How To Finance Reform? Keep An Open Mind.
May 12, 2009

The Senate Finance Committee is staging a hearing about the issue many observers, myself included, believe is the single biggest challenge in health care reform: Paying to expand coverage over the next few years, before efficiency improvements and other cost-cutting measures start to yield real savings. The purpose of this hearing is not to hash out a final deal.

Too Important To Compromise
May 11, 2009

One of President Obama's major priorities is making college more affordable, and he now has an historic chance to do that by reforming the way the federal government delivers student loans. Under the current student-loan program, the government essentially bribes banks to lend to students by offering them generous subsidies and promising to take on 97 percent of the risk. As Jon Chait and Kim Clark have written, the program is purely a sop to banking interests--absorbing money that could be used to increase the number and size of Pell Grants.

Tnrtv: How A Stimulus Could Torpedo Health Care Reform
May 11, 2009

Simon Johnson, professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and co-founder of, argues that if Obama continues to prioritize fiscal stimulus over recapitalizing the banks, he will put health care and other costly reforms at risk. --Ben Eisler Check out the latest on TNRtv: Cohn: A New Game Show--Why Republicans Can't Be Trusted On Health Care! Halevi: How to Stop Iran--"It's Now or Never" Scheiber: Why Inflation Fear Mongerers Don't Scare Me

The Stakeholders Letter On Cost Control
May 11, 2009

For those who want to read the actual text, here it is:  May 11, 2009  The President  The White House  Washington, D.C. 20500   Dear Mr. President:    We believe that all Americans should have access to affordable, high quality health care services. Thus, we applaud your strong commitment to reforming our nation’s health care system.

The Business Divide Over Climate Legislation
May 09, 2009

Via Marc Ambinder, this story from Bloomberg is worth flagging: Duke Energy Corp., the owner of utilities in the U.S. Southeast and Midwest, won't renew its membership in the National Association of Manufacturers partly because of differences over climate policy. "We are not renewing our membership in the NAM because in tough times, we want to invest in associations that are pulling in the same direction we are," Duke Chief Executive Officer Jim Rogers said last month in an interview. The association, the U.S.

Could Nyc Have Avoided Its Teacher-hiring Freeze?
May 07, 2009

Today, in light of this year's massive budget crisis, New York City's chancellor of education Joel Klein announced a hiring freeze on new teachers. This development dovetails with an article I wrote for this week's print issue about public school teachers in the Big Apple who get paid even though they don't have full-time jobs. They're part of what's known as the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR), a group of educators who've been displaced from their old positions by school closings, other structural decisions, or voluntary transfers.

An Unlikely Duo Pushes For Entrepreneurship In Schools
May 05, 2009

An "odd couple" of think tanks have combined forces on education reform. This morning, the Center for American Progress (CAP), the organization that spawned numerous Obama administration officials and policy ideas, and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), considered a leading architect of Bush administration policy, unveiled a joint report on innovation and entrepreneurship in education.

Dems For A Public Plan. Not (exactly) The Usual Suspects.
April 29, 2009

Sixteen Democratic Senators, led by Ohio's Sherrod Brown and West Virginia's Jay Rockefeller, just sent a letter making the case for a public insurance option as part of health reform. The letter is addressed to the two committee chairman who are in charge of health reform: Finance's Max Baucus and HELP's Ted Kennedy. And the letter is not overly specific about what a public plan has to look like--i.e., how much it has to look like Medicare and how much it has to look like, say, health plans for state employees. The list of signatories is a bit more interesting.

Obama Starts A Grown-up Discussion Of Health Care
April 29, 2009

The New York Times just posted David Leonhardt's latest interview with President Obama. It's full of fascinating material and well worth reading in full. But, naturally, it was the discussion on health policy that caught my attention. The discussion--and it's really more a discussion than an interview, which is one of the reason's it's so revealing--doesn't dwell on expanding insurance coverage and access to care. Instead, it focuses on why health care is getting so expensive and what can be done about it. Along the way, Obama makes two crucial points.

Universal Coverage Makes You Healthier. Here's Proof.
April 26, 2009

Harold Pollack is a public health policy researcher at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, where he is faculty chair of the Center for Health Administration Studies. He is a regular contributor to The Treatment. The term “health reform” means so many things to so many people: Controlling health care costs, improving quality and cost-effectiveness, stabilizing local, state, and federal public budgets, protecting patients against catastrophic financial loss, covering the uninsured, and more. Oh yeah, one more thing: Will it actually make us healthier?