What Actual Bipartisanship Looks Like
June 17, 2009

Is it important to make health care legislation bipartisan? You can't answer that question without knowing what bipartisan health care would look like. And thanks to a quartet of former senators, we now have some idea. Sort of. For the last year, Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and George Mitchell have been working to hammer out a common health reform vision through what's called the Bipartisan Policy Center. (Mitchell dropped out when he joined the administration.) Assisting them in this effort were two of the top health policy minds from each party, Mark McClellan and Chris Jennings.

The Left's Laffer Curve?
June 17, 2009

Megan McArdle says there is "a growing frustration among reputable conservative economists that the promises of health care cost control have turned into the Laffer Curve of the left: a way to pretend that their favored policies don't have any costs." As something of a student of the Laffer Curve, I find the comparison preposterous. First, health care reformers are committed to finding offsetting tax hikes or spending cuts for every dollar of costs for expanded coverage. On top of that, they hope that cost-control measures can reduce rising health care costs.

"simply Dishonest." Obama? Or Bob Samuelson?
June 15, 2009

"Naive, hypocritical, or simply dishonest?" That's Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson talking about the Obama administration and its pursuit of health care reform. His argument in a nutshell: Health care costs too much money and Obama isn't serious about trying to take care of that problem. I agree wholeheardtly with the first premise. It's the second one I don't get. It's true that, in the world of health care reformers, there are those who focus on coverage almost exclusively. But Obama very clearly is not one of them.

Buyer Beware
June 12, 2009

One of the more promising signs for health care reform over the past two years has been the apparent support of the business community. Corporate executives and trade groups have repeatedly spoken out about the problems of our health care system. Even more remarkably, they have joined coalitions pledged to finding comprehensive solutions--the sorts of plans that would bring affordable insurance to all Americans while easing the financial burden many companies now face.

Taming The Insurance Wilderness
June 05, 2009

Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access WeBlog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. If there's any consensus among consumers or health policy experts alike, it is that the individual insurance market doesn't work.

June 04, 2009

Joe Klein happened to interview the Hamas leader an hour after Obama's Cairo speech. Meshal wasn't impressed: "Undoubtedly Obama speaks a new language," he told me. "His speech was cleverly designed... The essence of the speech was to improve the U.S. image and to placate the Muslims. We don't mind either objective, but we are looking for more than just mere words. If the United States wishes to open a new page, we definitely would welcome this. We are keen to contribute to this. But we [believe that can not happen] merely with words.

Why Won’t Obama Tell Us About The Cost Of Health Care?
June 04, 2009

As health care reform enters the phase of serious legislation, it becomes vital to understand what the American people expect and believe ... and how the forthcoming debate is likely to affect their views. Because no one has tracked these matters more carefully and professionally than the Kaiser Family Foundation, I reviewed a number of documents they've published during the past eight months and supplemented their findings with other credible sources.

Daily Affirmations 6/3
June 03, 2009

1. Ezra Klein breaks some news on, and explains, part of a possible administration plan to hold down health care costs. You should real read both of these two posts. An excerpt of the first: There are, I'm told, two policies under consideration. The first is a version of Senator Jay Rockefeller's MedPAC Reform Act. This legislation would move MedPAC into the executive branch. The commissioners would be approved by Congress and appointed for six-year terms.

Hard Truths About Obama’s Budget
June 02, 2009

According to the CBO, enacting President Obama's FY 2010 budget would yield annual budget deficits averaging 5.3 percent over the next decade, with a steadily rising trajectory after 2013 ("A Preliminary Analysis of the President's Budget, March 2009, Table 1-4, p.

How The Health Care System Is Like The Subprime Mess
May 29, 2009

Last night I finally had a chance to read Atul Gawande's terrific New Yorker piece about health care costs, which everyone is recommending. I'll leave most of the analysis to the healthcare wonks (though I don't want to sell it short--it's an engagingly written piece that any civilian will enjoy). But, from where I sit, Gawande's most interesting idea is an analogy he offers up: About fifteen years ago, it seems, something began to change in McAllen. A few leaders of local institutions took profit growth to be a legitimate ethic in the practice of medicine. Not all the doctors accepted this.