Overwhelming Majority Approve of Court’s Ruling on Obamacare Subsidies

Kaiser Family Foundation: “When told that the Supreme Court decided to keep the health care law as it is so that low and moderate income people in all states can be eligible for government financial help to buy health insurance, just over 6 in 10 (62 percent) say they approve of the Court’s decision and about a third (32 percent) say they disapprove. Approval is higher in this case than it was following the 2012 Supreme Court decision upholding most major provisions of the ACA. In the June 2012 Kaiser Health Tracking poll, the public was more evenly split, with 47 percent approving and 43 percent disapproving of the Court’s decision in the earlier case.”

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“Despite the majority’s favorable opinion of the King v. Burwell decision, though, the new poll finds the public’s view of the ACA remains largely unchanged immediately after the June 25 ruling, with 43 percent viewing it favorably and 40 percent unfavorably.”

Jeb Bush Profited From Obamacare

New York Times: One of Jeb Bush’s financial endeavors “included serving as a paid director to the hospital company Tenet Healthcare, which backed President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The position invited questions for Mr. Bush, who as a candidate opposes the health care law.”

“Mr. Bush profited handsomely from his Tenet shares. According to the newly released tax returns, Mr. Bush acquired $441,203 worth of stock in Tenet Healthcare in May 2011. The stock doubled in value by the time he sold it in October 2013, earning him a profit of $462,013 in just 29 months.”

“Like other hospital stocks, Tenet rose sharply from October 2012 through March 2013, when President Obama’s re-election made it likely that the health care law would be carried out. The law was considered a boon for hospitals because it was expected to increase business and reduce the expense of caring for uninsured patients who could not pay their bills. Mr. Bush resigned from the Tenet board in 2014 when he was preparing for his presidential campaign.”

The Limited Impact of the Court’s Ruling on Gerrymandering

Washington Post:  “Our partisan Congress is a relatively new thing. In the 1970s, there were a significant number of Democrats and Republicans crossing over. But it’s slowly faded, to today, where it doesn’t happen much at all. Here’s that divide illustrated by Pew, with the House on the right.”

“So what if states suddenly adopted redistricting commissions en masse and we got state legislators out of the map-drawing business for good? There would almost definitely be more competitive districts, but perhaps not a ton more. The United States is a country very polarized between rural and urban, after all, and map-drawers’ goal is not to create competitive districts, but rather to create compact ones that bring together similar groups of people. In most areas areas of the country, there is simply no prospect of creating new, competitive districts.”

“So while the Supreme Court’s redistricting decision will be hailed as a sign of progress by good-government types, it’s important to note how limited its effect might be on the coming Congresses — to say nothing of how many states will actually join the few who have already adopted such commissions.”

All is Not Lost for Obamacare Lawsuit Supporters

Jonathan Cohn: “The activists, attorneys, and partisans who conceived of and then brought the King lawsuit to court still managed to achieve something. By pushing the case as far through the legal process as they did, and sending the political world into a tizzy over it, they were able to freeze the political debate in place — to maintain the fevered, highly polarized argument over whether the health care program should even exist.”

“That’s worked out pretty well for Republicans, because it’s meant they can keep using Obamacare to rally their activist supporters. It’s worked out poorly for Democrats, because it’s meant they can’t get serious about fixing the law’s very real shortcomings.”

“It’s impossible to know how the arguments about King v. Burwell affected perceptions of the Affordable Care Act. But the case certainly inflamed partisan hatred of the law, giving Republican leaders new opportunities to attack it and the president’s management of health care reform.”

“But Democrats and Republicans could probably find ways to at least make deals, with benefits for each side, if only they could have a constructive conversation about piecemeal changes to the law. The ruling in King v. Burwell makes it possible to imagine such a conversation taking place, even if it’s still a long way off.”

Has the Supreme Court Become More Liberal?

Ezra Klein asks: Is the Supreme Court “getting more liberal or are the cases getting more conservative?”

“The Obamacare ruling is a good example. One way to read the outcome of that case is that the Court sided with liberals, and that’s evidence of a more liberal term. But another way to read that case is that it only made it to the Supreme Court because the Court has become so conservative — any other Court wouldn’t have bothered, and so the proper interpretation is that King v. Burwell is evidence of the Court’s conservatism.”

“But there’s another thing all these measurements miss: the importance of various rulings. The same-sex marriage ruling is a liberal ruling of enormous, even historic, magnitude. The scores will count it as one case, equal to any other case, but it isn’t — and its presence alone will ensure that liberals long remember this Court.”

Which Professions Are the Whitest?

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The Atlantic: BLS data has a more detailed dive into which professions are the whitest. Overall, 81 percent of the workforce is white, but there are 33 occupations in America that are more than 90 percent white. When it comes to professions with outsized shares of minorities, blacks are overrepresented in community and social-service occupations (as well as barbers and postal-service clerks). Asians make up a large share of computer workers, medical scientists, and personal appearance workers—a category that includes manicurists, makeup artists, and facialists. Hispanics are overrepresented in construction, maintenance, and agriculture work.

