Even doubters of global warming should find the Paris climate deal palatable, Chris Tomlinson, business columnist for the Houston Chronicle, wrote (12/15), “since there are no legal obligation to do anything, and nations will routinely review the latest climate and emissions data to see what works.” He noted that the deal asks nothing from the United States that the free market is not demanding.

“President Barack Obama pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30% from 2005 levels in 2030. While that seems ambitious, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have already reduced our emissions by more than 6%. At the rate the US is replacing coal-fired power plants with natural gas or renewables, the US is already on track to cut emissions by 27% in 2030, according to Environmental Protection Agency calculations.”

He also noted that conservatives are angry that the deal calls for wealthy, developed countries to send $100 bln a year to poor countries beginning in 2020. The money is earmarked to help those countries adopt the most advanced electric generation sources available, such as wind, solar or natural gas.

“Rich countries should make the payment because they have released the most carbon dioxide since the industrial revolution and therefore contributed the most to global warming while realizing huge benefits,” Tomlinson wrote. But it’s also good business. “Critics call this wealth redistribution, but consider where developing countries will purchase low-emission technologies. As an Africa correspondent, I learned that while Japan gave the most money to Africa, it came in the form of Toyota and Nissan vehicles, not in cash. The real winners were not the Africans, but Japanese factory workers.

“The technology transfer imagined by the Paris agreement implies installing US-made combined-cycle gas turbines and renewable energy equipment, not watching cash disappear into well-meaning aid programs. And with twice as many people living in Africa than the US, providing affordable energy gives Africans the chance to build businesses that will buy more goods from North America.

“Africa could become in the next 50 years what China has been for the last 50. The multiplier effect of that $100 billion a year investment, if managed properly, could be a boon to US businesses.”

AFTER PARIS, FOSSIL FUELS FLAIL WHILE SOLAR STOCKS SOAR. Fossil fuel stocks tumbled while renewable energy soared on 12/14, the first day of trading after global leaders reached the landmark climate pact, Lauren McCauley noted at CommonDreams.org (12/15).

Under the agreement, countries have pledged to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to keep global warming beneath 1.5°C. And it is clear the fossil fuel industry is feeling the heat.

Reuters reported (12/14) the MAC Global Solar Energy Index was up 4.5%. The iShares Global Clean Energy exchange-traded fund, which allows investors to trade a basket of renewable energy stocks, rose 1.4%.

The US Oil & Gas Indexx fell 1% before reversing losses and end up 0.2%, as oil edged higher after plumbing the lowest levels in seven years, but shares of companies that produce coal, Peabody Energy Corp and Consol Energy Inc. plummeted 12.6% and 3.3% respectively.

Portfolio manager Thiemo Lang of Zurich’s RobecoSAM, which owns solar stocks, told Reuters the Paris Agreement “will help boost the mid- to long-term fundamentals in renewable energy generation, especially solar, while making any further investments in fossil fuels increasingly vulnerable.”

Indeed, the movement to divest from fossil fuels has long-argued that investing in polluting industries is both economically and environmentally unwise. Earlier in December, the campaign announced that investors representing over $3.4 tln in total assets have pledged to divest their holdings from fossil fuels.

Environmental campaigners, who say that the Paris Agreement falls drastically short of what’s needed to actually address the climate crisis, maintained throughout the COP21 climate talks that a just transition to renewable energy must continue if the world has any hope of limiting temperature rise.

According to the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), between now and 2040 global investments in renewable power capacity will total $7 tln, accounting for 60% of all power-plant investment, Michael T. Klare wrote at TheNation (12/14). “Fossil fuels will not, of course, disappear during this period,” Klare wrote. “Too much existing infrastructure—refineries, distribution networks, transportation systems, power plants, and the like—are dependent on oil, coal, and natural gas, which means, unfortunately, that these fuels will continue to play a prominent role for decades. But the primary thrust of new policies, new investment, and new technology will be in the advancement of renewables.”

CONGRESS REACHES DEAL ON SPENDING BILL. Congressional leaders released their long-negotiated omnibus spending bill (12/15), with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) touting Republican wins that Joan McCarter of DailyKos noted “seem less than great victories.”

