Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

Chip Off
June 11, 2007

In the last 30 years or so, few arguments have hindered liberalism more than the charge that government programs are miserable failures. And it is true: Some government programs really have turned out pretty badly. Building colossal concrete housing projects and then filling them exclusively with very poor people, for example, didn't turn out to be such a hot idea. But it's become harder to make such arguments recently, since the federal government has junked a lot of those less successful programs while concentrating on new, more promising initiatives.

Cautious Candidate, Cautious Plan
June 05, 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.

Hillary was Right
June 04, 2007

More than a dozen years later, Hillary Clinton wants the world to know that she has seen the error of her ways. That health care plan--the one that was supposed to revolutionize the medical industry and guarantee every American insurance--wasn't such a hot idea after all. "I think that both the process and the plan were flawed," Clinton admitted in an interview with The New York Times, demonstrating a level of contrition more fitting for an Iraq war architect.

Hillary was Right; The health care plan that dare not speak itsname.
June 04, 2007

More than a dozen years later, Hillary Clinton wants the world toknow that she has seen the error of her ways. That health careplan--the one that was supposed to revolutionize the medicalindustry and guarantee every American insurance--wasn't such a hotidea after all. "I think that both the process and the plan wereflawed," Clinton admitted in an interview with The New York Times,demonstrating a level of contrition more fitting for an Iraq wararchitect. "We were trying to do something that was very hard to do,and we made a lot of mistakes." A lot of people will hear that and nod in agreement.

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.

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