What We're Reading - July 16
Good morning everyone! The National Governor’s Association gathered this weekend in Williamsburg, VA, for their annual meeting. Now, the question on everyone’s mind is how they will implement Obamacare in their home states. Will they join Texas Governor Rick Perry in rejecting this expansion? Here’s what we’re reading this morning….
The future of Medicaid in the states... “GOP governors name their price on health care law expansion”—“Two dozen Republican governors fought all the way to the Supreme Court to win the right to reject President Barack Obama’s expansion of Medicaid under the health care law. However, just a few weeks after the Supreme Court sided with them, some of these governors are leaving themselves an opening to expand Medicaid anyway — but on their own terms. Five Republican governors said Friday they would consider expanding the program if the feds gave them Medicaid dollars in block grants, which has been a goal of Republicans since the 1990s. That was when the states had their strongest leverage, with the help of a Republican Congress, to demand freedom from federal rules to reshape the social safety net the way they wanted it. They pushed a welfare reform bill that President Bill Clinton signed into law, and almost had the same success with Medicaid block grants. That idea was too much for Clinton, and he vetoed the bill that passed Congress. And the idea mostly dropped away after that. It stayed on the Republican radar, but it didn’t get far enough to become part of a serious national conversation. But now, the GOP governors have a friendly audience in the Republican House for that kind of flexible, no-strings-attached approach to Medicaid. And they think that, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling on the Medicaid part of the health law, they now have more power to demand it from the Obama administration.”
The dream of repealing Obamacare “on day one” may be more difficult then it seems. “Repealing Obama’s health care law won’t be easy even if GOP wins it all in November.” — “WASHINGTON — Yes, if Mitt Romney wins the White House and his Republican allies retake the Senate, he could shred most of President Barack Obama’s health care law without having to overpower a Democratic filibuster. But it won’t be as easy as some Republicans portend, and it certainly won’t be quick. Why? Because any realistic effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act — as opposed to last week’s quixotic vote in the GOP-controlled House — is sure to get jumbled together with lots of other issues, including Medicare, taxes, food stamps and defense spending. And that’s because Republicans have to first pass a budget. It’s the only way than can invoke special Senate rules that allow legislation to pass with just a simple majority vote — instead of the 60 votes needed in the 100-member Senate to beat a filibuster. Passing a budget requires answering a raft of questions unrelated to the relatively simple idea of repealing ‘Obamacare.’ How much to cut the deficit? Should Medicare be overhauled and Medicaid bear sharp cuts? Is it realistic to sharply boost defense programs, as Romney would like, in such an atmosphere?”
Dispelling the myths of the new health care law, what we really face. “Five Obamacare Myths” — “ON the subject of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare, to reclaim the name critics have made into a slur — a number of fallacies seem to be congealing into accepted wisdom. Much of this is the result of unrelenting Republican propaganda and right-wing punditry, but it has gone largely unchallenged by gun-shy Democrats. The result is that voters are confronted with slogans and side issues — ‘It’s a tax!’ ‘No, it’s a penalty!’ — rather than a reality-based discussion. Let’s unpack a few of the most persistent myths. OBAMACARE IS A JOB-KILLER. The House Republican majority was at it again last week, staging the 33rd theatrical vote to roll back the Affordable Care Act. And once again the cliché of the day was ‘job-killer.’ After years of trying out various alarmist falsehoods the Republicans have found one that seems, judging from the polls, to have connected with the fears of voters….The impartial truth squad FactCheck.org has debunked the job-killer claim so many times that in its latest update you can hear a groan of weary frustration: words like ‘whopper’ and ‘bogus’ and ‘hooey.’ The job-killer claim is also discredited by the experience under the Massachusetts law on which Obamacare was modeled.”