In a closed-door meeting with fellow Republicans, Ryan touted a pause in Obamacare’s “Cadillac tax,” which was designed to help pay for the Affordable Care Act, the lifting of a longstanding oil-export ban and preservation of several other policy preferences in the year-end deal, which include $1.149 tln in spending and several hundred billion in tax breaks, Politico reported.

“After the deal was announced, many members of both parties said Democrats won this round on federal spending. They agreed to lift the prohibition on exporting US oil, but turned back other so-called GOP policy riders, including efforts to tighten restrictions on Syrian and Iraqi refugees. The GOP also did not mount a serious effort to strip funding from Planned Parenthood, although many hardline conservatives had demanded such a move. ...

“The deal also includes extensions to wind and solar tax credits, as well as major changes to cybersecurity sharing law. And it would reauthorize the 9/11 health and compensation law.”

What’s out, McCarter noted, are any restrictions on the implementation of net neutrality, along with Planned Parenthood defunding and the Iraqi and Syrian refugee ban. “All of this means the Freedom Caucus guys won’t vote for it. Most of the really poison pill stuff they wanted did not make it into the bill. However, there’s enough goodies for corporate America in the parallel tax extender bill that they’ll happily support that. 

“Ryan is going to pass the spending bill with Democrats and the tax extenders with Republicans and call it a wash. This doesn’t bode terribly well for Ryan’s future with the Freedom Caucus, particularly since he’s also making deals with Harry Reid.”

TV ‘NEWS’ FEEDS TRUMP, STARVES SANDERS. Network news spent 234 minutes on coverage of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from Jan. 1 through November while they spent only 10 minutes on Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. In the worst case, ABC World News Tonight spent 81 minutes on Trump and about 20 seconds on Sanders, whose standing in the polls indicates that he has more supporters than Trump.

The coverage total comes from the Tyndall Report, which tracks the various flagship nightly news programs on NBC, CBS and ABC.

Travis Gettys noted at RawStory.com (12/12) that Trump’s level of national support was 30.4% of GOP primary voters, according to the average calculated by Real Clear Politics, while Sanders remained in second place among Democratic primary voters with a 30.8% average level of support.

However, as the Will Bunch points out in the Philadelphia Daily News (12/10), there are considerably more Dems than Republicans.

The most recent Pew poll shows 32% of Americans identify themselves as Democrats, compared to 23% who describe themselves as Republicans — so that suggests far more people support Sanders than Trump, based on party identity and both candidates’ levels of national support.

Eric Boehlert noted at MediaMatters.org (12/11) that the results confirm two media extremes in play this year: The network newscasts are wildly overplaying Trump, who regularly attracts between 20-30 percent of primary voter support, while at the same time wildly underplaying Sanders, who regularly attracts between 20-30 percent of primary voter support. (Sanders’ supporters have long complained about the candidate’s lack of coverage.)

“Obviously, Trump is the GOP frontrunner and its reasonable that he would get more attention than Sanders, who’s running second for the Democrats,” Boehlert wrote. “But 234 total network minutes for Trump compared to just 10 network minutes for Sanders, as the Tyndall Report found?”

Andrew Tyndall provided the breakdown by network of Sanders’ 10 minutes of coverage, via email [emphasis added]:

CBS Evening News: 6.4 minutes

NBC Nightly News: 2.9 minutes

ABC World News: 0.3 minutes.

As Tyndall explained, the number counts stories filed about the Sanders campaign or from the Sanders campaign. It does not count stories where Sanders is mentioned in passing in other coverage of the Democratic field overall, such as his performance in the debates.

Other Tyndall Report findings:

• Trump has received more network coverage than all the Democratic candidates combined.

• Trump has accounted for 27% of all campaign coverage his year.

• Republican Jeb Bush received 56 minutes of coverage, followed by Ben Carson’s 54 minutes and Marco Rubio’s 22.

Boehlert noted that Bush garnered 56 minutes of network news coverage, far outpacing Sanders, even though he is currently wallowing in fifth place in the polls among Republicans. “And you know who has also received 56 minutes of network news compared to Sanders’ 10? Joe Biden and his decision not to run for president.”

Boehlert concluded, “Any way you look at it, 81:1 is a ratio that means there’s something very wrong with the campaign coverage.”

