* The Obamacare narrative has swung back somewhat in favor of the law’s potential benefits, with a front-page story in the Times today about how poor Kentuckians are finding insurance on the state exchange. Brian Beutler goes deeper, lambasting the gullible media coverage that takes insurance companies and Obamacare “rate shock” victims at their word, without investigating the reality of the situation.
As he notes, much of this is due to insurance companies trying to sneakily shift their customers into more expensive plans, but a major test of the market here will be if insurers start to turn on each other and expose these tactics, in order to capture market share. Fingers crossed.
* Case in point: this Colorado couple is seeing their health insurance bill cut in half on the new exchanges. The system can work, if the exchanges can be made to function.
* Great point from Jonathan Chait: Obamacare’s weakness is in large part driven by the dysfunction of the system it is trying to repair. American healthcare is so terrible that people are terrified of change, which only reinforces the lousiness of the system.
* It’s election day! Dave Weigel has your guide for smart election analysis and what to expect, as well as a bunch of good Tweeps to follow.
* And in Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli is probably going to lose badly. Why? He’s getting absolutely slaughtered among women. It appears that creepy, reactionary social conservatism may not play well in swing states.
* Hilarious point from Steve Benen: John Boehner is effectively behaving like a Democratic plant. Blocking LGBT-rights bills like ENDA will not slow the march of such things by much, but will infuriate the Democratic base and bring them out to vote. This is traditionally a major weakness in the Democratic coalition, and turnout will be a big factor in 2014.
* Harry Reid is setting up the next step for a “nuclear option” showdown: if Republicans filibuster two nominees to the DC Circuit Court, the he’ll start talking about cutting back the filibuster again. It’s not nearly as bold as I would like, but it is encouraging.
* Nice post from Ed Kilgore on counter-polarizing the Social Security debate. If Dems propose boosting it, Republicans will have to own their cut-cut-cut view, and as Ed says, Social Security is incredibly popular.
* Austin, Texas declares a state of disaster after flooding last week left five dead. The region has been suffering a terrible drought, but ironically, the rain mostly ran off the parched land and did little to alleviate the dryness. This is the kind of thing that will only become more common as climate change gets worse.
* Hard to imagine a more Mr. Potter-esque thing than cutting food stamps at Christmas. It would be nice to see the network media take a few of those reporters scouring the earth for Obamacare “rate shock” victims and have them interview these folks.
* Disappointing news: Bart Chilton is leaving the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He’s been one of our most dogged regulators, though I can imagine why he would be sick of the job. Starved by austerity and Republican hostility to any regulation, the CFTC just doesn’t have enough money to do its job.
* Rob Ford: “Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine.” Canada’s extra-polite reputation is taking a bit of a beating these days.