Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

Another Vote For Taxing Health Benefits
April 17, 2009

David Williams, a smart consultant who writes smart things at the Health Business Blog, adds his voice to the growing chorus of experts who think that capping the tax exclusion for employer health insurance makes sense. Have I mentioned that I happen to agree? --Jonathan Cohn

Deparle: Two Options For Public Plan
April 16, 2009

The Obama administration sent a very clear signal about its feelings on a public insurance option yesterday. It came from Nancy DeParle, who is director of the White House Office of Health Reform, during a briefing sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Via the Wall Street Journal's "Health Blog," here is what she said: A public plan is something that’s sponsored by the government, and therefore has very low or almost nonexistent administrative costs, compared to others.

Did You Pay Your Taxes?
April 15, 2009

I did.  And I'm happy about it, too. I explain here. --Jonathan Cohn 

Michigan To The Gop: Drop Dead
April 14, 2009

Via Eric Zimmermann at The Hill come the first political advertisements of the 2010 election campaign. Only they are not actually political ads. They are car ads. They are for Les Stanford Chevrolet Cadillac, a dealer in Dearborn, Michigan. The ads begin with quotes from Republican Senator Richard Shelby, denouncing the American auto companies. "We're wasting our time to trying to keep them alive," Shelby says in one. Then the ads to go to an "interview" with the dealership's proprietors, who take turns sounding off about Shelby and other Southern Senators.

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.