Short Cuts: Montana Medicaid, "Death Panels" Suit Dead, Kynect at risk from Comer AND Bevin

Montana senators endorsed a Republican's compromise Medicaid expansion bill Friday after voting to blast it out of committee and onto the floor earlier in the week.

Senators endorsed the amended measure 28-22 on Friday after more than 90 minutes of debate.

If it makes it past the state House, the Governor will definitely sign it, which is great news for up to 70,000 Montanans.

No, not that anti-Obamacare SCOTUS case; the King v. Burwell decision won't be announced until June.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a new challenge to President Barack Obama's healthcare law that took aim at a bureaucratic board labeled by some Republicans as a "death panel" because it was designed to cut Medicare costs.

The high court left intact a ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that threw out the lawsuit.

...Among other things, they challenged the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, a 15-member government panel dubbed by some Republicans as a "death panel" because of its intended role in trimming costs within Medicare, the government healthcare program for the elderly and disabled.

Lower courts threw out the lawsuit. In its August 2014 ruling, the appeals court said that the plaintiffs had not shown they had suffered any harm that they could sue over.

On the IPAB claim, the court noted that under the terms of the healthcare law, the board acts only if Medicare spending increases at a certain level. The earliest it could ever take any action that could potentially reduce Novack’s Medicare reimbursements would be in 2019.

So the IPAB could theoretically cause some reduction in some doctor payments starting in 2019, but only if Medicare spending passes a certain threshold (and even then, this knucklehead would still have to prove that a law reducing his income is an inherently Bad Thing®...I mean, plenty of laws reduce the income of certain groups of people, like payday predatory loan regulations and the like; that doesn't make them "bad".

So, the Kentucky gubernatorial race is starting to heat up (KY, like some other states, elects their governors in odd years). The contender for the Republican nomination appears to be the state agriculture commissioner, a guy named James Comer.

Unlike Mitch McConnell, who flat-out lied through his teeth by repeatedly trying to claim that Kentucky could keep the kynect healthcare exchange as is while simultaneously repealing the Affordable Care Act, Comer is, at the very least, being more honest about his intentions: He's openly campaigning on tearing away healthcare coverage from over a half-million Kentucky residents:

Republican gubernatorial candidate James Comer called on Monday for Congress to repeal Obamacare and said, if elected governor, he would scale back the number of people eligible for Medicaid and shut down the state's health insurance exchange.

Of course, like McConnell, he has absolutely no clue what to do to help the half-million plus people who he just screwed over:

During a press conference in Louisville, in which he unveiled the first plank of his platform, Comer, the state's agriculture commissioner, stopped short of saying what, if anything, he would do to help Kentuckians who are able to buy health insurance because of federal government subsides available under Obamacare if the program went away.

"There are costs associated with getting rid of (the state exchange)," he said, noting that as soon as kynect, the state exchange went away, people would have to pay a 3.5 percent surcharge.

Of course, Matt Bevin, the other major Republican candidate for KY Gov is also campaigning on destroying the lives of over 12% of the state's population, so I guess that's par for the course:

Matt Bevin says he will dismantle Kentucky's health care exchange if he's elected governor.

The Louisville entrepreneur made that pledge as he officially kicked off his campaign for the Republican nomination.

For the record, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination is Jack Conway, the state Attorney General, who lost the 2010 Senate race to Rand Paul.