Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

One More Time: The Budget Crisis Is A Health Care Crisis
February 23, 2009

Still worried today's fiscal responsibility summit means there's a secret plan to cut Social Security? Then pay attention to Peter Orszag, Obama's budget director and bona fide fiscal conservative, who said this on CNN this morning: "Health care is clearly the key to our fiscal future, so we need to get health care costs under control and we want to do that this year." It's all about health care. And this administration knows it.  Update: Paul Krugman has a wonderfully simple explanation of why this is the case.  --Jonathan Cohn 

Random Oscar Thought Of The Night
February 22, 2009

Why no special tribute to Paul Newman? Few figures in the history of modern cinema match his stature, plus there's his impressive record of philanthropy to consider. And with that, I leave the commentary to Chris...  --Jonathan Cohn

Sneak Peek: What Obama Budget Will Say On Health
February 21, 2009

President Obama has said health care is the next major item on his domestic agenda and that it remains a “year one” priority. But just how big are his policy ambitions? And how, precisely, does he intend to pursue them? Answers to those questions will start to come this week, when Obama outlines his budget priorities in a speech and formal report to Congress.

The Emerging Mandate Consensus--and Obama
February 20, 2009

Friday's New York Times brings another scoop from veteran health care reporter Robert Pear. And this one offers some pretty interesting hints about how the health care debate might unfold. The story focuses on the ongoing meetings of health care lobbyists that Senator Ted Kennedy began convening last year. Calling themselves the "workhorse group," they represent everybody from labor unions and doctors to large employers and insurers.

I Hate Universal Health Care. Except That I Don't.
February 19, 2009

Today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution carries an op-ed on health care that is positively infuriating--but also, in one sense, encouraging. First, the infuriating part.

This Is How You Define Fiscal Responsibility
February 19, 2009

Word that the Obama administration was planning a summit next week on entitlements and fiscal responsibility sent shudders through the progressive community. Didn't we just get rid of the guy who wanted to gut Social Security? But Obama has said consistently that the federal government doesn't have an entitlements problem. It has a health care problem. The cost of medical care is skyrocketing. This is turning Medicare and Medicaid into massive drains on the federal treasury. To bring those costs under control, the government needs to change the way we deliver and pay for medical care.

Times: Sebelius Now Top Choice For Hhs
February 19, 2009

Peter Baker and Robert Pear of the New York Times are reporting that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has emerged as the top choice to become Secretary of Health and Human Services, the post Tom Daschle was once supposed to take. (As for Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, whose name generated so much controversy in the past two weeks, I'm hearing he is unlikely to get the job.) A Sebelius appointment would be both popular and, I think, smart.

This Won't Hurt a Bit
February 18, 2009

Health care reform for dummies.

An Emanuel Who Doesn't Curse But Knows Health Care
February 18, 2009

Ezekiel Emanuel has drawn lot of attention in the past few days. And it's not just because he's the older brother of Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel is the prominent oncologist and policy expert who's now working on health care reform for the Obama administration. In his writings, which include an article in this magazine and (more famously) a book called Healthcare, Guaranteed: A Simple, Secure Solution for America, Emanuel has called for replacing existing insurance arrangements with a voucher system. Everybody would choose from among a set of affordable private plans.

The Grade On Detroit's Bailout Proposals: Incomplete
February 17, 2009

Susan Helper is the AT&T Professor of Economics at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, and an expert on the auto industry. In December, she co-authored an article making the case for a rescue of the Detroit Three--and then sketching out what such a package should look like. On Tuesday, when Chrysler and General Motors submitted their new viability plans, we asked her to write a follow-up: GM and Chrysler have submitted their plans for getting $22 billion in additional government loans.