The Associated Press this morning profiled Democratic efforts across the country to ensure access to the polls for all eligible voters - and Republican efforts to restrict that access in order to win elections.
Maine Republicans, like those in many other states, rabidly oppose expanding Medicaid under the President's Affordable Care Act. So a recent study by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation (and confirmed by the conservative Heritage Foundation), which found that "Maine would save $690 million over the next 10 years if the state expanded eligibility," is a serious political problem for them. It's so much of a problem, in fact, that "Republicans have since attempted to discredit the study" by claiming "that the study is based on every state participating in expansion... so the study, and the savings, are flawed."
What's "flawed" is the GOP logic in this case, as it is with most Republican objections to Medicaid expansion: As a Kaiser spokesperson points out, Texas rejecting Medicaid has no impact on the savings Maine would realize by accepting it. But if Maine Republicans are under the impression, at least, that obstructing implementation of Obamacare will increase the cost of health care (which, despite missing the mark in this instance, is true overall), then why are Maine Republicans obstructing implementation of Obamacare?
The AARP, the Iowa State Association of Counties, and the American Cancer Society "released a map today showing how much Iowans in each county will pay in property taxes to support the Republican alternative" to Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, according to Radio Iowa. The much-criticized GOP alternative, developed by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, would cost Iowa taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more than simply expanding Medicaid, while covering tens of thousands fewer families.
But in order to make the numbers work at all, Radio Iowa notes, "The governor’s plan is financed with $85 million in local property taxes," compared to $0 in property taxes under the Senate Democrats' plan. Property taxes have been an extremely contentious issue in Iowa in recent years, and if enacted, the Republican plan to siphon property tax revenue away from local governments would further complicate efforts to provide relief. AARP provides a helpful map showing how each county's property taxpayers would be affected.
Earlier this afternoon, the Democratic-led Minnesota Senate joined the state House in passing HF 1054, to make Minnesota the 12th state in America to establish civil marriage equality.
KSTP News has the video of the final vote, including the cheers that rose up immediately thereafter (NOTE: video volume drops after the 1:10 mark):