Saturday, October 17, 2015

Last Call For McObtuse

The administration is expecting barely any increase in enrollment in Obamacare next year. The forecast is for enrollment of only 10 million, just a smidge higher than the 9.9 million currently enrolled.

If enrollment growth has truly stalled out, that would be big news. The Congressional Budget Office had originally forecast that 22 million people would enroll in the exchanges in 2016. Some of this disparity may be because fewer employers are “dumping” employees onto the exchanges, but at best this could account for less than half of the shortfall. Mostly, this represents people who were expected to sign up declining to do so.

Of course, the Obama administration's estimate could be a lowball. After the embarrassing performance when Obamacare began, officials have tended to underpromise, enabling them to trumpet a nice “upside surprise” when they tell the public about enrollment.

Still, even if there is an upside surprise, it’s more likely to be on the order of a million or so than the missing 12 million people who were expected to be on the exchanges. What should we take from this?

She goes through a lot of factors, but finally arrives at the real answer at the end of her piece.

Obamacare has undoubtedly produced a large drop in the number of uninsured. But if the administration is correct, then that decline will be less than half of what was originally expected, both because of the underenrollment in exchange policies and because so many states didn’t expand their Medicaid programs. The program may be shaping up as a modest expansion of Medicaid, coupled with a more robust version of the old high-risk pools.

What's this, Megan?

You mean millions of people who could have had heath insurance continue to be denied because Republicans made sure that the program doesn't work in their states and sabotaged the risk-pool programs that were meant to help cushion the transition?

Imagine that.

It's really saying something that even McMegan admits that Republican sabotage may in fact be contributing to why 12 million expected people aren't on insurance exchanges, especially when she complains that insurance is all about the Law of Large Numbers.  When you deny large numbers of people access to the program, the risk isn't spread out as much.

Amazing how that works.  What even more amazing is how McArdle gets paid to write this stupidity.

Rand's Clock Is Running Out

The clock is ticking on Rand Paul's presidential run.  Erick Erickson over at Red State is calling on him to withdraw from the race, and as a result Paul has gone the full Trump in order to stay in it.

In what may be close to the most over-the-top claims made by Republicans about potential Democratic rival Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said Sanders’ election could lead to “mass genocide.”

Sanders is a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, an economic model normally associated with Scandinavian countries that boast high quality of life. But Paul, like Texas state Rep. Jason Villalba, fear mongered by comparing Sanders to historical monsters who used the word “socialist” in their party names, Right Wing Watch reports.

Paul linked Sanders to murderous dictators like of Pol Pot and Josef Stalin.

“It amazes me and it actually kind of scares me,” Paul told South Carolina radio host Vince Coakley. “I think it’s not an accident of history that most of the times when socialism has been tried that attendant with that has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it. Stalin killed tens of millions of people. Mao killed tens of millions of people. Pol Pot killed tens of millions of people.”

Paul went on to ignore the “democratic” in democratic socialist when he said,” When you have a command economy, when everything is dictated from one authority, that’s socialism, but it doesn’t come easily to those who resist it.”

And so Bernie Sanders will kill tens of millions of people too! Duh!

Paul doesn't get that as a Republican in office who hasn't stopped Obama, and hasn't repealed Obamacare or impeached the President or deported tens of millions of brown people, who hasn't outlawed same-sex marriage everywhere, who hasn't declared all Democrats ineligible to vote forevermore, that he's the Enemy now of the GOP primary nutjob voter.  There is nothing he can say or that he can do to save his campaign at this point.

But he sure is trying.

Republicans are exactly who we thought they were, folks.

Who Can Trump Trump? Not Rubio

The Village expected Donald Trump to have been dispatched by now, and for the Very Serious People in the GOP to now be leading comfortably.  They of course are not, a full-scale open revolt is underway with Trump, Carson, and Fiorina leading a mob of GOP primary voters that want to destroy the party and replace it with Tea Party fantasy where "illegals" are rounded up and deported, and Democrats are just rounded up.

These are the same GOP primary voters that despise Sen. Marco Rubio because he's too weak on immigration, and the only acceptable immigration to the new Trumpian GOP is none at all. The Village is running out of patience and starting to blame the candidates.  Jeb Bush was first earlier this month, and now it's Rubio's turn for "Why haven't you stopped Trump yet?"

