Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

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.

Ronald Mcdonald Is Not Reform's Friend
February 14, 2009

Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access WeBlog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. I think President Obama found his new spokesperson for health reform: Julio Oseguida. The enthusiastic Mr.

The Right's Real Fear: People Will Like The Spending
February 12, 2009

Harold Pollack is a public health policy researcher at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, where he is faculty chair of the Center for Health Administration Studies. He is a regular contributor to The Treatment. For years, I have electronically subscribed to the Wall Street Journal. A simple accompanying pleasure is that I never click the “opinion” tab. The wicked and simple inner child of an otherwise great paper therefore never enters my world. Today, unfortunately, our paper man accidentally dropped off the Journal in place of the Times.

Gregg Not Joining Administration. This Should Upset Me?
February 12, 2009

Judd Gregg has had second thoughts. He won't be joining President Obama's cabinet after all. Here's an excerpt from his statement: I want to thank the President for nominating me to serve in his Cabinet as Secretary of Commerce.  This was a great honor, and I had felt that I could bring some views and ideas that would assist him in governing during this difficult time.

Betsy Is Still All Wetsy
February 12, 2009

Earlier this week, Elizabeth McCaughey wrote an article for, arguing against the stimulus package because it would allow government to destroy American health care. The article was wildly misinformed and misleading. But, surprise, that didn't prevent Rush Limbaugh and Fox News from citing it. Steve Benen has the whole story here. Alas, this is an old story with McCaughey, who put forth similarly dishonest arguments during the debate over the Clinton health care plan.

National Review's Science Fiction Fantasy
February 11, 2009

National Review's The Corner is counting down the top twenty conservative movies of all time. And checking in at number twenty is "Gattaca," a 1997 science fiction story starring Ethan Hawke and Jude Law. Wesley Smith writes it up.* The film, which I've never seen, is set in the future, when your genetic makup determines your destiny--what job you will do, how much money you will make, and so on. Hawke's character dreams of becoming an astronaut but cannot, because he is not "genetically enhanced" and lacks crucial physical traits, including sufficient height and perfect vision.

The Drug And Device Industries, At It Again
February 10, 2009

Pretty much every sensible expert believes that the best hope for curbing medical expenses in the future is to be more choosy over which treatments patients get. Fortunately, it also turns out that we presently pay for a lot of care that is unnecessary, if not downright harmful. The most compelling and comprehensive evidence for this comes from John Wennberg and his fellow researchers at Dartmouth, who have demonstrated that patients in places like Miami get far more care than patients in places like Minneapolis--and yet the Miami patients don't seem to be better off for it.

Obama: Health Care Remains A Year One Priority
February 10, 2009

For those still doubting that major health care reform can proceed this year, even without Tom Daschle and even with a growing federal deficit, here is what President Obama said in Fort Meyers, Florida, today: My hope is, over the course of the year, I’m going to be able to work with Congress to move forward a bill that gets us on track to every single person in America being able to get affordable, decent health care coverage. Phrasing is obviously important.

The Press Is Doing A Good Job
February 09, 2009

Forty-five minutes into President Obama's first press confernece and, by my count, we've gotten not one silly question about horse-race politics or polls. Instead, we've gotten tons of substantive queries--about Obama's policy choies, the state of the economy, and so on. Serious times call for serious questions, I guess.  D'oh. As I type this, somebody asks a question about the reports that Alex Rodriguez used performance-enhancing drugs a few years ago.