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Affordable Care Act supporters wave signs outside the Supreme Court after the court upheld court's Obamacare, June 25, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP)

'Obamacare' opponents fall on hard times

08/13/15 10:22AM

If you're desperately waiting for the Affordable Care Act to fail, and for the entire Obamacare-based American system to collapse, this week must be crushing.
The number of people without health insurance has declined by 15.8 million since ObamaCare's coverage expansion took effect, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
 
The National Health Interview Survey finds that the number of uninsured people has declined from 44.8 million in 2013, before ObamaCare's coverage expansion took effect, to 29 million in the first quarter of 2015. The uninsured rate fell from 14.4 percent in 2013 to 9.2 percent in 2015, according to the CDC.
To be sure, it's an arbitrary threshold, but the fact that the uninsured rate has dropped to single digits is both encouraging and historic -- since public officials began keeping track, it's never been this low in the United States.
 
Looking closer at the data, note that the CDC data is based on surveys conducted between January and March. In the five months since then, it's likely the uninsured rate has improved a little more -- Charles Gaba pegs the figure at about 8.8%.
 
And this wasn't the only bit of good news. NBC News reported that the latest figures from the National Center for Health Statistics pointed to fantastic news on expansion of the availability of coverage, and a new report from the Rand Corporation research group found similar results.
 
Also this week, new evidence makes clear that the ACA has not undermined job growth, further disproving one of the key Republican talking points on health care.
 
At a certain point, at least some opponents of the law should probably say to themselves, "We fought the good fight, but the darn thing is working."
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., joined by attorneys Paul D. Clement, far left, and Rick Esenberg, second from left, announces that he has filed a lawsuit to block the federal government from helping to pay for health care coverage for members of Congress and th

Wisconsin's Johnson draws Trump parallels

08/13/15 09:31AM

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is in an unenviable spot. Few congressional Republicans are as vulnerable in 2016 as the far-right Wisconsinite; he hasn't developed much of a legislative record; and polls show him trailing former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) in next year's rematch.
 
Making matters worse, Johnson hasn't done much to help his case lately. As we talked about a couple of weeks ago, the GOP senator got caught up in an odd fight over the "Lego Movie"; his ridiculous anti-Obamacare lawsuit was laughed out of court; and his defense for signing onto a letter intended to sabotage American foreign policy wasn't especially coherent.
 
Johnson also referred during a recent radio interview to "idiot inner-city kids," though he later said he was being sarcastic.
 
Yesterday, however, American Bridge released a new video with a recent Ron Johnson quote that stood out as especially interesting.
"I think what's resonating about Donald Trump, I'd like to think, some things is appealing about my candidacy here in Wisconsin."
Obviously, the grammar and syntax are a mess, but the point seems clear enough: Johnson apparently sees himself in the Trump-esque mold.
 
This isn't a positive development -- for the senator or his party.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and possible Republican presidential candidate speaks during the Rick Scott's Economic Growth Summit held at the Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Convention Center on June 2, 2015 in Orlando, Fla. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty)

Walker still needs to 'bone up on foreign policy'

08/13/15 08:43AM

A few months ago, after some particularly odd comments from Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker, President Obama called the Wisconsin governor out by name. "Mr. Walker," the president said, apparently needs to take "some time to bone up on foreign policy."
 
The GOP candidate doesn't seem to agree. As BuzzFeed reported yesterday, Walker's latest criticism of the international nuclear agreement is based on an odd analogy involving teenagers.
"Throughout the process, I've spoke out repeatedly about it," the Wisconsin governor told Iowa radio host Simon Conway. "I've got two boys in college now, but when they were in high school, we'd have a rule that they could have friends over, including girls, as long as the door to their room was open."
 
He added that "the provisions in this deal" would be like allowing teen boys keep their doors closed and warning them before entering the room.
 
"To me, the provisions in this deal are like telling teenage boys, not only can you have the doors closed, but we got to shout up the stairs before we walk up the steps, 'Hey, we're coming up to check and see what you're doing. Just want to give you advance notice.' It makes no sense," Walker said.
The phrase, "It makes no sense" is probably the only accurate part of Walker's quote, though it regrettably refers to the Republican governor's rhetoric, rather than the diplomatic deal itself.
Republican Presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks to the press at the 4th of July Parade in Merrimack, N.H. (Photo by Kayana Szymczak/Getty)

Jeb Bush flubs test of self-awareness

08/13/15 08:00AM

On Tuesday night, Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush complained bitterly about conditions in Iraq, which he blamed on President Obama and his team, rather than the disastrous war launched and mismanaged by his brother. It was a topic Jeb should have gone out of his way to avoid, but the Florida Republican jumped in, head-first, anyway.
 
