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Good work, Maryland!

Maryland insurance officials approved final rates Friday for health plans to be sold in the state’s new online marketplace that are among the lowest in the country. The plans, which are for individuals, will be sold beginning Oct. 1.
The Maryland Insurance Administration approved premiums at levels as much as 33 percent below what had been requested by insurance carriers. For a 21-year-old non-smoker, for example, options start as low as $93 a month. Insurance Commissioner Therese Goldsmith reduced the premium rates proposed by every insurance carrier in the individual market, including some by more than 50 percent, according to an analysis by Maryland officials who will be operating the marketplace.
The rates offered by nine carriers are among the lowest of the 12 states that have proposed or approved rates for comparison to date, and among the lowest in the D.C. area.
“We are pleased that Maryland is among the lowest in the country,” said the state’s health secretary, Joshua Sharfstein. He said the rates were an important step for the launch of the online marketplace, the Maryland Health Connection.

Be careful when reading press releases on rates in the exchanges. Certain states are just flat-out lying. Here’s Indiana’s absolutely ridiculous (but probably successful) attempt to make the rates appear higher than they are:

Witness the latest example of political skullduggery playing out in the great State of Indiana where GOP Governor Mike Pence has found it necessary to take extreme liberties with the reporting of the state’s healthcare exchange data—all to justify his anti-Obamacare political positioning.
Anyone paying attention to data projecting what a health insurance policy will likely cost on the newly formed individual policy insurance exchanges could hardly miss the headlines late last week announcing that premiums for health insurance policies stood to rise to an average monthly price of $570—a 72 percent increase over current rates in Indiana.
Of course, if this data is correct, it would be quite a blow to Indiana residents at the hand of the dreaded Obamacare.
At first glance—the only glance the Indiana officials intend for you to see—this is certainly disturbing news. Even those willing to accept the projections and claims made by the President during last week’s health care address—where he referred to the ‘good news’ in California, Oregon, Washington and, particularly, New York—would have to come to the understanding that there may, indeed, be states where the law is going to badly hurt consumers.
You see, while the states that have already released their projections have based their price expectations on what insurance company filings suggest will be the cost of a ‘Silver’ plan (the second least expensive option to be offered on the exchanges), Indiana decided to publish their projections based on a calculation that took all the levels of plans to be offered—ranging from the less expensive Bronze and Silver plan to the most expensive Gold and Platinum plans—and averaged them all together to come up with their projected rates.
As Sy Mukherjee points out, “That’s like saying the average cost of a car in an Indiana dealership is $100,000 because it sells $20,000 Fords, $60,000 BMWs, and $220,000 Lamborghinis — technically true, but highly misleading.”

Of course, there was no real reason for “headlines” to consist of near-random words copied off a press release, but that’s what happened. Oh, well. I hope no one in Indiana actually needs health insurance!

Ohio’s Mary Taylor has also been caught lying about insurance rates. Taylor may have come up with the specific lie mechanism that Indiana later relied on (she was first) so there’s a lot of innovation and creativity going on in conservative policy circles regarding how best to misrepresent the facts.

My own take on it is people who live in states with competent government and at least a semi-functioning, not-completely-corrupt regulatory team will do better on price than those of us who live in states run by ambitious GOP hacks, but that’s probably true in most things.

58 replies
  1. 1
    PsiFighter37 says:

    That assclown Rick Perry has been going on commercials trying to entice businesses to come to Texas. Maybe we should have commercials of Jerry Brown, Andrew Cuomo, and Martin O’Malley encouraging folks to come to the liberal coastal enclaves because health insurance will cost less.

    I know, there are other considerations (living in NY or CA is going to be more expensive than TX, etc.), but the point is: there’s got to be some way to make it abundantly clear to the masses (and maybe even some of the 27%ers) that ACA is actually going to help improve their lives.