RIGHT-WING PACT SPURS CRUZ SURGE. A group of conservative leaders — with especially heavy representation from old-line Christian-right groups, and informally headed up by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins — has worked to unify around a single Republican presidential candidates, Tim Alberta reported for National Review (12/14). Turns out the group — which in fact referred to itself as “the GROUP” — has been struggling to reach a self-imposed 75% supermajority threshold for agreement on a single candidate. Coincidentally or not, Ed Kilgore noted at NYMag.com (12/15), Ted Cruz finally achieved that threshold in a meeting during the first week of December, right before the Texan began surging in polls in Iowa and nationally. What was perhaps most surprising was the identity of the second-place finisher who for a while blocked Cruz’s supermajority: Marco Rubio.

Alberta wrote: “It didn’t take long for the participants to winnow down their list. They eliminated the weaker contenders: Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Ben Carson among them. This facilitated the Cruz-Rubio duel many had been anticipating: Cruz, the Protestant purist with a pit bull’s demeanor, versus Rubio, the Catholic pragmatist with a choirboy’s countenance. Or, as one member framed it: ‘Cruz the Fighter versus Rubio the Communicator.’”

Finally, on a fifth ballot in the latest meeting, Cruz got his 75%. This does not commit each member of the GROUP to a Cruz endorsement, but it does, by pre-agreement, mean they are not supposed to endorse anyone else. 

What this whole exercise represents, Kilgore notes, is the long-standing belief of conservative activists that their inability to unite on a single candidate has kept them from blocking moderate nominees like John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. Certainly in 2008 McCain managed, Mr. Magoo–like, to negotiate a demolition derby wherein Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, and Mitt Romney (then running as a movement conservative candidate) kept each other from winning in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. And in 2012, some still believe, had Rick Perry (an early contender), Newt Gingrich (who beat Romney in South Carolina), and Rick Santorum (who won an assortment of primaries and caucuses) managed to combine forces, the outcome might have been very different.

This year, the probable original target of all the scheming, early invisible-primary front-runner Jeb Bush, is struggling to survive past Iowa. Other party “moderates” like John Kasich and Chris Christie are not doing very well, either. And still another candidate that some kof the Christian-right warhorses disliked because he combined a subtle appeal to conservative Evangelicals with a refusal to campaign on “their” issues, Scott Walker, dropped out, Kilgore noted.

“It says a lot that the current Establishment favorite in the GOP is Marco Rubio, considered a hard-core tea-party conservative until his close association with a comprehensive immigration bill (since emphatically repudiated). It’s no fluke that he wound up being the second choice of the GROUP. Its real utility is as a unity weapon not against some Establishment moderate, but against Donald Trump. 

“And thus, ironically, the GROUP could wind up saving the bacon of its RINO-squish enemies as the one force in the GOP with the means and the motive to stop Trump. The price they could extract for this critical service could simply be a renewal of the blood pact that commits the GOP to the recriminalization of abortion (and now stealthier and less feasible efforts to reverse marriage equality) by any means necessary. Or it could be Ted Cruz as the presidential nominee. Either way, the hope of these perpetually frustrated reactionaries to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world has been vindicated for at least one more cycle.”

LATINO GROUPS DIFFER: CRUZ & RUBIO ‘BAD’ OR ‘WORSE’? Liberal and conservative Hispanic groups held separate rallies on the eve of the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas and agreed on much: Liberals think Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are as bad as GOP frontrunner Donald Trump but conservatives actually think Cruz is “perhaps worse.”

According to TexasTribune.org (12/14), Hispanic conservatives “are expressing concern that the Texas senator is in favor of ‘self-deportation,’ an immigration position that helped defeat the last Republican nominee.”

Even before Cruz was outed as supporting self-deportation, Rubio, Trump, and his favorables were underwater with Hispanics in a Quinnipiac poll (released 12/2).

• Rubio 22% favorable /42% unfavorable (-20)

• Cruz 25/33 (-8)

• Trump 9/84 (-75)

These are not numbers one would hope for if the Republican nominee needs substantially more than Mitt Romney’s 27% of the Hispanic vote to contend, especially with so much campaigning left with which to offend Americans, the liberal American Bridge 21st Century Super PAC noted in a press release.

