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Margot Sanger-Katz:
Call it a side effect of the Affordable Care Act: Even in states that haven’t changed their Medicaid programs, nearly a million people signed up for Medicaid this year.

The law has expanded insurance coverage to millions of poor Americans through its broadening of the federal-state Medicaid program. In about half the states, that expanded program means that anyone below a certain income threshold is automatically qualified for the program. As you might expect, Medicaid enrollment went way up in those states.

But Medicaid enrollment has also increased this year in many states that chose not to accept federal funds. Data from Medicaid released Friday show that enrollment jumped in most states that did not expand their programs, including Georgia (16 percent), Montana (10 percent), Idaho (9 percent) and Florida (7 percent). Altogether, enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in the states that didn’t make any changes has gone up by 975,000.

The reason is a phenomenon that health experts like to call the “welcome mat effect” or the “woodwork effect,” depending on whether they see it as good news. What happened is that many people who were always eligible for the program have finally decided to sign up.

Nathan Gonzales:
President Barack Obama’s slumping job approval rating isn’t doing Democrats any favors in the party’s quest to hold a majority in the Senate. But without a handful of Democratic retirements, the Senate likely wouldn’t be in play at all.

Republicans need a net gain of six Senate seats to get to 51 and control the Senate in the 114th Congress. To make that happen, Republicans will likely need to defeat at least two incumbents, if not three or four. That’s a difficult — but not insurmountable — task, considering Republicans defeated just two Democratic incumbents (both in 2010) in the past four election cycles combined.

But if a handful of Democratic senators had not chosen to retire this cycle, Republicans would have had a significantly more difficult path to a majority. The retirements of Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Carl Levin of Michigan created good — some even great — GOP opportunities.

More politics and policy below the fold.

David Frum:

Why the 'Libertarian Moment' Isn't Really Happening

The claim that young voters are trending libertarian rests on three principal data points:

1. Young voters are more permissive on issues like same-sex marriage and drug legalization than their elders.

2. Young voters are marginally less supportive of Medicare and Social Security in their present form than are older voters.

3. Young voters are more alienated from institutions than their elders, including the two existing political parties.

But these points don’t add up to libertarianism. They don’t even present an opening to libertarianism. They reveal (modest) generational self-interest, social liberalism, and political demobilization.

So what’s the basis for [Robert] Draper’s story? Draper may not be a data guy, but he’s a good reporter, with lively instincts for a story. What he wrote was not true. But it felt true to him. Why?

Libertarianism is not rising in the country, but since 2009 it has exercised increasing influence inside the Republican party.

Nicholas Kristoff:
Too often wealthy people born on third base blithely criticize the poor for failing to hit home runs. The advantaged sometimes perceive empathy as a sign of muddle-headed weakness, rather than as a marker of civilization.

In effect, we have a class divide on top of a racial divide, creating a vastly uneven playing field, and one of its metrics is educational failure. High school dropouts are five times as likely as college graduates to earn the minimum wage or less, and 16.5 million workers would benefit directly from a raise in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Jeff Smith:
Andrew Cuomo is in serious trouble. Preet Bharara, the hard-charging U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, has turned up the heat on his administration’s alleged interference with an anti-corruption commission he appointed, and for the first time in the New York governor’s four-year tenure, he’s lost control of a situation. That’s an awful feeling for any politician, but especially for one who so prizes control, and who prides himself on playing political chess while his opponents play checkers. It’s the classic tale of a pol so consumed with avoiding a short-term image hit that he risked his long-term freedom. (I know the story well, because five years ago this week I lost control of a similar situation and ended up in prison for obstruction of justice.)
U.S. Investors Seem Unaware of Bull Market's Strong Gains
Fewer than one in 10 aware that stocks averaged 30% increase in 2013
Sahil Kapur:
Can President Barack Obama temporarily legalize 5 million undocumented immigrants by himself?

That question has sparked a heated debate as the White House ponders the legal questions surrounding an unprecedented executive action on immigration that it says it will unveil by the end of this summer. The political implications are explosive as conservative Republicans are already floating impeachment of Obama if he unilaterally grants relief to millions of undocumented immigrants.

So, how much power does Obama have in this area?

Des Moines Register:
After Rand Paul's three-day mad dash across Iowa last week, zigzagging around the presidential testing grounds for 800 miles, he appears the most likely to declare a White House bid among all the politicos putting out feelers in the first-in-the-nation voting state.

Paul is a Republican U.S. senator from Kentucky and the son of three-time presidential candidate and former Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.

Here are some observations from his visit last week.

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