  2. 2
    piratedan says:

    further evidence that the folks on the other side really don’t want the ACA to work and will knowingly mislead the public in order to do so. Public health be damned, we have a theologically ideological state to implement here!

  3. 3
    Kay says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    I think you’d need a price disparity within a region or area for that to happen. In the Maryland story, they compare to DC and VA, which will probably be typical of what we’ll see.
    Unfortunately, IN, MI and OH will be competing to see which state can come up with the highest (reported!) prices.

  4. 4
    Dave says:

    You’d think some conservatives would notice that the ACA only appears to be (read: is only presented as) working in states where the leadership is actually trying to make it work. But then, of course, the logical conclusion would be to try to make it work, and work better, everywhere. So they’re probably much more content accusing moochers of stealing their healthcare.

  5. 5
    Cermet says:

    Where are the drones when you need them?

  6. 6
    Gretchen says:

    Texas touts it’s lack of an income tax as an inducement to move there. As my wingnut sister says, “what you make, you keep”. Unfortunately, they make it up in high sales taxes, and low services – pay for toll roads and private schools, and your income tax savings are a bit less significant.

  7. 7
    Violet says:

    @PsiFighter37: Will insurance for businesses end up costing more in states like Texas, though? Is that true? Because Perry is trying to entice businesses to move to Texas and they’re larger enough to buy policies not available to the average person.

  8. 8
    SatanicPanic says:

    Is that Indiana thing for real? What the fuck? Jeezus

  9. 9
    ArchTeryx says:

    @SatanicPanic: Nobody’s better at cutting off their own nose to spite their face as red-state governors and legislatures.

    Call them what they are: Refusenik states.

  10. 10
    The Dangerman says:

    @Dave:

    You’d think some conservatives would notice that the ACA only appears to be (read: is only presented as) working in states where the leadership is actually trying to make it work.

    By 2016, it will be “Red States are subsidizing Blue States”; all part of the liberal conspiracy.

  11. 11
    karen says:

    As someone who lives in Maryland and is paying $319 a month for COBRA that’s great news!

  12. 12
    Kay says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Yup:

    Top officials in Ohio and Indiana who oppose the law have issued dire, misleading forecasts — roundly debunked by analysts — that the law will raise premiums to astronomical levels. And the House Republican Conference is advising its members on how to organize “emergency health care” town hall meetings during the August recess to denounce the law. The goal is to ignite passionate opposition to the measure, like that stirred up by Tea Party activists at town hall meetings in the past.

    I don’t know why they’re surprised. Even I tire of all this ineffectual feigned outrage on editorial pages: “Republicans are behaving the same way they’ve behaved since 2009!” It’s been going on since the beginning. We had Tea Party “activists” attend an informational meeting on the small business portion of the law, last year. They were there to disrupt. Nearly half the meeting was a complete waste of time for people who came to learn something.

  13. 13
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Gretchen: All you have to do is say the magic word “Freedom”™, though, and the argument stops.

    Because Freedom™ isn’t free™. It has to be paid for.

    Freedom™ is what you’re really buying with those sales taxes, That’s what you’re getting, in exchange for public services not delivered — and you know who uses those public services — I know you do.

    That dull thump in the distance isn’t a fertilizer distribution site blowing up — it’s the sound of Freedom™!

    (Freedom™, and Free™, are registered trademarks of the Republican National Committee. Used with permission. All rights reserved.)

  14. 14
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @SatanicPanic: They’re not ‘lying’. They’re serving a higher good.

    You might have to do some violence to the facts sometimes, but it’s all in the service of freedom, and saving America. Stuff like that.

    Adherence to the facts can wait for a better day, when the threat to the Republic. has receded.

    Remember, extremism in defense of extremism is no vice.

  15. 15
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Dave: it’s not just that it seems to be working in states where the government is trying. It also appears that making it work doesn’t require rocket science and magical effort.

