Brian Beutler at Salon on conservatives' Obamacare "rate shock" lie. "It’s important to distinguish complaints about cancellation notices from complaints about rate shock. Critics of the law have done their level best to create the impression that everyone who’s received a cancellation notice has experienced, or will soon experience, rate shock. But it’s not true," Beutler writes. The problem is, "conservatives only care about these problems insofar as they can be used to trash or undermine the law in its entirety." He explains that Obamacare regulates insurance to guard people against medical bankruptcy, makes plans available to the ill and elderly, and offers subsidies to the poor and middle class. "The changes create winners and losers, but almost by definition more winners than losers." But conservatives don't want to help the losers, they just want to repeal the law. Jonathan Cohn, a health care writer at The New Republic, tweets, "What @brianbeutler says here is just right — GOP telling only one side of cancellation/rate shock story." Greg Sargent, a political blogger at The Washington Post, agrees: "On people 'losing' insurance, @brianbeutler says it better than I did."
Alex Seitz-Wald at National Journal on Republican hurdles to Obamacare. "Whether by fees, background checks, tests, extra training, certifications, threats of civil penalties, or delays, Republican legislatures and officials in at least 17 states across the country have thrown up all manner of bureaucratic roadblocks in front of the program," Seitz-Wald explains. For example in Georgia, Obamacare navigators have to pass intense background checks and training programs. By October 1 when the exchanges opened, only 5 navigators were approved for work for the whole state. The biggest hurdle? "27 states, mostly controlled by Republicans, decided against setting up their own health care exchanges and instead left it to Washington, while 15 have have decided not to expanded Medicaid." David Simas, the White House senior advisor for communications and strategy, tweets, "'Turbo-charged hypocrisy.' A good reminder of GOP's coordinated efforts to obstruct access to health care."
Igor Volsky at ThinkProgress on what Secretary Sebelius needs to answer at her hearing today. One of them: Did President Obama lie? "Some subset of the 14 million Americans who buy their insurance on the individual health care market are receiving cancellation notices from their insurers, informing them that their policies don’t meet the new minimum benefit standards established by the law. While about half will qualify for tax credits and purchase more comprehensive coverage at lower cost, many will have to pay higher premiums for a better product," Volsky explains. Why didn't Obama mention this before? Further, did the administration suppress problems with the law during the 2012 election? Charles Orstein, a senior reporter at ProPublica, tweets, "more questions!"
Ta-Nehisi Coates at The New York Times on historically black colleges. "I went to Howard University, the sort of school a black kid once looked to when endeavoring to become A Credit To The Race. ... But since the 1960s, the near-monopoly on black talent, once enjoyed by schools like Howard, has evaporated," Coates explains. Now his son, age 13, wants to attend a school like UCLA. "As the options for kids like my son have grown in unimaginable ways, the fortunes of black schools have declined." Of his own experience, Coates writes, "I came to Howard as an insecure 17-year-old boy from Maryland, with none of the confidence that oozes out of my son. In my youth, doubting your own humanity, which is to say your own beauty, your own intelligence, your own history, came easy. Resisting the hatred in my heart could be accomplished only in a crowd, where 10,000 others like me, who sang a variant of that same blues, could lay on hands." Ron Fournier, the editorial director at National Journal, tweets Coates's last line, about bringing his son to Howard: "He came home with a Howard hoodie. It had been too long. But it is not yet too late."
David Denby at The New Yorker on Ted Cruz's mask of sincerity. The Texas senator "is amazingly sure-footed verbally. When confronted with a hostile question, he has his answer prepared well before the questioner stops talking. There are no unguarded moments, no slips or inadvertent admissions," Denby writes. "He’s an evangelical without consciousness of his own sins or vulnerability." The Cruz strategy? He "voted no on the bipartisan immigration bill, no on the farm bill, no on the continuing resolution; he voted against the confirmations of John Brennan, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, and Jack Lew. He makes extreme demands, then accuses the other side of being unwilling to compromise, then calls his own party members cowards, and so on." Steve Silberman, an investigative reporter at Wired, tweets, "David Denby nails Cruz's creepitude like a boss."