STRATEGIC VOTING BY FRENCH LEFT BEATS FAR-RIGHT. Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front collapsed in French regional elections (12/13) after leading in seven of 13 regions the first round of voting. The more moderate conservatives ended up winning in seven regions while the governing Socialists won five, with the far right relegated to its traditional third place in the polls, france24.com reported (12/14).

Le Pen had been riding high after extremist attacks and an unprecedented wave of migration into Europe, and the party came out on top in six of France’s 13 newly drawn regions in the first-round vote a week earlier. But the party lost in all of the regions (12/13), including decisive losses for both Le Pen and her popular niece.

“Here we stopped the progression of the National Front,” said conservative Xavier Bertrand, who was projected to beat Le Pen in the Nord-Pas de Calais region. But Socialists helped the conservatives by pulling their candidates out of two marginal races and turnout rose sharply from the first round, suggesting that many voters had cast ballots to prevent the once-pariah National Front from gaining power.

ELECTION ROUNDUP. In California, US Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Orange County), a blue-dog Democrat running for the Senate seat Barbara Boxer is giving up, veered right when she told Larry King (12/10) that “between 5 and 20 percent” of Muslims “have a desire for a caliphate” and “are willing to use and they do use terrorism” to achieve those ends. After the political world hammered her, Sanchez clarified, “I strongly support the Muslim community in America and believe that the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not support terrorism or ISIS. We must enlist the voices of the Muslim community in our fight against ISIS instead of alienating them through fear-mongering and discrimination.” Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris is another Dem running for the open seat.

In Louisiana, pols are testing the water for the open Senate seat. US Rep. Charles Boustany (R-Lafayette), in his sixth term in Congress representing southwest Louisiana, joined US Rep. John Fleming (R-Minden) in the 2016 race to fill the seat Republican David Vitter is giving up after he lost an election for governor.

The two candidates are markedly different, Melinda Deslatte reported for AP (12/14). Boustany has been allied with GOP leadership, while Fleming has been an outspoken member of the House’s tea party wing.

At least one other GOP contender, retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness — who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate last year — has filed federal paperwork indicating his plans to run. Other high-profile Republicans in Louisiana eyeing the race include state Treasurer John Kennedy and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, who ran third in the governor’s race this year. Former one-term US Rep. Joseph Cao (R-Harvey) also announce he’s in.

Democratic Gov,-elect John Bel Edwards’ win in November has several Democrats looking at the Senate seat. State Sen. Eric LaFleur (D-Ville Platte) and Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell (D-Bossier Parish) said they’re looking seriously at the race. State Sen. Gary Smith Jr. (D-St. Charles Parish) has spoken to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee about running, LaPolitics reported. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former lieutenant governor who was considered the Dems’ best bet, has said he would not run for the seat.

A survey of 600 likely voters (questioned 12/2-4) also found that either Angelle, Boustany or Kennedy, whichever Republican made the runoff against the Democratic candidate, would likely win “providing no candidate attacks the others like Vitter did in the governor’s race.” The poll was funded by a group of New Orleans businessmen, including John Georges, a co-owner of The Advocate.

In Colorado, US Rep. Scott Tipton (R) told Roll Call he was running for re-election instead of challenging Sen. Mike Bennet (D), but an aide to Tipton hedged that back with this: “Congressman Tipton is currently focused on running for re-election in the 3rd Congressional District and working on the major issues coming before the House this week including the omnibus.”

It might not matter, since the National Republican Senatorial Committee is reportedly is finally about to land a recruit they can live with in state Rep. Jon Keyser to challenge Bennet.

In Illinois, the 150,000-member Illinois Service Employees International Union, one of the state’s most powerful political forces, just endorsed Rep. Tammy Duckworth in next year’s Democratic primary for Senate. Duckworth faces attorney Andrea Zopp and state Sen. Napoleon Harris for the nomination, but polling shows Duckworth with a wide lead for the right to take on GOP Sen. Mark Kirk.

Texas scored a few surprise races for Congress as the filing deadline for the March 1 primary closed (12/15). US Rep. Kevin Brady (R), the new Ways & Means chairman, drew a challenge from ex-state Rep. Steve Toth, who rallied teabaggers to unseat a state House incumbent in 2012, but then lost a 2014 state Senate race to another Republican.