  16. 16
    WereBear says:

    @Gretchen: Texas touts it’s lack of an income tax as an inducement to move there. As my wingnut sister says, “what you make, you keep”. Unfortunately, they make it up in high sales taxes, and low services – pay for toll roads and private schools, and your income tax savings are a bit less significant.

    Reminds me of how so many small business people plan to sell the business and retire to a place with no income tax… just when they need those kinds of services the most!

    And why aren’t they operating a business there in the first place? Because, despite what Wingnuts think, such states are terrible to do business in.

  17. 17
    aimai says:

    @PsiFighter37: Law of unintended consequences–people who are young and who are generally in jobs that are temporary or put them onto the individual insurance market are going to move, and move rapidly, to states where they can have ready access to low cost health insurance. Why wouldn’t you? This is going to create an even more massive drain on the kinds of people who can be mobile, and be devastating to their families. This is just the beginning of a nationwide conversation that parents (even older white republican parents) are going to have with their kids when their kids refuse to come back from college experiences in other states with good insurance policies. In the end maybe this confusion is going to be good for the dialogue because it prevents Ohio (ultimately, not at the outset) from being able to claim that this is the outcome of Obamacare or some other difference between states. When your kid tells you he won’t move home because Ohio’s rates are too high or nonexistent what are you going to do? You are going to call your representative and raise holy hell or get really, really, pissed off. I’d love to see someone run ads in Ohio “What’s Maryland Got that We haven’t Got? Affordable health care! Ask a Democratic Representative how that works!”

  18. 18
    Zifnab25 says:

    @Dave:

    But then, of course, the logical conclusion would be to try to make it work, and work better, everywhere.

    That doesn’t sound very business friendly to me. If state governments want to appeal to business interests outside of their state, they need to make it look like their state charges the highest prices for everything from milk to melanoma treatments. Why would I want to open up a branch office in Maryland, where insurance rates are $93/mo when I can do business in the great state of $570/mo Indiana, after all?

  19. 19

    Makes me kinda proud to be a Marylander today.

  20. 20
    SectarianSofa says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    Gah. I know Texas won’t be Dipshit Fucking Central Hickfuckington and AssclownJesusCentrul with Libertardian GunsLoveMySuccess Wizards forever, but damn. Just visited my sister in California, and while California has its own issues, it makes me cry to go home to near Dallas and see these fuckin’ ‘Come and Take It’ bumper stickers with AK-47s on them, driving down the highways next to the indiscreetly uncharming maseratis, bmws, and porsches racing towards the bank.

    @Gretchen:
    The roads have historically been great in Texas ; toll roads are a recent and not universaly embraced ‘innovation’. Versus CA, NY, it’s still going to be a cheaper place to live according to the data I’ve seen — (housing, food, etc..). Lots of land, so real estate is not subject to the same kind of scarcity inflation. There are good public schools, but you have to be mobile (i.e., not poor) to move near to them. Sales tax is more of a problem if you’re poor, of course, as it’s essentially a regressive tax.

  21. 21
    Violet says:

    @aimai: You’re more optimistic about that than I am. Are kids really going to refuse to move because of health insurance? Can’t they just stay on their parents policy until 26? Won’t that blunt some of that issue? Is there any data projection on how it might work–young people migration to states with cheap health insurance? How did it work in MA? Did a bunch of people move there for the health insurance?

  22. 22
    AHH onnan Android FYGoog says:

    @Gretchen: and high crime rate

    Give me progressive income taxes any day

    Doesnt high sales taxes disincentivize business? Ditto bed tax, medallion fees, bus terminal fees, car tax, tag fees, cab fare tax, etc etc?

  23. 23
    Yatsuno says:

    States that enact ACA will get more healthy and stable populations. States that fight it will fall further and further behind. WA is getting rolling by expanding the SCHIP program to get more Medicaid eligibles involved. Also this idea seems very exciting to me. Basically, if you don’t have an insurance card, you’re presumed eligible for Medicaid unless shown to be otherwise, and until that point MEDICAID PAYS THE BILL. I had no idea that was in ACA, and that’s awesome.

