* Republicans may still be talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act, but their erstwhile allies in the insurance industry aren’t going to be joining them:
Insurers saw disaster in the fall when Obamacare’s rollout flopped and HealthCare.gov was a mess. But a strong March enrollment surge, along with indications that younger and healthier people had begun signing up, has changed their attitude. Around the country, insurers are considering expanding their stake in the Obamacare exchanges next year, bringing their business to more states and counties. Some health plans that skipped the new marketplaces altogether this year are ready to dive in next year.
At least two major national insurers intend to expand their offerings, although a handful of big players like Aetna, Humana and Cigna, are keeping their cards close for now. None of the big-name insurers have signaled plans to shrink their presence or bail altogether after the first rocky year. And a slew of smaller health plans are already making moves to join more states or get into the Obamacare business for the first time.
As time passes, it isn’t just individuals getting insurance who become more and more invested in the maintenance and health of the Affordable Care Act; it’s also powerful interests like health insurers. Which is one more reason why repeal is never, ever going to happen.
* The Census Bureau made a change to how it asks people about whether they have health insurance, going from asking whether they’ve been insured at any time in the last year to asking whether they’re insured at the moment they’re interviewed. As Michael McAuliff points out, the change has been contemplated since George W. Bush was president, but conservatives still see a conspiracy to make Obamacare look better.
* Alan Gomez argues that Barack Obama isn’t really the “deporter in chief,” but rather, high numbers of deportations mostly represent people caught trying to cross the border. Watch for this to figure in the big debate over whether Obama should act unilaterally on deportations.
* Meanwhile, Democrats are making one last push to force a House vote on immigration reform through a discharge petition, which wouldn’t require Speaker Boehner’s assent. But they don’t have the votes yet, and failure here will turn the conversation to whether Obama will act.
* Washington insiders aren’t willing to accept that Alison Lundergan Grimes has a real shot of ousting Mitch McConnell. Will the news that Grimes actually outraised McConnell for the second time in the last three quarters change that? McConnell still has more in the bank, but Grimes is looking like no slouch.
* In the latest sign that even some Republicans wish the House GOP would throw a lifeline to the long-term jobless, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has asked John Boehner to pass a bill extending unemployment benefits. A Republican governor, sounding dangerously like someone who wants to coddle a bunch of takers.
* Speaking of Nevada, you’ve no doubt heard about that ranching family that’s in a standoff with the Bureau of Land Management because they think that they can graze on federal land without paying grazing fees like everyone else does. Ed Kilgore points out that the conservatives who are indulging these people
are encouraging those who claim a right to wage armed revolutionary war towards their obligations as Americans. It makes me really crazy when such people are described as ‘superpatriots.’ Nothing could be more contrary to the truth.
* It’s tax day, and historian Julian Zelizer gives us a little background on the history of American taxation, encouraging Democrats to show some spine on the issue:
While proposing taxes is politically frightening, it is necessary. And Democrats, as the party that believes in government, must also be willing to defend and fight for the progressive tax system that has been the backbone of domestic and foreign policy since the start of the 20th century.
* Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens offers a tongue-in-cheek endorsement of Rand Paul, getting right to the heart of it with this: “maybe what the GOP needs is another humbling landslide defeat.” Maybe.
* And the bogus controversy of the day: Republicans are screaming that Mary Landrieu re-enacted footage of her presiding over a hearing in her new campaign ad. Which is outrageous, except that Senators are forbidden from using footage from actual congressional proceedings in their campaign ads.