On the Democratic side, ex-Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia announced that he would challenge longtime Rep. Gene Green (D-Houston) in the primary contest that looks like it will be about race rather than ideology. Green is an Anglo moderate representing a Houston seat where Hispanics outnumber whites 77-10. Garcia opened his campaign saying that he’s running to “strengthen the party and help cultivate a Hispanic electorate that can help move the country forward,” and argued he was “not challenging Gene Green. I’m challenging Donald Trump.”

Garcia will give Green the toughest challenge he’s ever seen in this safely blue seat, DailyKos noted (12/16) but Garcia angered many Democratic activists earlier this year when he decided to run for mayor, which required him to resign as sheriff, allowing a Republican to be appointed to replace him. Garcia was further hurt by poor Hispanic turnout, which is likely to be an issue in March even in this overwhelmingly Hispanic district, and he took third place in the primary with 17% of the vote.

In the only Texas seat that’s likely to be competitive in the general election, former Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) will seek a rematch in the West Texas 23rd District, which stretches from El Paso to San Antonio, with Rep. Will Hurd (Helotes), who narrowly unseated Gallego in 2014.

In Houston, longtime Democratic state Rep. Sylvester Turner got a narrow 51-49 victory over businessman and ex-Kemah Mayor Bill King, a conservative independent. This was Turner’s third campaign for this post in America’s fourth-largest city. In 1991, Turner lost the runoff 53-47 to Bob Lanier, and he took third place in 2003.

Houston leans Democratic, but poor turnout from Team Blue almost allowed King to become the city’s first non-Democratic mayor since Republican Jim McConn left office in 1982, DailyKos noted (12/14). Questions about the city’s financial stability also dominated the runoff contest. Falling oil prices have led to job losses, and the city faces a large deficit. The issues likely helped King, who campaigned as a fiscal conservative. However, Turner’s strong base of support with African Americans gave him a boost, and he benefited from the support of third-place primary finisher Adrian Garcia. Because of a new voter-approved law, Turner will be eligible to serve two four-year terms; previous mayors were limited to three two-year terms.

TRUMP’S VEGAS HOTEL REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE WORKERS’ UNION. Just 24 hours before Donald Trump took the stage for the fifth Republican presidential debate (12/15), the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas launched a legal challenge to its 500-odd workers’ effort to form a union, Alice Ollstein reported at ThinkProgress.org (12/15).

After a year of organizing, much of it in secret, a narrow majority of the workers voted in December to join the Culinary Workers Union and Bartenders Union, which are part of the national hospitality workers union Unite Here. The text of the company’s complaint — filed with the National Labor Relations Board in D.C. — is not yet public, and multiple calls to the hotel’s management were not returned by the time of publication. But Trump hotel workers told ThinkProgress that their company is “objecting to the outcome of the vote and want it thrown out.”

“Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that he expects and insists on being treated fairly as he campaigns to be the next president of the United States of America,” said Jeffrey Wise, a food server at the hotel. “I also want to be treated fairly. My coworkers and I participated in a democratic election process, just like the one Mr. Trump is preparing for right now.”

The workers — more than 80% of whom are immigrants and more than 50% of whom are women — are now attempting to negotiate with a boss known for making statements offensive to women and immigrants on the campaign trail. As they attempt to coax Trump management to the bargaining table, the workers have decided not to criticize their boss or their working conditions in any way. Yet speaking to ThinkProgress at the union’s offices just a few miles from the glitzy casino strip, they were frank about why they wanted to form a union and the obstacles they have faced in doing so.

“We voted yes to make our jobs good jobs with fair wages and job security,” said Celia Vargas, a housekeeper at the property. The workers said they are also pushing for better health care benefits and more flexible quotas for how many rooms can be cleaned in a day.

Yet while organizing around these demands, the workers have faced intimidation and retaliation. Trump and hotel co-owner Phil Ruffin contracted the anti-union law firm Seyfarth Shaw to discourage the workers from organizing. Last year, the hotel violated federal labor law by suspending five workers for wearing union buttons and talking to their coworkers about the union drive. They were eventually reinstated with back pay. The union also filed an official complaint accusing Trump management of “incidents of alleged physical assault, verbal abuse, intimidation, and threats.”

