Curbside Consult: Into the Pools
October 21, 2009

This is the second installment of our new feature: Curbside Consult. For the uninitiated, curbside consults are a venerable medical tradition, whereby a doctor seeks informal advice from an experienced colleague in treating a patient with a complex condition. In covering or understanding complex health and social policies, we need sometimes help too. Today’s interview is with Katherine Swartz, PhD. She is Professor of Health Economics and Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Who Likes the Baucus Bill?
September 18, 2009

Ron Brownstein does. No, he doesn't have a vote in Congress. But he's somebody to whom Congress listens--and rightly so. He is smart, careful, and happens to know a lot about health care. So what has him so happy? The bill's attack on rising costs: The bill represents by far the most serious effort to implement the innovative thinking from the community of health care reformers looking to move the medical system away from today's fee-for-service model toward a system that ties payments to providers to results for patients.

How Does Baucus Protection Stack Up?
September 16, 2009

One of the big questions about the Baucus proposal is affordability--that is, what protection it provides and at what cost. The best answer I've seen, so far, comes from Nicholas Beaudrot. He had the good sense to compare the provisions of the Baucus bill to those now available in Massahcusetts, under its newly reformed system. Better still, he put the results on a chart: Basically, when comparing roughly equivalent packages, the Baucus package imposes significantly higher premiums than the Massachusetts package.

UPDATED: Rockefeller Says "No Way" on Baucus Framework
September 15, 2009

Senator Jay Rockefeller, speaking Tuesday afternoon on a conference call co-sponsored with the Campaign for America's Future: I have sat besides Max Baucus for 22 years on the Finance Committee. ... I'm probably one of his best friend among Democrats. But I cannot agree with him on this bill. ... There is no way in present form I will vote for it.

Wishful Thinking From Schumer?
September 10, 2009

Now that Obama’s Big Speech is over, the focus of the health care debate has moved swiftly back to the Senate Finance Committee, as it prepares to release its own bill next week. At a press conference on Capitol Hill today, the Senate Democratic leadership stood before a bold blue sign with their newly minted slogan: “The Season for Action Is Now.” It's a variation on a line from Obama’s speech, “Now is the season for action.” The question now is where that action should take place--and what kind of action should be.