Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., is the latest Democrat to sign onto a bill from a red-state colleague that lets people keep their current health insurance policies under Obamacare.
Democrats up for reelection in 2014 are in a tricky spot: They have to reconcile their support for Obamacare while having to do more than simply acknowledge that the rollout has been a disaster.
A bill from Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., addresses the problems that have cropped up during the Affordable Care Act rollout and has been gaining political traction in recent days. The bill aims to address individuals who have seen their health insurance plans canceled, and yet are having problems accessing the exchanges to buy new insurance.
Merkley, who is up for reelection in 2014, has been targeted back home over the rollout of the insurance exchanges. The Republican National Committee launched robocalls against Merkley last week, tying him to President Obama’s claim that Americans could keep their plans.
“I am very frustrated with the rollout of the exchanges,” Merkley said after last week’s White House meeting with Senate Democrats up for reelection in 2014. “The dysfunction and delays are unacceptable. After meeting with the president today, I remain deeply convinced that this is a ‘show-me’ moment.”
Other Democrats who have signed onto Landrieu’s bill are more predictable and come from red states where they face tough reelection fights, including Sens. Mark Pryor from Arkansas and Kay Hagan from North Carolina.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also signed onto the effort, although she isn’t up for reelection until 2018. Both Oregon and California have state-run exchanges, but the rollout hasn’t been smooth there, either; a number of states have problems allowing people to sign up.
Obama has said he is looking for a “fix” when it comes to canceled plans, but health care policy experts say it’s unlikely the administration can do much on its own to fundamentally address the problem.
On Tuesday, former President Clinton also said that Obama should find a way to allow Americans to keep their old plans under Obamacare. “Even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they’ve got,” he told Ozy.com.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."