February 20, 2013

1. Let’s start with health care, because there’s huge news from Florida: Republican Governor Rick Scott will support Medicaid expansion in that state. This is more confirmation for predictions that in the long run, just as with the original Medicaid, all the states will eventually opt in — and the promise of (nearly) universal coverage will come closer to happening.

2. In other health care news: worried that the great fun of a colonoscopy will be ruined by “financial post-procedure shock?” Relax — new Affordable Care Act regulation protect patients against this one, as Sarah Kliff reports.

3. At least one sector is thriving from the Affordable Care Act: right-wing cranks who write books about it. Jim Newell separates the weak from the truly horrible.

4.  “For reasons I’ve never quite understood, the rules of reportorial neutrality don’t apply when it comes to the deficit. On this one issue, reporters are permitted to openly cheer a particular set of highly controversial policy solutions.” That’s Ezra Klein talking about the press and Alan Simpson (and reminding me of Greg’s “Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop”).

5. On capital gains, Kevin Drum argues that the evidence that low taxes on capital gains help drive growth is actually very weak — so getting new revenues through capital gains taxes could be both good for growth and good for equality.

6. Travis Waldron has more about income inequality and capital gains.

7. Gun legislation update: Sam Stein reports on another House Republican, Joe Heck of Nevada, will back universal background checks.

8. The possible effects of the Chuck Hagel fight, by Heather Hurlburt.

9. Is John Boehner a smart politician because he keeps escaping for traps — or not, because he’s constantly in them? Jonathan Chait on the Speaker and the sequester.

10. Ed Kilgore on Ted Cruz’s new focus on race.

11. Josh Barro: “Why we need Republicans.”

12. And Alex Massie on the Hilary Mantel/Kate Middleton dust-up.