  24. 24
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Violet: I kept hearing, back around the time of the Brown-Coakley special election, about how many moved to New Hampshire to get out from under the mandate… but i think that’s an artifact of the circles in which I travel

  25. 25
    gbear says:

    @aimai: The states that are doing the most to block ADA implementation also seem to be the ones that are doing the most to disenfranchise voters, so why would anyone young (college age) and mobile want to settle in places geared towards white old Fox watchers?

    “What’s Maryland Got that We haven’t Got? Affordable health care! Ask a Democratic Representative how that works!”

    Shorten it up a bit and it makes a good bumper sticker too.(Maybe change Democratic Representative to just plain Democrat. The teabaggers are more familiar with that word anyway, and it would be fitting to rub their noses in it).

  26. 26
    Burnspbesq says:

    Come 10/1, people in places like Ohio and Indiana are going to start logging on to the exchanges, getting real rate quotes, and realizing that they were lied to by their elected officials. Do these idjits really believe there will be no blow-back?

  27. 27
    SectarianSofa says:

    @WereBear:

    “And why aren’t they operating a business there in the first place? Because, despite what Wingnuts think, such states are terrible to do business in. “

    Is this a data-less assertion? This sounds like saying incorporating the Virgin Islands or Bahamas or sheltering money somewhere is actually costing businesses money. BIg Corps lie about many things, but they aren’t generally stupid about how to many easy money.

    It looks to me like the business-friendly states are indeed business-friendly. What the states have a problem with is people-friendliness. Services towards people may trend towards non-existence, but as long as consumers exist somewhere (else) for the corporations, so what? (For the business.) Business-friendly, in Texas, means ‘love the business, screw the people’ as far as I can tell.

  28. 28
    aimai says:

    @Violet:

    I’m not thinking of kids under 26 but decreasing numbers of people have parents who have health insurance policies so I’m not sure that this is going to be the issue. I haven’t seen any numbers. MA is a high COL state and I know we have seen depopulation, supposedly because of that. On the other hand the ability of almost everyone to afford health insurance I’m pretty sure factors into people’s decisions about moving away to jobs that don’t have comperable health insurance. Maybe that creates “health care lock” for people who are already at the bottom of the barrel financially, and those are not people that Ohio or Michigan want to keep in state anyway. But they do have families. I just think the existence of affordable insurance in some states is going to start factoring into people’s decisions, to the extent they have a decision to make, over the course of the next few years and I don’t think that Ohio or Michigan is going to be able to embargo the information that other states are making this work for all their citizens.

  29. 29

    The low cost of a bronze plan for a 21-yo non-smoker is not exactly an honest summary of the available options either.

    The PPACA is going to affect people at different income levels and ages very differently, and I am very much concerned that both the higher prices and conditions at particular levels is going to make the system a great many enemies.

  30. 30
    SectarianSofa says:

    @aimai:

    Dingnuts tend to impose self-embargos on their information, with the help of Foxnews et al.. It’s better than the Great Firewall of China, if they don’t *want* to get out.

    I hope ambient sense will seep in, anyway.

  31. 31
    Kay says:

    @The Raven on the Hill:

    The reason they use bronze and silver is because that’s what most people buy:

    “In Massachusetts, 8 percent of enrollees bought a gold plan. Eighty-four percent chose bronze or silver.

    A 21 year old could go cheaper than the rate in the piece, actually. He or she could buy a catastrophic plan, which is available to those under 30. They probably won’t, because it looks like the bronze-silver with the subsidy is a better deal.

  32. 32
    aimai says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I think that’s bogus. People have always moved to NH to escape MA taxes, while continuing to work in MA and getting their health care through their MA job. The people who moved up to NH full time are choosing a low tax/low service state where land is cheaper. But if they are continuing to work in MA they probably are keeping the same health insurance–no Mandate involved.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Obama needs to get off his thin black ass and fire up those FEMA reedumacation camps for these Rethug swine.

