* Another Obamacare delay: The administration announced today that insurers can wait until 2016 or even beyond to cancel policies that don’t pass the law’s standards, a move that is being widely depicted as a political effort to spare Dems in the 2014 midterms.
* Read Sam Baker’s explanation. This will probably impact a dwindling number of people, but it could have a small but negative impact on the exchanges – resulting in higher premiums – by encouraging young and healthy people to stay out of them longer.
* I asked Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation for his take on the new move. He emailed:
This affects a small and dwindling number of people who still have old insurance policies that they bought on their own, but it give those people the option of keeping those old policies or switching to new coverage under the Affordable Care Act. It’s the best of all possible worlds for a small but vocal group of consumers, avoids a potential political landmine, and probably has only a minimal effect on the insurance market.
We’re talking about a small number of people to begin with, and it’s likely to get even smaller as people transition out of these old insurance plans. So, even though these people are probably healthier than average and in a separate insurance pool, it probably doesn’t affect the stability of the Affordable Care Act plans much at all.
Half the individual insurance market turns over every 18 months, so the number of people in these old plans is likely to shrink a lot by 2017 when the extension ends.
And so, it remains to be seen how much of an impact this really ends up having on the insurance pools and exchanges. Foes of the law seem convinced this will set up a political problem for Dems heading into 2016, but if Levitt is right, we’re not talking about large numbers of people here.
* Republicans are pounding the move as the latest sign that Obamacare is a disaster. The White House response, in Tweet form, from online outreach director Jesse Lee:
For all the sympathy Republicans muster on “ACA horror stories,” they get absolutely furious when problems get fixed. Puzzling #NotPuzzling
Either way, GOP certainty that Obamacare, and only Obamacare, will be enough to deliver the Senate is back up to 110 percent.
It turns out that many of the Republican Party’s Senate candidates are currently House members, and most GOP House members voted for the GOP budget, which includes those same Medicare cuts. And in five key Senate races — including, ironically, Mitch McConnell’s — the GOP candidate has voted for the Medicare cuts and the Democrat hasn’t.
Needless to say, that won’t make a bit of difference.
* Senator Dick Durbin adds his voice, along with Senator Robert Menendez, to those pushing Obama to slow down deportations. As it becomes clearer that House Republicans won’t act on reform, pressure from senior Dems will likely intensify.
* Today Senate Dems joined with Republicans to sink Obama’s civil rights nominee, Debo Adegbile, and Wesley Lowery reports that Republicans are already attacking Dems who voted Yes for supporting a cop-killer sympathizer. Note this nugget:
The nomination angered some Democrats, who noted that the vote placed vulnerable Democratic Senators in the middle of the decades-long tug-of-war over control of Abu-Jamal’s legacy between the law enforcement community and civil rights groups. That consternation only grew after the nomination failed, meaning some vulnerable Democrats had walked a political plank for not much.
Well, okay. I’ll be very curious to see if any Dems who voted Yes actually pay any price for it.
* Jonathan Bernstein brings some perspective to the defeat of Obama’s nominee: Yes, the administration misjudged the politics, but the more important point is that we should be doing less intense vetting of nominees, not more.
* A great line (and he whole post is worth reading) from Jesse Wegman on the GOP assault on Adegbile:
Some have called Mr. Adegbile a “cop-killer advocate.” Another word for that might be “lawyer.” In representing people like John Ferguson and Mumia Abu-Jamal, Chief Justice Roberts and Mr. Adegbile were doing what lawyers everywhere are trained to do. Particularly in death-penalty cases, it is critical to ensure that a defendant has adequate representation and that his trial, conviction and sentence do not violate the Constitution.
The neocons, on some emotional level, prefer Putin to Obama.