High court takes union case: (Quin Hillyer) The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Thursday to consider whether government employees should be free to withhold dues from unions to which they don’t belong.

Until now, many government workers have been forced to pay dues for “collective bargaining” by union bosses even if the workers choose not to belong to the union. The Supreme Court considered overturning this state of affairs in the 2016 case of Friedrichs v. CTA, but with a court seat vacant due to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the justices split 4-4 and thus left the issue unanswered.

The new case the Supreme Court agreed to consider, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), involves Mark Janus, a child support specialist in the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family. He is not a member of AFSCME, but Illinois nonetheless deducts a fee from his paycheck in order to cover what the union says is Janus’s share of the union’s expenses for collective bargaining and related administrative efforts….

[The full story is here.]

Obamacare forces up Medicaid costs: One of the four main sponsors of last week’s last-ditch effort to replace Obamacare is putting a spotlight on one of the law’s main problems, which last week’s failed Senate bill would have fixed.

Conservative Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin had joined Dean Heller of Nevada as one of the two less-frequently named sponsors of what was commonly called the Graham-Cassidy bill. The bill would have taken all the federal funding for Obamacare, including for its expansion of Medicaid, and used a per-person formula to divvy the money up and send it back to the individual states as “block grants” that the states could use to design their own health-care systems.

Liberals particularly criticized the inclusion of Medicaid in the block grants, claiming the overall funding level would have the effect of causing major cuts in Medicaid. The claim was true only within the rules of the Washington budget game whereby liberals say that slowing the rate of increase of a program somehow amounts to a “cut” in the program.

That’s where Johnson came in, with a series of letters that effectively highlighted the problem of exploding Medicaid costs….

[Follow this link for the rest.]