In a video segment (HT Twitchy) entitled "How Low Can You Go?" on MSNBC's "Last Word," which the network's web site corrected as this post was being drafted, substitute host Ari Melber, filling in for Lawrence O'Donnell, is seen bemoaning the resignation of a Democratic legislator in Virginia. An accompanying visual originally showed a map of North Carolina. Apparent the answer to the map's captioned question — "How Low Can You Go?" — is, "further south than Virginia actually is."
The far-left network and Democrats in general are apopleptic over the sudden resignation of Demcorat Phillip P. Puckett from the State Senate, giving the GOP a 20-19 majority in that body. As a result, the Washington Post reported on Monday that Puckett's resignation caused "Democratic negotiators ... (to agree) in a closed-door meeting Monday to pass a budget without expanding health coverage to 400,000 low-income Virginians."
In other words, Medicaid expansion did not make it into the Old Dominion State's budget, while, as the Post noted, Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe now faces "a General Assembly fully in the hands of a party fiercely opposed to his agenda." That's Virginia's General Assembly, not North Carolina's.
Melber called Medicaid expansion "a humanitarian priority for 400,000 Virginians," even though:
- An early clip in the video shows McAuliffe acknowledging that those involved will continue to get care even if Medicaid isn't expanded. It's just that Virginians will pay for that care, not a completely broke Uncle Sam.
- Studies, particularly a long-term research project in Oregon, have shown that the availability of Medicaid has no meaningful effect on health outcomes.
- The "free money" from the federal government isn't guaranteed to last beyond the first few years. Given that the federal government is on track, barring a degree of economic improvement very few expect, to continue to run annual deficits of $500 billion or more as far as the eye can see.
What follows are several paragraphs from a related Associated Press report (bolds are mine):
Sen. Phil Puckett's resignation gives the GOP a 20-19 majority in the chamber to go with their control of the House. Senate Democrats had linked passage of the state's $96 billion biennial budget to expanding Medicaid, creating the threat of a government shutdown on July 1 if Republicans wouldn't relent.
Puckett said he was resigning so that his daughter, Martha Ketron, could be approved as a state judge. Republicans in the Senate had blocked Ketron's appointment to serve as a juvenile and domestic relations judge in southwest Virginia earlier this year because of a policy of not appointing immediate family members to judgeships. Ketron had been temporarily appointed by circuit court judges and is now working as a substitute judge.
"At this point in my life, I feel that I cannot allow my political career to hamper my daughter's future and her desire to serve the families and children of our area," Puckett said in a statement. He added that his "family is dealing with several difficult issues that need our attention."
Puckett defended his decision to resign after some members of his party accused him of making a deal with Republicans in exchange for a high level job with the GOP-controlled state tobacco commission, noting that he'd never been "officially offered" a job at the tobacco commission.
Republican Del. Terry Kilgore said Sunday he had discussed a deputy director job opening with Puckett at the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization but no deal had been finalized. Kilgore, who is chairman of the commission, said in a statement Monday that Puckett was no longer interested in the job.
The remainder of the MSNBC video segment features Virginia State Senator Louise Lucas predictably bemoaning how the temporary GOP control of the Senate will turn committee chairmanships over to "all white males" instead of a group that "looks like Virginia."
No discussion of anything on MSNBC is complete without dragging race into the conversation.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.