Tomorrow, America Could Get a Tiny Bit Closer to Universal Healthcare

Ad will collapse in

And/or Medicaid for more!
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

These days, progressives spend a lot of time arguing online about exactly how we should overhaul the American health-care system once we’ve defeated Donald Trump, evicted Mitch McConnell’s majority, and converted Joe Manchin to the gospel of Eugene Debs — which, much of the time, is quite worthwhile! Our nation’s approach to medical provision is a humanitarian and economic travesty that grows more onerous and unaffordable by the day. And while some of its worst symptoms can be mitigated at the state level, eradicating the system’s underlying sickness will require federal action.

But at some point in the next 24 hours, liberals and leftists should probably take a quick time-out from debating the relative merits of a head tax versus a mandatory “income-based premium” and make sure they don’t have any friends in Virginia, Kentucky, or Mississippi who could use a reminder to vote tomorrow. Medicare for All won’t be on the ballot for at least a year, but on Tuesday, voters in those three states just might win “Medicaid for more.”

As you may be aware, the Affordable Care Act made state governments an offer they ostensibly couldn’t refuse: Expand your Medicaid programs to households earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level and Uncle Sam will cover 90 percent of the costs; refuse to expand Medicaid and he’ll cut off federal funding to your existing Medicaid program. But then, John Roberts’s Supreme Legislature decided to rewrite the bill. For extremely dubious constitutional reasons, the high court found Congress could not condition existing Medicaid funds on states expanding their programs. This still left GOP-controlled states with strong incentives for expanding Medicaid: Doing so would not merely aid their most vulnerable constituents but also enrich their state’s hospitals and inject millions of dollars into their broader economies. But in many states, Republicans decided that when the goals of hurting the poor and serving the business community come into conflict, immiserating the indigent takes precedence.

One of the holdouts is Mississippi. Few places in the country would benefit more from Medicaid expansion than the Magnolia State, which has the fifth-highest uninsured rate — and 50th-highest median income — in the USA. The state GOP’s intransigent refusal to accept desperately needed federal largesse is one reason a Democrat has a genuine chance to win a gubernatorial election in the Deep South tomorrow. The other is that the party’s nominee is the state’s longtime attorney general, Jim Hood. Polling of the race has been limited. And the task of accurately gauging the state of the contest is complicated by the fact that Mississippi maintains a Jim Crow–era election system that requires candidates for statewide office to win both the popular vote and a majority of the state’s congressional districts (a rule that, when combined with gerrymandering, prevents gubernatorial candidates from winning elections on the strength of landslide support among African-Americans). If neither candidate hits both of those thresholds, the Republican-dominated state legislature will appoint its preferred governor. Nevertheless, existing surveys show a surprisingly tight race, at least in the statewide vote. And if Hood does manage to pull off the upset, it’s conceivable that the Republican legislature will heed its constituents’ message (and economic interests) and allow for at least a partial expansion of public health insurance to the poor.

Kentucky, meanwhile, was one of the first red states to expand Medicaid, thanks to former Democratic governor Steve Beshear. But after Republican Matt Bevin replaced Beshear in the governor’s mansion, he secured permission from the Trump administration to impose strict work requirements on the program. There is no evidence that such requirements “work” on their own morally odious terms. Denying unemployed people medical care does not make them more likely to work; it just reduces the number of low-income people who sign up for Medicaid, which seems to be the point. Anyhow, Bevin’s work requirements are currently on hold pending the result of a legal challenge. But there’s a good chance the courts will eventually give him the green light — if he wins reelection tomorrow. Which is no sure thing: His opponent, Kentucky’s attorney general (and Steve Beshear’s son), Andy Beshear, is narrowly ahead in some recent polls. Should he prevail, those work requirements can be nipped in the bud.

In Virginia, Democrats already have control of the governor’s mansion (thanks to the American Justin Trudeau), but Republicans have held on to narrow majorities in the state’s Senate and House of Delegates. And they’ve used that grip on power to, among other things, force some eligibility requirements onto the state’s Medicaid expansion. If Democrats can flip two seats in each chamber tomorrow, they’ll have the power to scrap those requirements — and, just maybe, to pursue farther-reaching expansions of public health insurance.

Once tomorrow’s elections are in the books, progressives won’t have to wait long for their next opportunity to advance the cause of health-care justice. On November 16, Louisiana’s Democratic governor John Bel Edwards will be up for reelection. His victory would entrench the state’s fragile expansion of Medicaid; his defeat would likely result in effective cuts to the program.

