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DAYBREAK DAILY: McAuliffe raises volume on Medicaid expansion

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ABC7 WEATHER: Overcast with snow; highs in the upper 20s. http://wj.la/72e8x6

'GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Two bodies found in a home in Northwest at Georgia & Girard; complete list of snow-related closings/delays; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

JUST DO IT: Or else, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants lawmakers to give his office the authority to expand Medicaid if the panel authorized to allow expansion does not act by the end of this General Assembly session. But leaders of the House of Delegates immediately dismissed the governor’s proposal Monday, as competing strategies emerged between the House and Senate over resolving the biggest political dispute of the legislative session.

“The Senate is moving toward authorizing the state to seek a federal waiver to extend health coverage on July 1 to Virginians earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, or $21,404 a year for a family of two. Under the federal-state Medicaid program, the federal government has to approve a waiver for any changes in a state plan for administering benefits, including alternative approaches to extending coverage under the Affordable Care Act.” http://bit.ly/1egypBm

MEANWHILE: Different tune, same notes, per the Baltimore Sun, “With a deadline Tuesday for uninsured Marylanders to secure health coverage retroactive to Jan. 1, would-be enrollees continued to report frustration with the state's troubled health exchange. . . With the number of Marylanders still stuck in health exchange limbo estimated in the thousands, lawmakers in Annapolis are considering emergency legislation to expand eligibility for a state-administered plan that was supposed to be phased out after the Affordable Care Act took effect.

“State officials, meanwhile, were urging the uninsured to call 1-800-396-1961 by 5 p.m. Tuesday, which they said would ensure that they can buy a plan that will cover health expenses going back to the start of the year. Officials worked out the retroactive coverage with the insurance companies a week ago. It remains unclear when Marylanders who have been stymied by technical glitches with the website and call center will be able to buy their insurance. As of Sunday, 458 households had registered for retroactive coverage, a spokeswoman for the exchange said.” http://bsun.md/1jszOqs

GAY CURE: Or not, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Apryl Prentiss said she grew up in a Christian home, went to a Christian school and was heavily immersed in the ministry. But the Virginia Beach native said she also knew from a young age that there was something different about her, so different that it threatened her ability to be part of the community she loved. "As a young adult, I believed and had been taught that being gay and being Christian were mutually exclusive terms," she said. "Homosexuality was the sin to trump all sins and was spoken about with such disdain and contempt that I was filled with shame to realize it existed within me."

“In her early 20s, Prentiss underwent conversion treatment at a Christian-oriented counseling service in Virginia Beach, a process she said drove her into depression, hopelessness and intense self-hatred. She even contemplated suicide. On Monday, Prentiss, who now lives in Richmond, was one of two people speaking out against conversion therapy and in favor of a piece of legislation (HB1135) sponsored by Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, that would prohibit mental health professionals from engaging in efforts to change the sexual orientation of anyone under 18.” http://bit.ly/1dQ0UXt

GETTING IT DONE: And early, per the Washington Post, “The hallowed wisdom on Capitol Hill is that freshmen should be seen, not heard. That’s a notion that clearly doesn’t appeal to Maryland rookie John Delaney, and the Democrat from Montgomery County seems to be making powerful friends, not enemies, with his upstart behavior. A bipartisan effort to find new funding for roads, bridges and transit that he launched in the House last spring gathered momentum last week when two senators — one a Republican and the other a Democrat — introduced a companion bill in their chamber Friday.

“. . . One of the oft-heard laments as Congress has devolved into partisan trench warfare has been that, among all others, transportation historically was a bipartisan issue. While there was enough agreement in 2012 to cobble together a two-year transportation bill — supported by patchwork funding — the consensus of years past was notably absent. Now comes Delaney, 50, who got rich as chief executive of a health-care-funding company before he turned to politics. What he is proposing is dynamic, but that pales in contrast with the red-blue support that is forming behind it.” http://wapo.st/1hcTtcA

SITUATION SYRIA: per the New York Times, “American and other Western diplomats on Monday managed to salvage the long-awaited peace conference on Syria, which had seemed on the verge of unraveling before it even began when Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, issued an unexpected invitation to Iran to attend.

“The possible presence of the Iranians infuriated Syrian opposition leaders, who said they would not attend the conference. But after a day of intensive consultations in which American officials made clear their unhappiness with Mr. Ban’s move, Iran was disinvited, and diplomats affirmed the conference will begin in Switzerland on Wednesday.” http://nyti.ms/1fUW0vo

UNION NOW: Then again. . ., per The Hill, “Labor unions are at risk of having one of their most successful organizing tactics nullified by the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the high court will hear oral arguments in Harris V. Quinn, a case that could upend agreements with state governments that allow taxpayer-funded home-care workers to unionize.

“Those deals have helped boost public sector unions in several states at a time when overall union membership is declining. Business and conservative-leaning groups are pushing the Supreme Court to overturn the deals, arguing they violate the Constitution by requiring workers to punch a union card.” http://bit.ly/1dOTsMj

POLITICO PLAY: “The toll “Bridgegate” might be having on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie emerges in a new poll that shows Americans’ unfavorable opinion of the Republican governor has doubled. The share of Americans who view Christie unfavorably has jumped from 17 percent in January 2013 to 34 percent, according to a poll released Monday by the Pew Research Center and USA Today. However, his favorability ratings dropped only slightly during the same time period from 40 to 38 percent.

“The source of the shift comes from those who previously said they had no opinion of Christie, whose share dropped from 42 percent in 2013 to 28 percent. Forty-five percent of Americans said they have heard a lot of the George Washington Bridge scandal plaguing the governor and 28 percent said they heard a little. Of those, 58 percent said they do not believe Christie’s denials that he had any knowledge of his aides’ involvement prior to incriminating emails becoming public linking them to the closures.” http://politi.co/1jkbVE7

CLOSER: To the action, per City Paper, “After a year that saw the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability investigating nearly a quarter of the D.C. Council, the agency now says it wants to move where the action is: the Wilson Building.

“BEGA's 2013 ethics report comes loaded with wonky advice about revolving-door personnel rules and whether lobbyists should serve on District boards. Then there's a more concrete recommendation to move BEGA out of its Judiciary Square office space and into the Wilson Building to give it more of a "presence" in the District government.” http://bit.ly/19K9sPU

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Wizards beat Philadelphia 107-99.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “Giant Food of Landover has announced a voluntary recall of Velveeta Cheesy Skillet Singles Ultimate Cheeseburger Mac due to an undeclared allergen -- soy -- on the ingredient label. Those with soy allergies may experience life-threatening reactions if they consume this product, and customers who have already purchased the product can bring their receipt to Giant for a full refund.” http://wj.la/1e8w34B


--Skip Wood

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