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Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

An eyewitness to the aftermath of Monday's shooting at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard described the chaotic situation to TPM, including a moment where she watched a wounded man being dragged away from the scene.

Bettina Ramon, a 33-year-old employee at Calvary Women's Services, said she arrived at 8:30 a.m. ET on the corner of M Street and New Jersey Avenue to catch a bus, half a mile away from the Naval Sea Systems Command building where the shooting took place. She initially didn't pay attention to a few police cars headed toward the building. "That's kind of typical," she said.

But then the volume of police cars increased and another bystander told Ramon and others that shots had been fired. Little did Ramon know, she had arrived at the bus stop at the same time that the shootings reportedly started.

"Things just really picked up after that," she said. "It's kind of a blur. It was happening so fast."

At some point, Ramon said she and some other bystanders at the bus stop saw a man being dragged across a street in front of a CVS pharmacy. At first, Ramon thought the man had suffered a heart attack until other bystanders deduced that he had been shot, based on reports from Twitter. After that, she tried to look away.

The wounded man, who was wearing khaki pants and a blue button-up shirts, did not appear to be a law enforcement officer. People were attending to him on the ground in front of the pharmacy, though Ramon never saw him taken away from the scene in an ambulance.

Ramon said she never heard any gun shots, nor saw anybody who appeared to be a gunman.

Police at the scene didn't tell bystanders what was happening, Ramon said, and she didn't ask. She was looking for a way to leave the scene.

"I think I felt at first confused, scared. Both of those feelings started increasing. I wound up feeling terrified," Ramon said. "I just wanted to leave. I just wanted to get out of there. I couldn't figure out how to do that."

Eventually, she asked a man in uniform if she could leave and was given the OK after being stuck there for about 20 minutes.

Correction: This post has been updated to correct the name of Ramon's employer to Calvary Women's Services.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed legislation Monday to expand the state's Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

The expansion is expected to expand health coverage to more than 300,000 Michiganders in its first year and nearly 500,000 eventually.

“A healthier Michigan is an important part of our state’s continued comeback,” Snyder said when signing the bill. “Today, we’re reaching out to nearly a half-million Michiganders with a message that help is there for them and their families to lead healthier, more productive lives. And this innovative approach will make our recovering economy stronger, too, saving money for taxpayers and job providers.”

Michigan is one of a handful of Republican-controlled states to agree to the expansion; most have resisted. Snyder actively pushed for the expansion, but the bill was nearly derailed by opposed GOP lawmakers, as TPM chronicled last month.

Because a gridlocked Congress won't be passing a new budget anytime soon, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule Friday for $1.1 billion in Medicaid cuts to hospitals under the Affordable Care Act, cuts that could hit hospitals particularly hard in states that don't expand Medicaid through the law.

President Obama proposed postponing the cuts one year in his FY 2014 budget because not every state is expanding Medicaid as originally planned. The cuts, which are to payments for hospitals that perform a lot of uncompensated care, were included in Obamacare because the law would cover more people, decreasing the overall amount of uncompensated care.

The president's proposal reflected the reality that 20-plus states have refused to expand Medicaid coverage under the health care reform law. If the cuts went into effect, hospitals in those non-expanding states would receive smaller reimbursements from HHS without the compensatory expansion of coverage.

But without a new budget from Congress, HHS wasn't able to implement the president's proposal.

"HHS has no flexibility to institute a delay of the DSH allotment reductions without congressional action," the rule released Friday said.

The department did decide to only finalize the cuts for FY 2014 and 2015, opening the opportunity for reevaluation after the effects of non-expansion can be assessed.

The Obama administration determined this month that married same-sex couples are entitled to spousal military benefits, but three GOP-controlled states -- Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi -- have refused to grant them to members of their National Guards. Now advocates are urging the federal government to push back.

The leaders of OutServe-SLDN, an LGBT advocacy group composed of active and former military, sent a letter last week to Gen. Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, laying out the options for confronting those states. The authors argued that it was the U.S. Defense Department's responsibility to make things right.

"You, as the responsible official for these activities, have authority to ensure systems are properly used to enroll all eligible applicants and ensure access to federal entitlements," the letter, which was copied to Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey, said.

Read More →

The Florida Department of Health took a big step toward obstructing Obamacare outreach this week -- then almost immediately walked it back Thursday, at least in one of the state's biggest counties.

The state health department quietly sent a directive Monday to local county health departments, telling them that Obamacare's so-called navigators -- federally funded groups that are charged with helping people sign up for coverage under the law -- would not be allowed to do outreach in their offices.

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) will relent and expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, according to a local report, extending health coverage to more than 400,000 people.

LancasterOnline cites "sources close to the governor" in its report. An announcement is expected next week.

Corbett had previously balked at accepting federal money to expand the program. He cited concerns about the federal government's funding committment and demanded that the Obama administration allow Medicaid reforms before he would aggree to the expansion.

The news site noted it was "not immediately clear" what changed Corbett's mind.

Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist threw his weight Thursday behind a congressional effort to allow legal marijuana business to get federal tax breaks.

Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, the group that pressed congressional Republicans to sign a strict anti-tax pledge, stood alongside Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a tea party favorite, at a Thursday press conference to advocate for the change.

At issue is a section of the federal tax code that prohibits business considered drug traffickers from taking basic tax deductions from business expenses. It was added to the tax code back in the 1980s to target large-scale drug cartels, but hasn't been changed even though 20-plus states have legalized marijuana in some form.

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Asked about Vladimir Putin's New York Times op-ed, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took the opportunity Thursday to criticize the Russian president's gay rights record.

Putin, Pelosi pointed out, ended his piece with these words: "We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."

"I hope that applies to gays and lesbians, too," Pelosi quipped, likely referencing a new Russian law that bans the promotion of "non-traditional" sexual relationships and has stirred up considerable controversy.

Saying the House had too much to do, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday urged Speaker John Boehner to keep the House in session as the chamber works to avoid a government shutdown and address other issues.

The House had recessed by Pelosi's 1 p.m. press conference, and Pelosi said it was her understanding that the House would reconvene on the week of Sept. 23. She repeatedly noted that the House had only been back from its summer recess for four days and listed the issues that the chamber needed to address: the continuing resolution to fund the government, the farm bill and immigration reform among them.

"I'm calling upon Republican leadership to keep House in session," Pelosi said.

As TPM has reported, the frenzy over what to do about Syria has complicated the already limited timetable to pass a bill to keep the government running.

Pelosi also sniped at the House GOP's latest gambits to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act through brinksmanship on government spending or the debt ceiling..

"They are proposals to shut down government. They know that. They know their proposals are not going to pass the Senate or be signed by the president," she said. "Just because you're an anti-government ideologue who has landed in Congress doesn't mean you can shut down the government."

A Massachusetts college student will be annonced Thursday as the first winner of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services's Obamacare outreach contest.

Jason Girouard, an 18-year-old student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, will be the early bird winner for the contest, started last month by HHS as a way of promoting the health care reform law to young adults. He will be awarded $1,500 in prize money, which HHS says he plans to use to pay for college.

As the contest requires, Girouard explains in his video why young, healthy adults -- 2.7 million of whom the White House hopes to sign up for health coverage in 2014 -- still need insurance.

The deadline for early bird submissions was Sept. 2. The final deadline for the contest is Sept. 23.

Girouard's video is below.

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