They Were Against It Before They Were For It
March 18, 2009
This week, Republican leaders have leapt to join the populist outcry against the bonuses that ailing insurance giant AIG has awarded its executives. But such rants against executive earnings mark a remarkable about-face for the right flank of the party, which condemned President Obama's decision to set limits on executive pay just last month. "I really don't want the government to take over these businesses and start telling them everything about what they can do." Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told ABC News in February, when asked about Obama's proposed limits on executive compensation.
The Business Lobby Still Wants To Play Nice
March 01, 2009
As Jonathan pointed out last week, it may be strategically wise for Obama to remain vague on his plan for health care in the budget--thus keeping "potentially hostile lobbies from going ballistic" and buying the Democrats more time to keep everyone on board. This strategy at least seems to have succeeded with the Business Roundtable, the powerful lobbying group that came out strongly against Clinton's 1993 health care plan. You'd imagine that a lobby representing major corporations would be livid about the proposed tax hikes for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.
The Young And Not-so-invincible
February 19, 2009
Conservatives often dwell on "the young invincibles"--young adults who opt out of buying health insurance not because they can't afford to do so, but because they don't think they need to be covered. On Fox News's "Hannity & Colmes," for example, Dick Morris claimed last year that most of the uninsured "are for the most part young, single people who don't want health insurance and haven't bought it because they don't want it." And if people are voluntarily choosing to be uninsured, the thinking goes, we don't really need to enact sweeping reforms that would make coverage more available.
Can Hillary Help Liberate Burma?
February 18, 2009
Hillary Clinton has indicated that the United States is considering a major shift in its policy toward Burma, most notably by lifting the economic sanctions that have restricted trade and investment in one of the world's most brutalizing regimes.
Why Paying Smokers To Quit Could Save Us Money
February 16, 2009
Should we pay people to quit smoking? A new study has shown that significantly more smokers will quit if they're paid by someone else to do so. Researchers tracked over 870 employees from General Electric for a year and a half, giving out payments of up to $750 to smokers who quit. Participants who were paid to quit were nearly three times as likely to quit as those who didn't receive the cash, according to findings published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine. Encouraged by the success of the trial, G.E.
Wyden's Political Balancing Act
February 12, 2009
It's easy to forget now, but the Democrat who re-introduced "universal health insurance" to the political lexicon a few years ago wasn't Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or even Ted Kennedy. It was Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who shortly after the 2006 midterm elections proposed a comprehensive reorganization of health care that would give everybody coverage. The plan, which Wyden dubbed the "Healthy Americans Act," got a great deal of publicity and attracted some impressively bipartisan support.
Daily Round-up, 2/5
February 05, 2009
Max Baucus and Ted Kennedy vow to enact comprehensive health reform this year. Kitzhaber isn't interested in becoming Health Secretary. Health insurer Cigna is voluntarily cutting executive bonuses. Are health-care stocks really recession-proof? Blagojevich issued an 11th-hour boost to Medicaid before leaving office. Americans are changing their attitudes toward stem-cell therapy. The army is seeing an alarming rise in the suicide rate. --Suzy Khimm
More Tax Troubles: Hilda Solis Edition
February 05, 2009
Another day, another tax problem for an Obama cabinet nominee. The Washington Post has just reported that a Senate session considering Hilda Solis for Labor Secretary was abruptly canceled this afternoon after USA Today disclosed that her husband had paid about $6,400 to settle tax liens against his business-some of which had been outstanding for 16 years.
Daily Round-up, 2/4
February 04, 2009
Obama signs S-CHIP. AMA cheers the bill. Doctor-owned hospitals are also happy. House Republicans have forced a health care task force. Experts recommend an overhaul of the nation's personal health privacy rules. Psych wards are closing their doors in Colorado. Hispanic and African-American cancer survivors as twice as likely to forgo care because of high costs. The peanut company behind the salmonella outbreak claims that the plant was inspected. --Suzy Khimm
Daily Round-up, 2/3
February 03, 2009
Senators Baucus and Feinstein are still in shock over Daschle's departure. House Democrats have launched radio attack ads against GOP members who voted against S-CHIP. The first of some 8,000 lawsuits against tobacco companies went to trial in Florida. The Washington Post examines the fate of the new uninsured. Medicare's "donut hole" could prompt the elderly to cut back on needed prescriptions. Rising health care stocks have bolstered the Dow. The recession has squeezed small business owners struggling to cover health care costs. Health care entrepreneurs are finding promising markets in th