Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

Wading Pool
May 28, 2007

In Iowa on Tuesday, when Senator Barack Obama gave a speech about health care, he started by introducing Amy Chicos and telling her story. It seems that Amy and her husband, Lane, run a small business providing broadband Internet access to their small town. Twenty years ago, Lane was diagnosed with cancer--and ended up losing a lung, a leg bone, and part of his hip. He's in complete remission now, which is the good news. But, as a cancer survivor, he has sky high insurance premiums. The Chicos now pay 40 percent of their income for health insurance.

Presidential Health Care Plans
May 21, 2007

Mark Schmitt humbly begins his essay by confessing that he has worked on just one presidential campaign. Well, I can top that: I haven't worked on any! And while I've certainly covered my share of campaigns as a reporter, I'll confess that my expertise is in policy, not politics. On questions of campaign strategy, I'd typically defer to Mark's wisdom, which I believe to be considerable. That's particularly true on an issue like health care, which experience has shown to be so treacherous politically. And I suspect we share at least some common ground--more, at least, than he might realize.

Details, Details
May 07, 2007

Last month the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) issued an ultimatum to the Democrats running for president: Issue detailed plans for universal health care by August 1. Or else. OK, it wasn't quite that dramatic. There was no threat of specific reprisals against candidates who fail to meet the deadline.

Universal Health Scare
April 16, 2007

This is the second part of a four-part debate. To read the previous installment, click on the link below. Part 1, Monday: David Gratzer   Tuesday, April 17 Dear David, One reason I was pleased that you would be debating universal health care with me is that you are a physician. I know that these issues are not mere abstractions to you. They are human lives, which you've seen up close.

Universal Health Scare
April 16, 2007

Dear Jonathan, Millions without insurance, rising health costs, uneven quality--on this, we agree: American health care is riddled with problems. It's enough to make a person look for a sweeping new proposal. In your book, you do just this, flirting with some type of government solution. Then, in an essay last week, you explained that countries with such systems "outperform" American health care. I understand that argument. In fact, not that long ago, I shared your point of view. I was born and raised in Canada.

Universal Health Scare
April 16, 2007

This is the final part of a four-part debate. To read the previous installments, click on the links below. Part 1, Monday: David Gratzer Part 2, Tuesday: Jonathan Cohn Part 3, Wednesday: David Gratzer   Thursday, April 19 Dear David, Thank you, again, for the gracious response--and for participating in this debate. The perspective of physicians is, for all the obvious reasons, crucial as we talk about redesigning our health care system. And you have already contributed many insights. Still, I have to take issue with some of your concluding thoughts.

Universal Health Scare
April 16, 2007

This is the third part of a four-part debate. To read the previous installments, click on the links below. Part 1, Monday: David Gratzer Part 2, Tuesday: Jonathan Cohn   Wednesday, April 18 Dear Jonathan, First, let me thank you for the kind words. I also respect your desire to better American health care.

Comparative Advantage
April 09, 2007

Depending on where you get your political commentary, you may have heard that John Edwards is a bad husband or father for sticking with his presidential campaign even though his wife, Elizabeth, was recently diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. But did you know that he is also a hypocrite--or, at least, a fool? That's what conservative critics of his health insurance plan have been implying. "One hesitates to intrude upon a personal tragedy to make a political point," Michael Tanner, of the Cato Institute, wrote recently.

Nation First
March 19, 2007

You can't blame Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for moving California's primary earlier in the schedule. It's been a long time since the state with the most people had anything close to the most influence over the presidential nominating process. In fact, it's been a long time since California had any meaningful influence at all, except as a source of campaign contributions. Now the state holds its primary on February 5--probably along with Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and New York.

Great Danes
January 01, 2007

"If you want a lower standard of living," conservative policy experts Grace-Marie Turner and Robert Moffit wrote in an op-ed last week, "the Europeans have the right prescription." The topic of discussion was universal health care, but it just as easily might have been government-sponsored child care or generous unemployment benefits.

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