  34. 34
    Violet says:

    @aimai: I agree with you that fewer parents have health insurance so it’s less of an issue for kids being on their policies. Also agree that other states won’t be able too embargo the information. The internet makes that kind of thinking obsolete. Red state residents who have friends or relatives in California or Maryland will be able to see them get insurance for themselves or their families at a fraction of what they themselves pay. That kind of information won’t stay hidden. But it also may not be super easy for people to find and policies vary, apples and oranges, etc.

    I do think people will blame their elected officials, but will they blame the right ones? Won’t they just end up blaming “Obamacare”? And whose fault is it that Obamacare exists? Democrats and Obama. So I’m not convinced wingnuts will be get the blame. I just don’t know–I guess none of us really do. I hope you optimistic folks are right and people end up blaming the wingnuts!

  35. 35
    Yatsuno says:

    @Violet:

    Won’t they just end up blaming “Obamacare”? And whose fault is it that Obamacare exists? Democrats and Obama.

    Fox News and Rushbo will get their Koch talking points about every flaw in ACA and make sure that info is spread out to their listeners loud and often. And yes they will blame the blah guy in the White House and the Democrats because socialism. And dirty hippies.

  36. 36
    aimai says:

    @Violet: I can’t remember where I saw this but I did just see a link to a video interview with some sweet but stupid women who oppose “Obamacare” but who don’t know anything about the “ACA.” My guess is that people who need to access health insurance are simply going to move seamlessly from “horrible/dangerous idea” to “perfectly wonderful.” They just won’t connect the two.

  37. 37
    hamletta says:

    I think Tennessee refused to set up an exchange and will leave it to the Feds, which is a good thing, because they’d just fuck it up.

    But don’t think this isn’t figuring into my decision-making process when my church calls a pastor and I’m free to leave my job. My stepdad kinda wants me to move back to Maryland so he wont be all alone in my mom’s dream house, and I’m going to inherit it anyway.

  38. 38
    hamletta says:

    @aimai: I think the interview you’re thinking about is at the GOS.

    A guy and his daughter were making a CNN iReport in Texas and swiveled the camera around to interview two self-described conservative women.

  39. 39
    👾 Martin says:

    @The Raven on the Hill:

    The PPACA is going to affect people at different income levels and ages very differently, and I am very much concerned that both the higher prices and conditions at particular levels is going to make the system a great many enemies.

    I doubt that. There’s nobody out there being a loss leader on individual healthcare, so the only folks that would see noticeable premium increases are the bronze plans as ACA minimum benefits raise the bar on states that allowed for policies with very high deductibles, etc. Part of the benefit of how ACA was rolled out is that some of those minimum standards were raised in 2011, so many of the price increases already happened. These exchanges should lower prices for almost everyone.

  40. 40
    Violet says:

    @aimai: I remember that video! Can’t remember where I saw it either. People love all the individual provisions of Obamacare–no pre-existing conditions, kids stay on parents policies, subsidies, price controls, etc. They just don’t like “Obamacare”. People are idiots.

    There needs to be some sort of PAC doing “Like getting health insurance without getting denied for pre-existing conditions? That’s Obamacare!” commercials. People already like it, they just don’t know they like it. Someone needs to help them connect the dots.

    @The Raven on the Hill:

    The PPACA is going to affect people at different income levels and ages very differently, and I am very much concerned that both the higher prices and conditions at particular levels is going to make the system a great many enemies.

    I agree that this may be a problem. We had a thread a month ago or so where I pointed out that direct costs to me had gone up considerably from last year. People in a similar situation to me, getting employer-based health insurance, may think “Obamacare” is to blame for all of it–and they might be right about some of it, depending on what they’re talking about. It’s very hard for people to parse out what their health insurance used to cost and what it costs now unless they’ve been buying policies on the open market and can compare. People who get employer-based insurance don’t know the details. They just know what their monthly payroll deduction is and how much their deductible is and what their out-of-pocket costs are. In my instance all of that has gone up, some of it quite dramatically, since last year.

