Jonathan Cohn

Senior Editor

Remember when Howard Dean was a rabble-rousing progressive, the one who ran for president railing against special interests? Remember when he insisted health care reform include a public insurance option, at one point suggesting that a plan without a government-run plan was “worthless”? Ah, good times… 

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The latest state to publish insurance rates under Obamacare is Maryland. The results seem consistent with the pattern we’ve seen so far. When state officials want the law to work, it works pretty well. And Maryland officials want the law to work. 

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A man. A plan. A canal. Panama. It makes you think of Theodore Roosevelt, right? Now it might make you think of President Obama, as well.

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It was one thing when Obamcare critics started fighting attempts to educate people about the law's insurance options—warning sports leagues not to promote the new benefits, for example, or criticzing states undertaking outreach efforts of their own. Now some conservatives are taking it a step farther. They're launching campaigns designed to discourage young people from using the law to get insurance.

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The Republican National Committee didn’t wait for President Obama to give his big address today before rendering a verdict on it. “Same Speech, Different Day.” And, for a change, they had it exactly right.

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President Obama has spent a lot of time talking about his rescue of the auto industry. And so perhaps it’s not surprising his detractors have seized on Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy as proof that the bailout was actually a failure—or, at least, not a success.

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Leaders of the Republican Party are still predicting that Obamacare will be a disaster, one that will wreak havoc on American health care. Most of their allies in the media say the same thing. But a small group of conservative intellectuals has been warning that the law might not be so apocalyptical—that, with full implementation about to begin, wholesale repeal may no longer be possible.

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Obamacare got some bad news late Thursday afternoon. State officials in Indiana announced that premiums for residents buying insurance on their own next year would be 72 percent higher than the premiums such people typically pay this year. They also announced that the typical cost for an individual plan next year would be $570, up from $255 this year.

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The implementation of Obamacare is an awfully difficult subject to cover. It requires following developments in Washington and in the 50 states, each with its own unique challenges and politics. It requires speaking with people in government and business, with insurers and employers and advocates, with the people who provide health care and, of course, with the people who use it. It’s a sufficiently difficult task that few writers have even tried to summarize it all in one place.

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President Obama on Thursday touted some good news about Obamacare. And, lord knows, he’s earned the right. Republicans and conservative intellectuals keep seizing on setbacks—some real, some imagined—and predicting that Obamacare will be a catastrophe.

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