Winning incremental expansions in public-health-insurance provision in these states won’t fix our nation’s broken health-care system or strike a fatal blow to neoliberalism. But it would probably keep many hundreds of human beings on this planet — and in the lives of those who love them — for years longer than would otherwise be the case. According to a recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the failure to fully expand Medicaid has condemned roughly 15,600 Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 to premature death each year. We can save a lot of them, even before the revolution.

U.S. Could Get Closer to Universal Health Care Tomorrow

Promoted links by Taboola

tears for fears

Sad Billionaire Cries Because He Feels So Misunderstood

By Sarah Jones

Why is everyone being so mean to Leon Cooperman?


Richard Spencer Broke His Contract With America

By Zak Cheney-Rice

He agreed to shroud his white nationalism in nice clothes and respectability. He seems to have inadvertently let the mask drop.

intelligencer chats

intelligencer chats

Where Did Beto Go Wrong?

By Jonathan Chait, Benjamin Hart, and Margaret Hartmann

Intelligencer staffers discuss what derailed the Texan’s once-promising campaign.


Tomorrow, America Could Get a Tiny Bit Closer to Universal Health Care

By Eric Levitz

Medicare for All isn’t on the ballot just yet. But in Virginia, Kentucky, and Mississippi, voters have a chance to secure “Medicaid for more.”

The withdrawal won’t be official unless Trump wins next year

WASHINGTON (AP) — Trump administration has notified #UN that it has started process of withdrawing #US from #Paris climate agreement.



Why the Democrats Will Debate at Atlanta’s Tyler Perry Studios This Month

By Ed Kilgore

The debate sponsors passed up a suburban venue for the actor and mogul’s new facility.

vision 2020

Should Democrats Panic About Elizabeth Warren’s Chances Against Trump?

By Ed Kilgore

A new batch of polls has the candidate faring poorly against Trump in some battleground states.

Unsettling news

Breaking: Federal authorities arrested a 27-year-old accused white supremacist who had planned to bomb a synagogue in Colorado over the weekend.


e. jean carroll

Writer E. Jean Carroll Sues Donald Trump for Defamation

By Sarah Jones

After Carroll accused Trump of sexual assault in her latest book, the president called her a liar, which she says damaged her reputation and career.

trump tax returns

trump tax returns

We’re One Step Closer to Seeing Trump’s Tax Returns

By Benjamin Hart

An appeals court ruled that he must turn over eight years of tax records to New York investigators. The Supreme Court will likely get the final say.

the national interest

the national interest

New Poll Shows Democratic Candidates Have Been Living in a Fantasy World

By Jonathan Chait

Trump is on course to win reelection and Democrats are ceding the center to him.

Looming impeachment has hardly slowed down the Trump administration’s efforts to dig up conspiracy-linked dirt on Biden

Far from keeping their heads down, those working in common cause with the president’s and Giuliani’s campaign to get Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political opponents are moving ahead unabated, interviews in Kyiv and Washington with several of those involved reveal.

Their efforts come despite intense scrutiny from Congress, law enforcement and the media. Under oath, a parade of current and former U.S. officials have testified that Trump and his envoys leveraged a coveted White House meeting and military aid to Ukraine to pressure new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to commit publicly to investigations into both the 2016 election and the Biden family.

In Ukraine, a group of parliamentarians are even working to stand up a new investigative commission — the Ukrainian analogue to a congressional select committee — to probe what they say was a Ukrainian government campaign to smear former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in a bid to take down Trump in 2016. They also want to investigate the Bidens.

Read this article if you want to feel a creeping sense of dread

Despite low national approval ratings and the specter of impeachment, President Trump remains highly competitive in the battleground states likeliest to decide his re-election, according to a set of new surveys from The New York Times Upshot and Siena College.

Across the six closest states that went Republican in 2016, he trails Joe Biden by an average of two points among registered voters but stays within the margin of error.

Mr. Trump leads Elizabeth Warren by two points among registered voters, the same margin as his win over Hillary Clinton in these states three years ago.

The poll showed Bernie Sanders deadlocked with the president among registered voters, but trailing among likely voters.

vision 2020

Maybe Democrats Should Remain on the Defensive in 2020

By Ed Kilgore

The Trump Era may call for a more proactive agenda, but the Trump campaign is all in on all the old attack lines — and Democrats need to be ready.

Another example of Trump’s attacks applying to himself

In 2006, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump traveled to Ukraine to meet with government officials about building a multimillion dollar hotel and golf course in the country. Two years later, Trump Jr. was back to meet with developers.

The Trumps were looking to erect luxury resorts across the former Soviet republics, and Ukraine seemed like a promising location. But doing so meant navigating a landscape that had long struggled with corruption. And as part of its overtures, the Trump Organization engaged developers Dmitry Buriak and felon Felix Sater, both of whom have had business interests in Russia.

