Facing a $1 billion budget deficit, Arizona’s Republican-led legislature has reduced the lifetime limit for welfare recipients to just one year — the shortest window in the nation.
Low-income families on welfare will now have their benefits cut off after just 12 months.
As a result, the Arizona Department of Economic Security will drop at least 1,600 families – including more than 2,700 children – from the state’s federally funded welfare program when the budget year begins in July.
The cuts reflect a prevailing mood among the lawmakers in control in Arizona, that welfare, Medicaid and other public assistance programs are crutches that keep the poor from getting back on their feet and achieving their potential.
That’ll show ’em.
* Rachana Pradhan reports that the Affordable Care Act is too successful for some people:
Medicaid enrollment under Obamacare is skyrocketing past expectations, giving some GOP governors who oppose the program’s expansion under the health law an “I told you so” moment.
More than 12 million people have signed up for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act since January 2014, and in some states that embraced that piece of the law, enrollment is hundreds of thousands beyond initial projections. Seven states have seen particularly big surges, with their overruns totaling nearly 1.4 million low-income adults.
The federal government is picking up 100 percent of the expansion costs through 2016, and then will gradually cut back to 90 percent. But some conservatives say the costs that will fall on the states are just too big a burden, and they see vindication in the signup numbers, proof that costs will be more than projected as they have warned all along.
Note that more people getting health insurance than anticipated is viewed by Republicans as a terrible thing demonstrating that they were right to fight the ACA.
* Eric Garcia reports that Elizabeth Warren is opening up a new front in her battle against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, by pointing to questions about whether its labor standards will be enforceable as a reason to oppose it.
* With the press corps still fixated on the useless “knowing what we know now” question about Iraq, Jonathan Bernstein suggests other questions for the presidential candidates on the subject that might actually tell us something valuable.
* Jason Linkins gets at a key problem with the “knowing what we know now” question: It obscures the fact that some people were right about Iraq all the way back in 2003.
* A new poll sponsored by the ACLU finds that 60 percent of Americans want the Patriot Act scaled back to reduce surveillance. As it happens, a bill that would do just that sailed through the House, but in the Senate, Mitch McConnell wants to extend bulk surveillance for ever, and ever, and ever. — gs
* Maia Szalavitz reports on how America overdosed on drug courts, essentially allowing judges to practice medicine.
* At the American Prospect, I explored some of the myths underlying the DC consensus for a larger military. Spoiler: it’s not about “defense.”
* Jonathan Karl reports that Ohio governor John Kasich is “virtually certain” to run for president.
* Meanwhile, America waits with bated breath for Lindsey Graham’s decision on whether he’ll run for president, i.e. run to get his name short-listed for secretary of defense; you’ll have to endure the suspense until June 1st.
* And Steve Benen takes apart Ted Cruz’s claim that Democrats are so “extreme” and “radical” that they support “mandatory gay marriage,” which, in fairness, does sound pretty extreme and radical. — gs