July 28

* The latest Medicare trustees’ report has been released, and the results are striking:

Medicare’s financial health is improving, according to a new official forecast that says that the program will remain solvent until 2030 — four years later than anticipated a year ago — because of the Affordable Care Act and lower-than-expected spending on hospital stays.

The report, issued Monday by trustees for Medicare and Social Security, shows a substantial strengthening of the trust fund that pays for hospital care in the federal health program for older Americans.

I’m sure the professional deficit scolds who say our country will be destroyed unless we “rein in entitlements” will celebrate this development. Right?

* Joe Sonka has some fresh data on what a spectacular success Medicaid expansion has been in Kentucky, with 290,000 new enrollees, more money for hospitals, and the rate of uninsured in some counties plummeting sharply. I wonder if any other red states will reevaluate their own decision not to take the expansion! (Relatedly, see Dan Diamond on how the states that need health reform the most are the ones saying No.)

* The leader of one such state, Mississippi governor Phil Bryant, responded to a study showing an increase in Mississippi’s uninsured in the most inane way possible:

“If statistics show that the ill-conceived and so-called Affordable Care Act is resulting in higher rates of uninsured people in Mississippi, I’d say that’s yet another example of a broken promise from Barack Obama,” Bryant said.

Which is like you offering me an umbrella, me saying, “No thanks,” and then coming back later and saying, “Why the hell did you offer me an umbrella? Look how wet I got in the rain! This is all your fault!”

* Conservatives want everyone to believe Dems were threatening the states with withholding subsidies if they didn’t create their own exchanges. Jonathan Cohn finds the flaw: Threats don’t really work if you keep them a secret from everybody, including the people you’re supposedly threatening.

* Oy. Iowa Senate contender Joni Ernst seems to endorse states “nullifying” federal laws, which is just as unconstitutional today as it was before the Civil War:

“Bottom line is, as U.S. Senator why should we be passing laws that the states are considering nullifying? Bottom line: our legislators at the federal level should not be passing those laws. We’re right…we’ve gone 200-plus years of federal legislators going against the Tenth Amendment’s states’ rights. We are way overstepping bounds as federal legislators. So, bottom line, no we should not be passing laws as federal legislators — as senators or congressman — that the states would even consider nullifying. Bottom line.”

She seems to be saying that Congress shouldn’t ever pass a law if any state would consider nullifying it.

* Benjy Sarlin has a nice reported piece looking at the Senate candidacy of Michigan’s Gary Peters, and what that says about the limits of the GOP wave.

* Nate Cohn crunches the polling numbers and finds no particular evidence of a GOP wave; indeed, if anything, recent generic ballot polling has trended a bit towards the Democrats.

* Kyle Trygstad, in a fair overview of the Senate map, gives Republicans three reasons to be optimistic about November, and three more reasons to be concerned; once again, Senate control really does look like a true toss-up.

* Alexandra Jaffe reports that even Republicans are souring on Scott Brown’s Senate run in his adopted state of New Hampshire, as he has trailed consistently in the polls. Is it possible that Brown’s ownership of an actual pickup truck was insufficient to win voters over? Weird.

* A good catch from Jennifer Bendery: Republican lawmakers have greeted Obama’s executive order barring LGBT discrimination in hiring by federal contractors with total silence. Republicans are essentially sitting out this major cultural transformation on gay civil rights. — gs

* In an article in the new print edition of the American Prospect, I argue that liberal ideological disaffection with Barack Obama is an elite, not mass, phenomenon.

* And Joan Walsh finds a problem with the pundits’ suggestion that Dems are the ones really responsible for all the media talk about impeachment: Some Republican lawmakers haven’t gotten the memo that impeachment is off the table, and they continue to talk about it.