  41. 41
    SectarianSofa says:

    @AHH onnan Android FYGoog:

    “Doesnt high sales taxes disincentivize business? Ditto bed tax, medallion fees, bus terminal fees, car tax, tag fees, cab fare tax, etc etc?”

    See, most of Texas doesn’t have any of these fees. Lots or roads and cheap gas, and everyone owns at least one car. It’s Freedom! Anyway, I don’t think these are encumbering business, they’re just chipping away at workers’ usable incomes.

  42. 42
    Emerald says:

    @Burnspbesq: Exactly. And in those states that have refused to implement the exchanges, the Feds are doing it for them. So the Rs have missed their opportunity to fuck up their exchanges.

    I imagine their prices will be higher than the blue states’, because they’re still forcing their hospitals to pay for their folks who won’t get expanded Medicaid and that eventually flows back to the insurance companies, but enough folks will log on to the exchanges and see that things are better than they used to be.

    You can’t keep that information secret for long, no matter how much you discourage people from participating.

    Gotta be some blowback when people learn the truth firsthand. And they will.

  43. 43
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Violet: We get coverage through my husband’s job, and while it is still very good coverage, the deductables and co-pays took a huge jump last year. I don’t blame the ACA, I blame the useless, try-to-kill-you-so-the-CEO-gets-another-yacht greedhead insurance companies.

    I had always thought that nothing would change in the US until more middle class people get nailed/bankrupted by our perverse health insurance system; now that the Boomers are hitting the part of life where medical costs start trending up I expect to see the undercurrent of unrest that is already simmering here in post-financial meltdown USA pick up a notch or two.

    I watched both my democratic senators do a presentation here in CO allowing Alan Simpson and the rest to tout the Simpson-Bowles plan; all shook their heads with great concern about the rising cost of Medicare. I wanted to stand up a scream “this gets solved by single payer and tax reform, why don’t you lazy bastards ever consider supporting THAT?” For all the lack of pony distribution that some liberals complain about, I wonder if it ever crosses their minds that (1) the opposition is willing to kill the country in order to avoid a half measure like ACA, and (2) that while ACA may be a half measure in their eyes, it may be the only thing that saves the middle class and maybe even turns our fortunes around after 30 years of being raped by the rentier class.

  44. 44
    Violet says:

    @StringOnAStick:

    We get coverage through my husband’s job, and while it is still very good coverage, the deductables and co-pays took a huge jump last year. I don’t blame the ACA, I blame the useless, try-to-kill-you-so-the-CEO-gets-another-yacht greedhead insurance companies.

    I blame them too. I just don’t know if low-info citizens and people who generally vote Republican will do the same thing. People have been hearing about “Obamacare” for a couple of years now. It’s supposed to lower costs. In your and my situation, our costs have gone up. We are placing the blame where it belongs. How many people are doing that?

  45. 45
    aimai says:

    @SectarianSofa: Texas is about to lose “good roads” apparently. According to a press release, rather incoherently, due to the “oil boom” they are going to rip up miles of road and replace it with gravel. That’s right: gravel. Sure, you can “keep more of what you earn” but you are going to end up replacing your car tires more frequently, and waiting at washed out roads more.

  46. 46
    WereBear says:

    @SectarianSofa: It all depends on what lens you view things with. If you need healthy workers with skills, a reliable infrastructure, and people around with money and are willing to spend it, seems like a blue state is going to beat a red state. There are metrics which back me up on that.

  47. 47
    Glocksman says:

    The crap my ‘beloved’ Governor is pulling is merely proof of the old adage that ‘Figures lie and liars figure’.
    After 8 years of Daniels and months of Pence, I’d pull up stakes and move over the bridge to Henderson, but KY has it even worse.
    Though I guess at least their Senators actually live in the state.

