In it, but not of it. TPM DC

A new report by the Urban Institute analyzing government projections in U.S. health care spending shows that it is growing at even slower rates than what was originally projected with the passage of Affordable Care Act. The study predicts that the U.S. will spend $2.6 trillion less on health care between 2014-2019 than what was initially anticipated when Obamacare was passed in 2010.

“Health care costs have had several years of really historic low spending during the period, so overall, public programs, private spending is all less than we thought it would be,” said Gary Claxton, vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Each year we see spending going up 3 percent, 2 percent, whatever, and not 5 percent, and because that stuff compounds, when it continues to go up more slowly ... it starts to really add up.”

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Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a searing -- and at times, wrenching -- dissent in a Supreme Court illegal-stop-and-search case in which she accused the conservative majority of giving "officers an array of instruments to probe and examine you."

"When we condone officers’ use of these devices without adequate
cause, we give them reason to target pedestrians in an arbitrary manner," she wrote. "We also risk treating members of our communities as second-class citizens."

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The federal Bureau of Land Management has announced it plans to return to work, clean up and access the Gold Butte region near Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch for the first time since Bundy and his brigade led a standoff against BLM officials in 2014.

Bundy – who stopped paying federal grazing fees on the land near his ranch more than two decades ago– had become an icon for anti-government extremists with his outspoken denouncement of the federal government. His declaration against federal officials in 2014 and refusal to stop grazing his cattle on the federal land attracted armed anti-government types to face off against federal authorities in 2014.

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This is it. This week House Republicans will unveil their plan to replace Obamacare.

Except by "plan" they mean be a “broad outline,” and by “replace” they mean without giving any specific dollar amounts that would show how far they'd go to guarantee that Americans don't lose coverage, according to a report last week in The Hill.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) will roll out the policy paper at a Wednesday event at the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative think tank in Washington. It comes as a part of series of general initiatives -- "A Better Way,” as Ryan is calling it -- which the speaker has described as showing voters what Republicans are for, not just what they’re against.

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The same Republicans who have argued that gay couples should not be allowed to marry, that LGBT Americans don't need federal anti-discrimination protections and that trans people should not use the bathroom that matches their identity are now claiming that they -- not Democrats -- are the party on the LGBT community's side.

Their reasoning? That somehow, in the wake of the Orlando shooting at a gay night club that left 49 people dead, there's now a mutually exclusive choice between supporting Muslims and protecting gay people, and Democrats have chosen the former.

The unlovely premise of that rationale is that all Muslims are terrorists, as one Republican congressman has baldly stated.

"Democrats are in a perplexing position. On the one hand, they’re trying to appeal to the gay community, but, on the other hand, they’re trying to also appeal to the Muslim community, which, if it had its way, would kill every homosexual in the United States of America,” Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said on a radio show Thursday.

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Donald Trump promised he wasn't going to change after becoming the presumptive GOP nominee. He hasn't -- or he can't. It's killing his electoral chances.

What worked for Trump in the GOP primaries isn’t work for him in the general election, where his brand of bombastic, xenophobic fear-mongering doesn't play in front of a different audience of voters.

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Women may be required to register for the draft as soon as 2018.

The Senate on Tuesday voted 85 to13 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, which included a provision requiring women who turn 18 after January 2018 to sign up for the draft. The New York Times reported that not registering could stop women from being able to access federal aid such as Pell grants.

The provision–supported by both Republicans and Democrats– would be a major step forward for women's participation in the military, the next frontier after women fought to serve in combat roles.

However, differences with the House of Representatives over the issue could bring Congress to a standstill and stall the appropriations process. The House had originally included the provision in their underlying military spending bill after Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) introduced it to make a point against women serving in combat roles (he never supported it). It passed in the committee, but the provision was stripped out of the bill by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) in the House Rules Committee before it went to the floor.

"I regretfully introduce this amendment," Hunter said at the time he introduced it. "My daughters talk about serving. My son talks about serving, but I don't want to put my daughters in a place where they have to get drafted."

Many of the top Republicans in the Senate supported extending the draft to women, arguing it was just the next way to expand opportunities for women in the military. Both Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have been on the record in support.

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Louisiana's Medicaid expansion marked a major breakthrough for Obamacare as the first state in the Gulf South to opt into the program, a move only possible after Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards won the governor's mansion last year.

But now that the program has been open for enrollment for two weeks, the dramatic success the state has had in bringing residents into the program has attracted national attention.

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GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill are trying their best to avoid having to deal with Donald Trump’s response to the worst shooting in U.S. history. With Trump the story of the day Tuesday, some members tried to dodge questions about the Muslim ban or Trump's speech Monday and others found respite in their offices or the House and Senate chambers.

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