Romney hasn’t changed his position on pre-existing conditions, although he probably wishes he could.
It's one of those days when the news cycle is moving faster than I can write about it. As of Wednesday afternoon, the chatter online is all about the Romney campaign's unexpected decision to cite his Massachusetts health reforms as proof that he cares about average Americans facing financial hardship. The decision is unexpected because Romney has spent the past two years vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, whose scheme for expanding insurance coverage is basically a national version of what Romney did in Massachusetts.
Did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid really hear from an investor in Bain Capital that Mitt Romney didn't pay income tax for 10 years? Probably not. Even if he did, what are the odds that this "information" was just uninformed speculation? Pretty good. "Now, do I know that that's true?" Reid told the Huffington Post's Sam Stein and Ryan Grim. "Well, I'm not certain." Brilliantly played.
Did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid really hear from an investor in Bain Capital that Mitt Romney didn’t pay income tax for 10 years? Probably not. Even if he did, what are the odds that this “information” was just uninformed speculation? Pretty good. “Now, do I know that that’s true?” Reid told the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein and Ryan Grim. “Well, I’m not certain.” Brilliantly played.
Most experts expect the Supreme Court will issue its ruling on the Affordable Care Act in the last full week of June. Few seem certain of what that ruling will say. The Court could uphold the law its entirety. It could strike down the law in its entirety. Or it could strike down part while leaving the rest in place. One very real possibility is that the Supreme Court invalidates the law's most controversial element, the individual mandate, but nothing else. Most of the commentary I've seen suggests such an outcome would be just as devastating as a decision to invalidate the law entirely.
Everybody calm down. And when I say everybody, I include myself. Tuesday’s oral argument at the Supreme Court was not the finest hour for health care reform, for the philosophy of activist government, or for Solicitor General Don Verrilli. But oral arguments don’t typically change the outcome of cases. They are important primarily for the signals they send about the justices’ thinking.
[with contributions from Matt O’Brien and Darius Tahir] Health care reform wasn’t the only issue Mitt Romney dodged last night. As Greg Sargent and Sam Stein point out today, Romney also refused to take a clear position on whether to extend a payroll tax break set to expire at year’s end. Here’s what Romney said when moderator John Harwood first posed the question: I don’t want to raise taxes on people in the middle of a recession. Of course not.
The budget debate is changing by the hour and, as I type this, it appears Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may have finally blinked in the standoff over how to raise the debt ceiling. But let me return for a moment to the most revealing, if not the most important, development from yesterday. It wasn't President Obama’s press conference. It was the report, by the The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, that Obama had at some point offered a key concession: gradually raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67. Strictly in terms of policy, this is a questionable move. At best.
Are Democrats about to get behind more Medicare cuts, as part of a deal to reduce the deficit? Sam Stein of the Huffington Post says it’s a distinct possibility. The latest clue is a statement by Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, made after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced he was withdrawing from the bipartisan debt ceiling talks: I think we should stay at the table. I think we should keep working, difficult as it is, and try to balance between Medicare cuts—additional Medicare cuts—so long as there is commensurate additional revenue.