  48. 48
    Ruckus says:

    @WereBear:
    This.
    CA and NY have some of the highest COL in the country and yet how many people live there? Lots.
    And the states with low COL? How many people want to live there? Not nearly as many. The better places to live cost more. What a shock. Sometimes we get what we pay for. Or at least we get something better.

  49. 49
    Ahh fywp deletor of infos says:

    @aimai: Of course they do not wish for the lumpenproles to flee–lower unemployment will give labor more power while landlords’ worlds slip through their fingers.

    No, like tge medieval Catholic Church they aim to create the vale of tears and keep the poor pregnant, hungry, and in debt.

  50. 50
    SectarianSofa says:

    @WereBear:

    I don’t doubt that a blue state will (or should, barring this and that), beat a red state, but that would require long-term thinking. Red states and politicians don’t seem to look ahead more than 4 years or so.
    I agree that the ‘business-friendly’ environments (such as Texas) are bogus successes, at least in the sense that they are self-undermining, as they give short term gains to companies, and longer term hits to the population.

    Happy CEOs don’t care though, as they will simply take advantage of whatever favorable conditions we suckers will given them, while selling ourselves out. (But then, the politicians get to move into lobbying or whatever they like ; they don’t have to stick around in the economic basins they’ve dug for the rest.)

  51. 51
    Dolly Llama says:

    @aimai: I’ve been thinking about your hypothesis above about young people naturally migrating toward states where healthcare is cheaper for them, and those look to be the blue states, at least at this stage in the rollout of Obamacare.

    Won’t that tend to further pack blue votes into blue states since the under-30 set is pretty solidly Democratic? It would exaggerate state-level gerrymandering that is already grievously unfair.

  52. 52
    SectarianSofa says:

    @Ruckus:

    “CA and NY have some of the highest COL in the country and yet how many people live there? Lots.
    And the states with low COL? How many people want to live there? Not nearly as many”

    TX is no. 2 in state population, FL is 4 ; COL in both is low, I believe. I don’t think this is the relevant distinction.

    If I’m scoring states, I’m more interested in how well states take care of their people (poor, sick, etc..), how much economic opportunity and mobility there is, educational opportunities and success, income disparity, etc..
    On this, TX is a failure, notwithstanding the excellent sales of BMWs or golf club memberships for the happy ones at the top.

  53. 53
    SectarianSofa says:

    @Dolly Llama:

    The ones most in need of cheap health care are the least mobile, and least likely to vote, I’d guess.

  54. 54
    SectarianSofa says:

    @aimai:

    Hmm. That seems unlikely. But I’m sure the race to the bottom (for Texas) would be unhindered by bumpier roads.

  55. 55
    SectarianSofa says:

    @SectarianSofa:

    @aimai:

    This apparently refers to 83 miles of roads, per democraticundergound. “Approximately 83 miles of asphalt roads will be torn up and converted to “unpaved” road”. But there are tens of thousands of miles of paved roadways currently, so 83 is unremarkable.

  56. 56
    Saucy says:

    I love living in Maryland. It is just really nice living in a well-governed state: Dream Act, marriage equality, no serious budget difficulties, a gas tax paying for renewable energy…it’s a good list. O’Malley gets some percentage of credit but mostly it is due to the absence of a Republican Party with any authority; they are a 35-40% rump who can be safely ignored. We have our issues but we also have people trying to meaningfully address them, rather than making Pence-esque political points.

  57. 57
    debbie says:

    @Kay:

    The minute Kasich named her director of the Department of Insurance, I knew there would be trouble. She’s as dishonest as the day is long. Always has been.

    Isn’t there any way that politicians like her can be impeached for selective enforcement of laws?

  58. 58
    steve says:

    Today’s Las Vegas RJ headlines said Nevada ins. Rates wil probably rise. Of course they dont know yet for sure…… lying liars. I cancelled my subscription.

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