Frum: Republicans Need to Accept That Obamacare is Here to Stay

David Frum, writing in the Atlantic, tells Republicans to move on from their Obamacare attacks.

“The party has never managed to coalesce around any replacement plan … What is clear, however, is that the Republican alternatives, such as they are, would remove coverage from many who have it now. In my opinion, that one fact is likely to cost Republicans the White House in 2016, no matter who they nominate.”

“Republicans draw comfort from polls that show Obamacare supported by less than 50 percent of the population. Those polls did not rescue them in 2012, when very few people yet benefited from the ACA, and they will do the GOP even less good in 2016. Polls asking people their views of complicated and poorly understood laws don’t tell us much about how people will behave when confronted with the stark calculus of what repeal will mean for them personally. People who disapprove of President Obama are highly likely to disapprove of a thing called ‘Obamacare’  even as they jealously protect their personal gains from that same law.”

“Republicans should accept the Affordable Care Act as a permanent new fact of American society. They should accept universal healthcare coverage as a welcome aspect of any advanced democracy. Instead of fruitlessly seeking to repeal a law now that will in 2016 enter into its fourth year of operation, they should specify the law’s most obnoxious flaws and seek a mandate to reform them.”

What Would the Nation Without Gerrymandering Look Like?

Vox: “What would a world without gerrymandering look like? Check out the map below, in which each colored district has a roughly equal population, for one possible glimpse. (Note that this map draws districts that cross state borders as well, which is impossible under our current system, but would end the overrepresentation of some small states.)”

“The map was created by the Center for Range Voting, which was founded by math PhD Warren Smith and engineer Jan Kok to float innovative election reform proposals. To make it, they used what they call the shortest splitline algorithm. Basically, they used the shortest possible line to cut a state into two halves with roughly equal populations. Then they did so again, and again, and again, until they had the proper number of overall districts.”

Does the SCOTUS Redistricting Verdict Really Help Democrats?

Nate Cohn: “When the Supreme Court ruled Monday to allow independent redistricting commissions in Arizona, the decision was greeted with enthusiasm from liberals who support redistricting reform.”

“But if the court had ruled the other way, it … might have even helped put Democrats in position to gain additional seats.”

“Most of the districts drawn by independent commissions are in Democratic-leaning states, where Democrats would be likelier than Republicans to take control of the redistricting process … For the Supreme Court’s decision to ultimately help Democrats, redistricting commissions will need to spread to states where Republicans currently control the redistricting process. Independent commissions in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina would almost certainly yield additional seats for Democrats.”

“But so far, there have been no major moves toward establishing independent commissions in the states where Republicans control the redistricting process.”

“Absent explicit criteria to the contrary — like a requirement to create partisan balance — independent commissions could easily adopt relatively favorable maps for incumbents in the very states where Democrats are hoping to unseat incumbent Republicans.”

Republicans’ Refocus Their Strategy for Killing Obamacare

Jonathan Chait: “Conservatives continue to rage against Obamacare, and their capacity to oppose it, unlike their capacity to prevent same-sex marriage, has not fully expired. The strategy of attempting to destroy Obamacare through far-fetched lawsuits has run its course, but Republicans can still have normal political methods at their disposal should they regain power. They have come to focus their energies on the remaining path to obtain this goal, which runs through the final destruction of the Senate filibuster.”

National Journal: The Supreme Court “losses could provide Republican presidential candidates with more political flexibility on the campaign trail and that could could work in their favor.”

“‘The conversation changes now. It is no longer about them trying to figure out how they are going to provide subsidies. Now there is going to be a real focus on providing a solution,’ Republican strategist Mercedes Schlapp said. ‘It goes from being a potentially messy situation to honing in and focusing their message on providing a patient-centered alternative.'”

“While congressional Republicans still are eying an Obamacare overhaul through the budget-reconciliation process, that effort is dead on arrival at the White House. That enables Republicans from Scott Walker to Marco Rubio to rally against the president, without being boxed in by their own party’s policies. They don’t have to fix a problem, they merely have to come up with an independent alternative.”

Marriage Won’t Turn Gay Population Into Republicans

Patrick Egan, writing in the Washington Post, asserts that his “research—which draws upon relatively new data available from representative sample surveys of the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) population—suggests that gay people will remain firmly in the liberal Democratic camp for quite a long time to come.”

“First and foremost, LGBs hold very liberal views on an entire range of policies that on their face have little to do with gay rights.  The figure below displays data from the 2012 American National Election Studies (ANES) survey, which now regularly asks its respondents if they are lesbian, gay or bisexual. The chart shows that LGBs are much more liberal than the general population: they support federal spending on the environment, gun control, immigration reform, Obamacare, and raising taxes on those with high incomes.”

“Gay rights could disappear off the national agenda tomorrow, and gay people as a whole would hold attitudes on other issues giving them every reason to vote like liberal Democrats.  Huge shifts in a conservative direction—on some issues, 15 percentage points or more—would have to occur for LGBs to look like straight people politically.”