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map of states showing drop in uninsured by state

See story by Jeffrey Young


The death rate so far in the world's worst outbreak of Ebola is not as extreme as recorded in the past, but experts expect it to prove no less virulent in the end, once more victims succumb and the grim data is tallied up.

Latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) record 1,603 cases of Ebola in the West African outbreak and 887 deaths - giving a death rate of just over 55 percent.

That is well below the 78.5 percent average death rate over 14 past outbreaks of the same virus - called the "Zaire strain" after the former name of the Democratic Republic of Congo where it was first detected in 1976. In some outbreaks the rate was up to 90 percent, according to WHO data.

Experts say death rates for Ebola outbreaks can rise as the disease runs its course, which is what they now expect.

Why U.S. Hospitals Are Testing People For Ebola Virus

The CDC's health advisory gives very specific advice on whom to screen for possible exposure and when to test people's blood for antibodies to the Ebola virus.

The CDC recommends that hospitals only test people who get a high fever within 21 days of having a "high-risk exposure," defined as contact with blood or bodily fluids of someone known to have or suspected of having Ebola.

So far hospitals around the country have reported 22 suspected cases to the CDC, an agency official said Monday, and only four met those requirements for testing.

And 2 out of 4 had malaria, which is unsurprising. The third was negative, the fourth is pending.

More politics and policy below the fold.

Robert F. Graboyes/US News:

Why 'Repeal and Replace' Will Never Work

Obamacare opponents are going about it all wrong.

A provision in the health care reform law allowing parents to keep their adult children on their health-insurance plans has led to millions more young people with mental-health and substance-abuse problems getting treatment, according to a new study.

Between September 2010, when the Obamacare provision went into effect, and 2012, when the study ended, young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 who had already screened positive for mental disorders or substance abuse increased their use of mental-health treatment by 5.3% compared with a similar group of 26- to 35-year-olds who weren’t eligible for their parents’ coverage. Researchers in the study, published Monday in Health Affairs, also found that due to that same Obamacare provision, the number of mental-health visits the younger group had to pay for out-of-pocket declined by 12.4% compared with the older group.

David Lauter:
States that have aggressively put the Affordable Care Act into practice have cut the number of uninsured residents sharply -- in some cases in half or better -- while those that balked have improved little if at all, according to new data released Tuesday.

The state-by-state numbers, from Gallup's Healthways Well-Being Index, reinforce one of the major impacts of Obamacare so far: Political debate has widened the healthcare gap between red and blue states.

Jonathan Cohn:
Need another reminder of why Obamacare's impact depends heavily on the state where you live? Gallup has one for you. On Tuesday, the organization published a state-by-state breakdown of how the law has affected the rate of uninsurance, at least according to its polling.
Jeffrey Young:
Obamacare is already making a big difference in the states that actually embraced it.

States that expanded Medicaid and created their own health insurance exchanges, or worked closely with the federal government to cover more people, have shown the largest drops in their uninsured rates this year, according to a new poll released by Gallup and Healthways on Tuesday.

Leading the pack was Arkansas, where the uninsured rate has fallen by 10.1 percentage points so far this year, and Kentucky, where it has fallen 8.5 percentage points.

Steve Benen:
It’s understandable when politicians are reluctant to change their positions. No one wants to be labeled a “flip-flopper,” especially those who want to present themselves to the public as a steadfast leader who sticks to principles, no matter what.

That said, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has a problem. Actually, he has two: he’s taken provocative positions that may stunt his ambitions and he refuses to say he’s changed his mind.

The Kentucky Republican’s instinct to attack when confronted with difficult questions is unfortunate. When Paul was caught repeatedly plagiarizing, for example, presenting others’ work as his own, the senator could have blamed sloppy staff work and vowed to do better in the future. Instead, he tried to change the meaning of the word “plagiarism” and raised the prospect of challenging journalists to duels.

When Paul was reminded of his objections to parts of the Civil Rights Act, he could have explained the evolution in his thinking. Instead, the GOP senator wants to pretend he’s been consistent, even though he hasn’t, and lashes out at those who point to reality.

All of which leads us to yesterday’s report from Chris Moody on Paul and U.S. support for Israel.

John Harwood:
“[Sen. Mark] Udall is running his entire campaign on social issues,” said Brad Dayspring of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “All they talk about is birth control, ‘personhood,’ abortion.”

So will many other Democrats this fall. They aim to match President Obama’s feat in 2012, when the incumbent used topics such as same-sex marriage and contraception as weapons to offset his vulnerability on the economy. That they would even try while facing the older, whiter, more conservative midterm electorate shows how thoroughly the politics of social issues have turned upside down.

The tumultuous social changes that began in the 1960s supplied decades of political ammunition for Republicans. Beginning with Richard M. Nixon, they rallied Americans disturbed by noisy protests over civil rights, the sexual revolution and the Vietnam War.

“Acid, amnesty and abortion” was the epithet hurled at the 1972 Democratic presidential candidate, George McGovern. Republicans seized on concerns about welfare, school busing and crime — memorably with a black convict named Willie Horton in 1988 — to cement their grip on white voters. As recently as 2004, Republicans used a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to rally tradition-minded “values voters” behind President George W. Bush’s re-election.

Now the values wedge cuts for Democrats. Demographic change keeps shrinking Nixon’s “Silent Majority.” President Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress overhauled welfare. Fear of crime has receded enough that members of both parties propose more lenient sentencing.

Dana Milbank:
Battle cry of the white man

The unfriendly airwaves of talk radio this week gave us an inadvertently revealing moment.

Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, a Republican immigration hard-liner and part of what the Wall Street Journal just branded “the GOP’s Deportation Caucus,” was giving his retort to the paper’s pro-business editorialists on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Monday: “They need to be patriots, and they need to think about America first,” Brooks said.

America First? How 1940! The congressman went on to condemn those who say the Republican position on immigration is dooming the party by alienating Latinos.

And see more from Ron Fournier, who inadvertently set Mo Brooks off:
You're Wrong, Congressman: I'm Not Waging a War on Whites
Republican Rep. Mo Brooks twists immigration analysis into race card.
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