
The opinion is a masterpiece of judicial craft, the product of two wise and experienced senior judges, one appointed by a Republican president and one by a Democrat, and for these purposes it doesn’t matter which is which. It’s worth unpacking at some length, for two reasons.
One, it’s just so interesting for its explanation of the choices Texas has made.
And two, I’ll go out on a limb and predict that this decision is not only the latest chapter in the yearslong sojourn of Texas-style affirmative action through the federal courts. It’s also the last.
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza wrote an interesting column two days ago under the headline “It’s Virtually Impossible to be a Successful Modern President.” Cillizza begins his piece like this: “Being president is the most powerful job in the world. At which you will almost certainly fail.”Whenever you hear about anything to do with Andrew Cuomo and ethics, go back and read this Shawn Boburg piece:
Both those statements are wrong, of course. As I and other presidency scholars have written repeatedly, the presidency is not a very powerful office and it is certainly not the most powerful job in the world. Indeed, even among elected chief executives in modern democracies, the presidency is one of the weaker offices. The primary reason, of course, is because the Framers wanted it that way, as indicated by their decision to embed the presidency within a constitutional system of shared powers. That’s why presidents cannot dismiss Congress, call for new elections, or even count on the support of a legislative majority to pass legislation – all expectations that many prime ministers in other nations possess. And, with the ratification of the 22nd amendment, presidents lucky enough to win reelection serve most of their second term as defacto lame ducks. As Brendan Nyhan notes in his column today, however, this weakness has not stopped individuals from exaggerating the president’s potential degree of control over events.
Since the mid-1980s, contributions totaling $1.5 billion have been withdrawn from a little-known agency program that allows the governors of New York and New Jersey to direct money to their pet projects or causes, even those with little connection to the agency’s 90-year-old mission as stated on its website: “To keep the region’s commuters, travelers and global shippers moving.”Boburg recently won a Polk for his GWB reporting.
The recipients of multimillion-dollar grants in the past include New York City museums, a hospital in Jersey City, a Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx, a clam purification plant at the Jersey Shore, a dance theater and an industrial park, according to internal agency documents obtained by The Record.
A lot of history to get to the point. What began as a ruthlessly pragmatic, take-no-prisoners parliamentary style opposition to Obama was linked to constant efforts to delegitimize his presidency, first by saying he was not born in the U.S., then by calling him a tyrant trying to turn the country into a Socialist or Communist paradise. These efforts were not condemned vigorously by party leaders in and out of office, but were instead deflected or encouraged, helping to create a monster: a large, vigorous radical movement that now has large numbers of adherents and true believers in office and in state party leadership. This movement has contempt for establishment Republican leaders and the money to go along with its beliefs. Local and national talk radio, blogs, and other social media take their messages and reinforce them for more and more Americans who get their information from these sources. One result is that even today, a Rasmussen survey shows that 23 percent of Americans still believe Obama is not an American, while an additional 17 percent are not sure. Forty percent of Americans! This is no longer a fringe view...Must read.
I am not suggesting that the lunatics or extremists have won. Most Republicans in the Senate are not, to use John McCain's term, "wacko birds," and most Republicans in office would at least privately cringe at some of the wild ideas and extreme views. At the same time, the "establishment" is fighting back, pouring resources into primaries to protect their preferred candidates, and we are seeing the rise of a new and encouraging movement among conservative intellectuals—dubbed "Reformicons" by E.J. Dionne—to come up with a new set of ideas and policy prescriptions to redefine the ideology and the party in a positive way.
But there is a darker reality. Many of the "preferred" candidates—including Ernst as well as James Lankford in Oklahoma and Jack Kingston in Georgia—are anything but pragmatic.
Emily Badger with a long piece on Paul Ryan's budget proposals:
In reality, some states have worse track records — and differing commitments — to caring for the poor, to providing them health care, to lifting children and families out of poverty, to educating them. While block grants would recognize that a state like Texas has different needs from Minnesota, it would also place greater control in combating poverty in the hands of local governments with weak records on this front.Charles Blow with a similar subject:
[President of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise Bob] Woodson’s comments mine familiar conservative rhetoric, hinting at welfare failure and abuse, pinning further harm on liberal intentions to help, while sidestepping altogether conservative callousness and Republican Party platforms that have sought for decades to reward those at the top of the economic ladder while ignoring those at the bottom.Huffington Post:
Woodson is a smart man, a MacArthur genius fellow, and he’s made his work focus on the plight of the poor and troubled neighborhoods. But at the heart of his logic — if, indeed, there is heart in his logic — is a particular strand of tough-love, up-by-the-bootstraps, stop-helping-poor-folks-so-much-because-you’re-hurting-them thinking. Woodson isn’t a neutral arbiter, but a fiercely minimal-government partisan with an open disdain for the civil rights apparatus in this country.
In a RealClear Radio Hour interview in May [the host is my long time libertarian friend Bill Frezza - GD], Woodson said of the current civil rights movement:
“It has really abandoned the high ground on which it was founded. It has morphed into a race grievance industry, and it’s been hijacked by the gay movement, it’s been hijacked by the Democratic Party. And so it has lost its authenticity.”
He continued: “The civil rights movement, again, has sold its soul to the highest bidder.”
Baseball legend Hank Aaron sent an email to supporters of Democrat Michelle Nunn, who's running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia.
In a Wednesday email, Aaron compared fundraising for Nunn to baseball, where "every hit matters."
"The big ones, the little ones -- they all add up to a chance for your team to win," Aaron wrote.