A day later, the former governor decided to go after Hillary Clinton's emails. Once again, it's a topic Jeb should have gone out of his way to avoid, but the Florida Republican jumped in, head-first, anyway. NBC News reported:
The former Florida governor also knocked Clinton for her use of a private email server while secretary of state. Clinton's campaign on Tuesday announced it would hand over the server to the Justice Department. "It looks like she's hiding, the way she's going about this I mean disclose it," Bush said. "The FBI took it, it's a little bit different than disclosing it." [...]
 
Bush cited his own release of 33 years of tax returns and his own emails from his time in government as proof that his approach is superior to Clinton's.
Right off the bat, when someone turns over a server to the Justice Department for review, as part of a probe in which that person is not a target, that's not "hiding." It's the exact opposite.
 
But the more striking problem is Bush's willingness to cite his own record. It's one of the more obvious failures of self-awareness seen on the campaign trail this year.

Citations for the August 12, 2015 TRMS

08/13/15 12:20AM

Tonight's guests:

  • Annie Linskey, a national political reporter for the Boston Globe
  • Anne Gearan, political correspondent for the Washington Post
  • Roberta Kaplan, successfully argued against DOMA before the Supreme Court, representing same-sex adoption plaintiffs in Mississippi

Tonight's links:

read more

Trump bucks GOP on Planned Parenthood

Trump bucks GOP on Planned Parenthood

08/12/15 09:15PM

Anne Gearan, political correspondent for The Washington Post, talks with Ari Melber about Donald Trump's qualified support for Planned Parenthood and the contrast between his views and those of the rest of the Republican presidential primary field. watch

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 8.12.15

08/12/15 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
 
* Texas: "The Arlington, Texas, police recruit who fatally shot an unarmed college football player during a break-in at a car dealership early Friday has been fired, the police chief said Tuesday. Christian Taylor, 19, was fatally shot by Arlington Police Officer Brad Miller, 49, after police were called to a break-in report at the Classic Buick GMC dealership at around 1:06 a.m."
 
* Missouri: "Amid concerns of renewed unrest on the streets of Ferguson, Mo., police said Wednesday that no one was arrested during Tuesday night's protests. Still, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger announced Wednesday afternoon that he was extending the state of emergency he had declared two days earlier."
 
* China: "With the Chinese renminbi now taking its biggest plunge in decades, the worry is that the country's already slowing economy is even worse off and the government is panicking."
 
* A rough prognosis: "Former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday that his recent liver surgery has uncovered cancer in other parts of his body." In a statement, the 90-year-old Georgian said, "Recent liver surgery revealed that I have cancer that now is in other parts of my body. I will be re-arranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment by physicians at Emory Healthcare. A more complete public statement will be made when facts are known, possibly next week."
 
* A presidential letter to the editor: "In a heartfelt op-ed published on Wednesday, President Barack Obama urged Americans to fight for the equality that has slowly eroded since the Voting Rights Act was written into law 50 years ago. 'Congress must restore the Voting Rights Act. Our state leaders and legislature must make it easier -- not harder -- for more Americans to have their voices heard,' the president wrote in a letter to the editor for The New York Times Magazine."
 
* Imagine that: "Just 14 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress is doing its job, according to a new Gallup survey released Wednesday, and they do not seem all that enamored with Republican leaders in the House and Senate, either."
Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie participates in the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena, Aug. 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Christie no longer sure about birthright citizenship

08/12/15 04:08PM

Republican primaries can do funny things to politicians. It wasn't too long ago that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), for example, supported comprehensive immigration and boasted about his support from Garden State's Latino community.
 
Now that the Republican governor is running for president, he opposes the bipartisan reform package -- "This path to citizenship stuff is garbage," Christie said last week -- and has no qualms about pandering to the anti-immigration elements in the Republican base.
 
Just how far is the New Jersey Republican prepared to go down this path? ThinkProgress flagged an interesting Christie quote from this morning.
In a radio appearance on Wednesday, conservative host Laura Ingraham asked Christie for his opinion on birthright citizenship, a topic he does not seem to have specifically addressed before. In response, Christie said he believed the policy may be outdated.
 
"I think all this stuff needs to be reexamined in light of the current circumstances," he said. "[Birthright citizenship] may have made sense at some point in our history, but right now, we need to re-look at all that."
I can't vouch for the exact wording -- I didn't hear the interview myself -- but if Christie seriously believes birthright citizenship is ripe for a "reexamination," he's adopting a needlessly radical position, especially for someone who tried to be mainstream on the issue up until fairly recently.

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About The Rachel Maddow Show

Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise.

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