Friday News Dump: Wonkbites

by Adrianna McIntyre

Google might’ve let you down this week, but we hope Wonkbites never will.

  1. Paul Ryan has a not-so-new budget. We’re not going to go into the details here, but here are the highlights for health care: Ryan would keep the Medicare cuts included in the Affordable Care Act while changing the program from defined-benefit to “defined-contribution” or “voucher” based, and would block-grant Medicaid to the states. Back in August, I wrote about why those ideas won’t play well together, and I think the logic holds.
  2. Failing to expand Medicaid could hurt businesses. In a policy wrinkle with that some might find strange, it could cost businesses up to $1.3 billion if states refuse to expand Medicaid.  This is due to penalties that employers would face if their employees can’t receive insurance through their company, which is waived if the employees qualify for—and enroll in—Medicaid. About half of states are still leaning toward opting out.
  3. Soda ban setback. On Monday, a judge on the New York State Supreme Court halted Mayor Bloomberg’s much-vaunted and much-maligned ban on sugary drinks that exceed 16 ounces—the ban would’ve taken effect on Tuesday. Judge Tingling called the provision “arbitrary” because it only applied to certain vendors and was subject to easy workarounds (like free refills). He also argued that the board of health cannot “limit or ban a legal item under the guise of ‘controlling chronic disease,'” though that authority does rest with City Council. NYC has already announced its intention to appeal the ruling.
  4. If at first (or the first 33 times) you don’t succeed… According to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), the House intends to vote again in the coming months to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act. An amendment to defund the law was presented to the Senate on Wednesday, and failed. Not sure why they repeatedly engage these exercises in futility, but I move that they prioritize a vote on ObamaCare vs. Obamacare next. #teamlowercasec
  5. Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 10.04.10 PMForget piano, learn to play fruits and veggies. I won’t lie, I was originally going to use this space to feature the VP’s new quasi-podcast, Being Biden, but this is way more awesome. I mean, I as far as I know, the VP can’t play music on an eggplant.  But this guy can. And he’s playing the opening title from House, so, you know. Totally related to health care.


Thoughts on the news or our coverage? Leave them in the comments!

Adrianna is a graduate student in public policy and public health at the University of Michigan.
Follow her on Twitter @onceuponA or subscribe to the blog.


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