Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

The End Of Private Health Insurance. Not.
April 13, 2009

Editor's Note: Jacob S. Hacker is co-director of the Center for Health, Economic, and Family Security at U.C. Berkeley; a fellow at the New America Foundation; and the editor of Health at Risk: America's Ailing Health System--and How to Heal It. He's also a regular guest contributor to The Treatment. His "Health Care for America Proposal," published through the Economic Policy Institute in early 2007, is widely considered a rough model for the reform plans many Democrats, including President Obama, have since embraced.

Business Guru Embraces Reform. Should We Nitpick Why?
April 13, 2009

You may not have heard of Regina Herzlinger. But corporate America has. And it thinks she has something important to say. I'm not sure I agree. But I'm even less sure I should point that out. Confused? Let me explain. Herzlinger is a professor at Harvard Business School, author of countless works on health care, and a fixture on the corporate lecture circuit.

Why Battered Women Stay
April 10, 2009

Spousal abuse creates medical problems. There are a million other reasons why you should care about it, but it's a convenient excuse for using this space to recommend this extraordinary Hilzoy post, over at Obsidian Wings.  --Jonathan Cohn

Why Expensive Health Care Is Ok--except It Isn't
April 10, 2009

During a panel discussion the other day, I mentioned that health care is going to bankrupt our society if we keep spending more and more money on it. It's a familiar refrain. Almost everybody involved with the health care debate says similar things. And yet, as I heard the words pass my lips for the gazillionth time, I couldn't help but think they weren't quite true. There is no iron law of economics that holds we can't spend 20, 30, or even 40 percent of our wealth on medical care. In the aggregate, it's a matter of choices and trade-offs.

Stimulus Without The "t"
April 10, 2009

If there's a no-brainer policy right now, it's expanding service on rail transit that already exists. As Matthew Yglesias has repeatedly noted, it puts people to work right away, whether as drivers, attendants, or maintenance workers; it disproportionately benefits less affluent Americans, who are more likely to rely on public transportation; it injects extra spending into the economy, since more riders means more commerce for all of the businesses around station stops; and, all the while, it helps the environment, since fewer cars on the road means fewer emissions.

Selling A Public Plan To The Skeptics
April 08, 2009

It’s been two years since political scientist Jacob Hacker, one of the nation’s most influential health care experts, briefed the leading Democratic presidential candidates on what has become his signature idea: Creating a public insurance plan into which Americans could voluntarily enroll. All three candidates--including Barack Obama--went on to embrace the idea as part of their schemes for universal coverage. Democratic leaders in Congress have followed suit. But not everybody likes the idea.

This Is Not Britain. For Better And For Worse.
April 07, 2009

Tony Blankley takes to the opinion pages of the Washington Times today, trotting out a familiar but frequently effective line of argument. We can't have universal health insurance, Blankley says, because then our system will end up looking like Britain's, where the government makes everybody wait for services and frequently denies potentially useful treatments. First the federal government would get regulatory power over insurance.

Soaking The Rich: Now With Cool Charts!
April 06, 2009

Following up on my previous item--about Clive Crook's latest column and, more generally, whether we can pay for major domestic programs with progressive taxes--I checked in with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. A key question underlying this debate is just how progresssive our tax system is now. Chuck Marr, who is the Center's Director of Federal Tax Policy, wrote back with the following: Keep in mind that income in the U.S. is more unequal than in other OECD countries. Part of why they pay a larger share is that they make a larger share.

Has Obama's Organizing Machine Flopped Already?
April 06, 2009

Barack Obama's organizing machine was supposed to do more than get him elected president.

Detroit's Unions Seem Ready To Deal. And The Creditors?
April 06, 2009

With Chrysler and General Motors scrambling to meet government deadlines for restructuring, you're going to hear a lot of talk about which stakeholders are making the necessary concessions--and whether the unions, in particular, are giving up enough. As I've written before, the United Auto Workers deserves its share of the blame for the industry's troubled state. But, to its credit, it has already made significant concessions. And, by most accounts, it has indicated a willingness to concede even more.