Open Thread: Sen. Warren Charms Stephen Colbert — And His Audience

It seemed to have been an excellent episode… and just possibly, some portion of the viewing public seems to be ready for a ‘schoolmarm’ president who at least we’re sure can read!








Kansas Medicaid expansion moves forward

Medicaid Expansion took another step forward in Kansas.

We know from 2017 that the Kansas House and Senate had a working majority to pass Medicaid Expansion. Then Governor Brownback (R) vetoed the bill and the legislature was a few votes short of overriding the veto.

Recently elected Governor Kelly (D) has made Medicaid Expansion one of her priorities. The governor’s mansion and signature will not be a stopping point of an expansion. The bill still needs to go through the Senate where the Senate majority leader is an opponent and is not under any obligation to schedule a vote.

One of the modifications that passed in the Kansas House last night was a premium requirement. This will make currently insured individuals who are low healthcare spenders worse off.

Right now, a single individual earning precisely 100% +$1 of the Federal Poverty Level pays $21 per month for the benchmark Silver plan with a 94% CSR benefit. A family of four earning $25,600 currently pays $44 for the benchmark Silver plan. These families will pay more in monthly premiums by 20% or 120%. There will be a lower out of pocket expense if they are using a lot of services. Low utilizers who are currently buying on-Exchange plans will be worse off.

This is a value judgement on the probability of a counterfactual. Is a Medicaid expansion that makes some people worse off worth it? In my moral universe, it is as right now, as a single forty year old earning under 100% FPL in Wichita is paying $375 a month for the cheapest plan. The premium is at least three-eighths of this person’s annual income. That plan’s deductible is over half of their annual income. Less than optimal Medicaid Expansion makes these folks far better off.








Saturday Morning Open Thread: Democrats Are Pro-Voters; Repubs Are Not

The Washington Post, paper of record in the company town where national politics is the monopoly industry, has a good explainer:

The House approved a far-reaching elections and ethics bill Friday — one that would change the way congressional elections are funded, impose new voter-access mandates on states and, in one of several provisions targeting President Trump, force disclosure of presidential candidates’ tax returns.

Democrats dubbed the bill H.R. 1, a designation meant to signal its place as a centerpiece of their congressional agenda. The measure, which has more than 500 pages, contains dozens of provisions favored by liberal advocacy groups, labor unions and other Democratic allies.

“It’s a power grab, a power grab on behalf of the people,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at an event on the Capitol steps ahead of the planned vote.

The bill is headed for a brick wall in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has made clear it will not get a vote. However, Democrats and their allies said the bill’s passage would build momentum for action in coming years if and when Democrats solidify control in Washington.

“If Mitch McConnell is the immovable object, H.R. 1 is the unstoppable force,” said Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), the lead author of the bill. “We’ll keep pushing on it.”…

Read the whole thing for a full list of the bill’s (excellent!) provisions.

Ed Kilgore, at NYMag:

Aside from its scope, what’s most remarkable about HR1 is that every single House Democrat voted for it… And every Republicans voted against it, which means the GOP is determined to use barriers to full participation in elections — along with related abuses like partisan gerrymandering and unregulated campaign spending — to maintain its competitive position, regardless of public opinion….

The vote on HR1 should also provide something of a counterargument to all the recent “Democrats in disarray” story lines stemming from intraparty debates over socialism or Israel. No, the bill won’t even get a hearing in the Senate, where Mitch McConnell has denounced it as the “Democrat Politician Protection Act.” Mitch has a point: It might well help Democrats in the long run, for the rather honorable reason that they are defending rather than resisting the full expression of the popular will.








Repub Venality Open Thread: Careful What You Wish For…

Devin Nunes this weekend, from the warm damp embrace of CPAC:

The House Judiciary Committee, today:

The requests are not at this point subpoenas, and some are likely to face vigorous objection from their targets. Some receiving the document requests are attorneys like Don McGahn and Jay Sekulow, the latter of whom Cohen testified was instrumental in misleading Congress on client Trump’s behalf. To mitigate likely objections of executive privilege, the letters sent to witnesses say they may limit the documents they provide the committee to materials already provided to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Southern District of New York and other judicial or legislative entities.

Some of the targets of the requests give indications of where the myriad congressional investigations into Donald Trump, also pursued by the House intelligence, ways and means and oversight committees, are headed.

Receiving document requests were Alexander Nix, Cambridge Analytica, parent entity the SCL Group, and Trump campaign data expert Brad Parscale. Among the materials sought by investigators are “discussions or attempts to provide or receive election information… with, to or from foreign entities or individuals in connection with the 2016 U.S. presidential primary or general elections.”…

From Blackwater founder and potential Trump diplomatic backchannel Erik Prince, as well as current Prince venture Frontier Services Group, any material about Russia, lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia, “the contents of meetings between President Trump and Vladimir Putin, and any contacts during the campaign or transition “with or regarding the Russian Federation, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, or Saudi Arabia.”

From Erickson and the NRA—which is also the subject of at least two Senate inquiries—information on “any loan, financing transaction or investment by the Russian Federation, any Russian national, any Russian business, or any other Russian entity to the Trump Organization, Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, or any of their Business Interests.”…

And so many more!


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Repub RatFvckery Open Thread: ‘Roger Who?


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