Now, a decade after his company’s efforts floundered, President Donald Trump is arguing that it’s the son of his political rival Joe Biden, not him, who wanted to benefit from what he calls a “very corrupt” Ukraine.

The White House’s stonewalling of the impeachment inquiry continues

The four administration officials whose testimony impeachment investigators had scheduled for Monday aren’t expected to appear for their depositions, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The officials are acting at the direction of the White House, the person said. The move, which follows testimony last week by two officials who were serving on the National Security Council when they were deposed, escalates the battle between House Democrats and the White House over the impeachment inquiry, which President Trump has repeatedly attacked.

It is unclear how the House will respond to the White House’s move. A federal judge has already been asked to rule on whether former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman must testify in the impeachment inquiry, after the White House instructed him not to testify.

impeachment inquiry

impeachment inquiry

Trump Reportedly Obsessed With Impeachment Coverage: ‘We’re Getting Killed’

By Matt Stieb

Trump is watching more TV to stay informed on his potentially impeachable actions. Outside of Fox News, he’s reportedly not liking what he’s seeing.

elections of 2019

elections of 2019

Off-Year Election Preview: Is It All About Partisanship?

By Ed Kilgore

Unpopular Republicans struggle to win governorships in red Kentucky and Mississippi, while partisan tides help Democrats in Virginia.

donald trump

Trump Mostly Tweets Alone Because He Doesn’t Like Being Seen in Glasses: Report

By Matt Stieb

Rather than be seen wearing glasses, Trump dictates his tweets to an aide who sits in a “closet-sized room.”


Tasteless ‘Build the Wall’ Decor Seen at White House Kids’ Halloween Party

By Marie Lodi

Kids who attended a party at the White House were encouraged to participate in a “build the wall” mural.


Trump Has Been Booed at Another Major Sporting Event

By Chas Danner

The president heard both jeers and cheers at the UFC in New York, but they never put him up on the big screen or announced he was there.

Judge blocks Trump’s health care visa restriction

A federal judge in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday put on hold a Trump administration rule requiring immigrants prove they will have health insurance or can pay for medical care before they can get visas. U.S. District Judge Michael Simon granted a temporary restraining order that prevents the rule from going into effect Sunday. It’s not clear when he will rule on the merits of the case.

Seven U.S. citizens and a nonprofit organization filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday contending the rule would block nearly two-thirds of all prospective legal immigrants. The lawsuit also said the rule would greatly reduce or eliminate the number of immigrants who enter the United States with family sponsored visas.

The Speaker’s warning

“What works in San Francisco does not necessarily work in Michigan,” [Nancy] Pelosi said at a roundtable of Bloomberg News reporters and editors on Friday. “What works in Michigan works in San Francisco — talking about workers’ rights and sharing prosperity.” “Remember November,” she said. “You must win the Electoral College.”

Pelosi was careful not to back any one candidate in the party’s contentious presidential contest, but didn’t hold back when asked about which ideas should – and shouldn’t – form the party’s case to American voters. Or about her fears that candidates like Warren and Sanders are going down the wrong track by courting only fellow progressives – and not the middle-of-the-road voters Democrats need to win back from Trump. …

Pelosi said Democrats must stick with pay-as-you-go rules to avoid adding to the debt, a point of contention with left-leaning figures who want to permit more deficit spending for ambitious liberal priorities.

“We cannot just keep increasing the debt,” she said.

Pelosi added that she doesn’t understand the race to the left among some candidates, because “Bernie and Elizabeth own the left, right? Is anybody going to out-left them?”

She stopped short of endorsing a tax on wealth, an idea that Warren and Sanders have embraced as a means to reduce income inequality and expand the safety net. The speaker said she wants “bipartisan” tax changes that lower the debt and fix the “dumb” Republican tax cuts of 2017.

Signs of a wealthy way out in the UK

The super-rich are preparing to immediately leave the UK if Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister, fearing they will lose billions of pounds if the Labour leader does “go after” the wealthy elite with new taxes, possible capital controls and a clampdown on private schools.

Lawyers and accountants for the UK’s richest families said they had been deluged with calls from millionaire and billionaire clients asking for help and advice on moving countries, shifting their fortunes offshore and making early gifts to their children to avoid the Labour leader’s threat to tax all inheritances above £125,000.

The advisers said a Corbyn-led government was viewed as a far greater threat to the wealth and quality of life of the richest 1% than a hard Brexit. Geoffrey Todd, a partner at the law firm Boodle Hatfield, said many of his clients had already put plans in place to transfer their wealth out of the country within minutes if Corbyn is elected.

Read More


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: