advocate

Marcia Angell, M.D., is one of the nation's most well-respected experts on health care issues. And with good reason. A board-certified pathologist who also trained in internal medicine, she's a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School. Her writing credits include The Truth About Drug Companies and an award-winning article at TNR on the same subject.

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Earlier today, two key groups--the American Cancer Society and the American Association of Retired Persons--endorsed the House health care reform bill. On a conference call that's just wrapping up now, the American Medical Association (AMA) pledged its support, as well. But it did so with some crucial qualifications. The AMA made clear that it was endorsing not one but two bills: H.R. 3962, the bill that would expand insurance coverage, reorient the delivery system, etc.; and H.R.

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Disorganized

Tea partiers, townhall protesters, Texas secessionists--for the past few months, grassroots organizing has seemed to be mostly the domain of the right. And for a period this summer, they (okay, not the Texas secessionists, but the others) appeared to be successfully tugging the national debate in their direction.

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President Obama faces an enormous political challenge in figuring out how to respond to General Stanley McChrystal's request for more soldiers in Afghanistan. One the one hand, resisting troop requests from the military during a time of war is difficult for any chief executive--particularly for Democratic presidents.

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In their latest attempt to turn the tide against the public plan, some Republicans have begun trying to appeal to gay Americans to join their anti-government crusade. As The Hill notes today, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has co-authored an op-ed blasting “government-run health care” for The Advocate, the leading LGBT magazine. Together with his co-author, GOProud’s Christopher Barron, Coburn rails against the Ryan White CARE Act for forcing AIDS patients onto waiting lists to receive life-saving drugs from a government program.

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Democrat Charles Schumer has been a vocal advocate for the public insurance option and, more generally, among his party’s most effective public spokesmen on health care. Republican Olympia Snowe, despite considerable pressure from GOP leadership, has worked diligently to find a compromise both she and her Democratic counterparts can support in good faith.

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Over the last few weeks Jay Rockefeller has emerged as the Senate's most visible spokesman for a public insurance option. And, purely from a public relations standpoint, this is something of a mixed blessing. He comes from West Virginia and is pretty popular there, so that certainly helps bring non-coastal credibility to the cause. But Rockefeller speaks in a plodding, rambling style that doesn't always make for great television. He's also pretty stubborn, which makes him a loud advocate but not necessarily an effective one, at least given the way the U.S.

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Newsmax columnist calls for military coup to oust President Obama: There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic. America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it.

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Hawk Down

With the 2008 presidential campaign in full swing two summers ago, Joe Biden, then making his own bid for the White House, ridiculed Barack Obama on a momentous issue: Afghanistan. The occasion was an August 2007 speech by Obama outlining his plans to fight Al Qaeda, which included sending an influx of American troops and aid to the country. Later that day, Biden issued a snarky press release gloating about his own extensive record of pushing similar policies, and which cast Obama as a naïve newcomer.

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Show Me the Money

How do you pay for health care reform? This has always been the big challenge in crafting legislation. And it still is, as I write in my latest column with Kaiser Health News. There's widespread agreement--at least among Democrats and Olympia Snowe, the lone Republican working with them--that the bill coming before the Sente Finance Committee isn't generous enough. Specifically, it needs bigger subsidies to help middle-class people afford insurance, in no small part to make possible a stronger guarantee against financial ruin.

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