STATES EXPAND GUN RIGHTS AFTER SANDY HOOK MASSACRE. The 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which a mentally troubled young man killed 26 children and educators, served as a rallying cry for gun-control advocates across the nation.

But in the three years since, many states have moved in the opposite direction, embracing the National Rifle Association’s axiom that more “good guys with guns” are needed to deter mass shootings, Ryan Foley of the Associated Press noted (12/13).

In Kansas, gun owners can now carry concealed weapons without obtaining a license. In Texas, those with permits will soon be able to carry openly in holsters and bring concealed weapons into some college classrooms. And in Arkansas, gun enthusiasts may be able to carry weapons into polling places next year when they vote for president.

Dozens of new state laws have made it easier to obtain guns and carry them in more public places and made it harder for local governments to enact restrictions, according to a review of state legislation by AP. The number of guns manufactured and sold and the number of permits to carry concealed weapons have also increased, data show.

HUGE BLOW TO OBAMACARE? MAYBE NOT. When full-blown teabagger Matt Bevin decisively won the Kentucky gubernatorial contest last November, some major news organizations were quick to proclaim that this could prove disastrous for Obamacare in a state where it had registered as a surprise success. The New York Times opined: “Kentucky may become a laboratory for the kind of rollback that the law’s opponents have so far only dreamed of.”

And it’s true that this could still happen, Greg Sargent wrote at WashingtonPost.com (12/11), if Bevin does end up rolling back the Medicaid expansion and dismantling the exchange in the state. But he also noted that the Democratic win in the Louisiana gubernatorial contest also could have far-reaching implications for Obamacare — ones that end up offsetting or even overshadowing what happens in Kentucky.

“Indeed, it’s plausible that the upshot of both gubernatorial outcomes, taken together, could end up being more people enrolled in Obamacare, rather than fewer,” he wrote.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll of Kentucky out 12/11 finds that seven in ten of the state’s residents want to keep the Medicaid expansion in the state as it is. Even 54% of Republicans, and 43% of those who voted for Bevin, say the same. (This, even though Kentuckians have an unfavorable view of that thing called the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, by 49-41, which is now an old story.)

The widespread support in Kentucky for leaving in place the Medicaid expansion — which has impacted 425,000 people, according to Kaiser — is bound to renew questions about what Bevin will end up doing. During the campaign he called for rolling back the Medicaid expansion, but since then he has backpedaled and instead suggested he may recast the program by not enrolling people “at the same level.” He may seek a waiver to merely alter the program.

That would be consistent with what Bevin suggested in his inaugural address, that he might remodel the Kentucky Medicaid expansion on what was done in Indiana, which would mean beneficiaries pay some kind of premiums, giving them “skin in the game.” If Bevin goes that route, it might end up reducing the number of Kentuckians on the Medicaid expansion, but by far less than rolling it back would.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, incoming Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has said that opting the state in to the Medicaid expansion will be one of his “highest priorities.” Local reports indicate that, while legislators had previously been hostile to the idea, they now appear more open to expanding Medicaid with Bel Edwards coming in, and they are engaging the idea seriously. Kaiser estimates that some 192,000 Louisianans could be eligible for coverage under the expansion, if it happens.

What’s the upshot of all this? Kaiser’s Larry Levitt emails:

“Depending on how things shake out, it’s entirely possible that the net effect of the elections in these two southern states could be to increase the number of people enrolled in ACA-related programs and decrease the number of people uninsured.”

If Louisiana expands Medicaid, it would extend eligibility to 192,000 uninsured residents now not eligible for any health care help. What happens in Kentucky depends on what the new governor ultimately proposes. Eliminating Kynect, the state insurance marketplace, could have some effect on coverage because of the loss of local outreach efforts, but all Kynect enrollees would be eligible for the same subsidies through Healthcare.gov that they now receive. Backing off the Medicaid expansion entirely would take coverage away from a lot of people, though the governor-elect has also suggested keeping the Medicaid expansion in place while altering it through a waiver. Some Medicaid beneficiaries might drop out if, for example, the program started charging premiums like in Indiana, but many would remain covered.

From The Progressive Populist, January 1-15, 2016


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