The hype surrounding Marco Rubio's presidential campaign just smashed into the wall of reality.

First, the Florida senator's team insisted it had stashed more campaign cash in the bank than fellow Floridian Jeb Bush -- only it hadn't. The campaign also told reporters it had raised $6 million in the last fundraising quarter -- also not true. That turned out to be an overly generous rounding of the underwhelming real figure: $5.7 million.

Yet those aren't even the most troublesome parts of the Florida senator's most recent campaign finance report. Rubio may be slowly rising in the polls, but his third quarter filing revealed a campaign that's also out-manned by many of its rivals in the early-voting states. His staff is largely concentrated in Washington, with just a small umbrella of on-the-ground, early-state operatives -- and he's already at a disadvantage because he hasn't invested the time in early-state visits that some of his opponents have.

For all the recent buzz surrounding his candidacy -- fueled by strong debate performances -- Rubio isn't raising enough money to keep pace with his rivals in the top tier and he's running out of time to assemble a robust field organization.

"If Trump-mania subsides, you’ve got to have a mechanism and a structure," said Chip Felkel, a South Carolina Republican strategist who isn't affiliated with any campaign. "I think you’re being risky if you don’t put a structure in place."

The smart money has been on Rubio for some time now as the dynamic Latino Republican who would solve immigration and knock the crazy out of the GOP, the charismatic Obama of the right. Remember this TIME cover from February 2013?

Full-body portrait of Marco Rubio 

The Village has invested quite a lot in the myth of Rubio as the party's "savior" in 2016. Instead, Trump and Carson are crapping all over the bed.  Christie has failed.  Rand Paul has failed.  Jeb has failed.  Jindal has failed. Rubio isn't their last shot (that would be Ted Cruz) but he's the one they prefer.  And he's in the middle of failing.  The Summer of Trump is now the Fall of the GOP Establishment, and they are terrified that Trump or Carson will win the nomination and get crushed next year.

Rubio is their last hope.  And he's fading.

Handsome Jack For Governor, Sorta Kinda

You know things are bad for the GOP when the Enquirer endorses a Democrat for anything, let alone governor of the Commonwealth.

Republican Matt Bevin was the strongest contender from a weak GOP field of four candidates, but he hasn’t shown he knows how to unite his own party, much less bridge the partisan divide. Bevin won the Republican primary by 83 votes. That’s not much of a mandate, but Bevin has treated his win as a coronation, telling Kentuckians he’s vetting hires for his administration because the odds are he’ll be governor. Yet the most recent polling shows Bevin lagging Conway by 5 percentage points, with a plus or minus 3.8-point margin of error. 
Bevin needs to listen before he can lead, and must lead before he can govern. Northern Kentucky Republicans have expressed concern they may not have Bevin’s ear if he is elected, and they’re not alone. Bevin touts his experience as a businessman, but being a CEO is very different than being a governor. Conway may be a Democrat in a state that usually votes red nationally, but by trial of experience and proof of accomplishments, it is clear he knows a leader without followers is just a guy taking a walk. 
Conway’s proposals reflect his thoughtful approach to Kentucky’s pressing issues. 
He has diligently worked to curb drug abuse in Kentucky as attorney general and has the right approach to the heroin epidemic. He sees the scourge of addiction as a treatment problem, and directed $32 million from a settlement with drug companies toward juvenile treatment programs and care centers. He was a strong advocate of a critical heroin aid bill that squeaked through the legislature earlier this year. 
Northern Kentucky needs a solution for the aging Brent Spence Bridge, and neither Conway nor Bevin has a convincing answer. But of the two men, Conway’s approach is realistically cautious and hopeful. He is wisely opposed to the Eastern Bypass proposal, while Bevin thinks it holds some merit. Conway is open to the idea of public-private partnerships, and while he says he won’t go against Northern Kentuckians if they oppose tolls, we’re encouraged by his vow to make the Brent Spence problem a priority. His willingness to work with Ohio Gov. John Kasich on the bridge also bodes well. Both Kentucky and Ohio will benefit from partnering to solve regional problems.

"We hate them both, but at least Jack Conway is sane and not a complete asshole, so meh." Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but one that Handsome Jack will take.  With the election just two and a half weeks out, Conway will take all the "whatever, man" votes he can get.

What the hell, I'm feeling confident.  Even Bevin's own polling shows him down by 3. New tag: Handsome Jack.
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