The Happy Talk Is Great. Don't Expect It To Last.
March 06, 2009

Thursday's White House summit on health care was all about cooperation and optimism. Republicans promised to work with Democrats. Corporate lobbyists pledged to find common ground with liberal activists. If you support comprehensive reform to make health care affordable for all, it was hard to walk away without feeling enthusiastic--about both President Obama and what he's trying to do. But at least one forum participant, West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller, wasn't feeling so cheery. Rockefeller is no enemy of reform.

Obama's Conversation-starter On Health
March 05, 2009

Standing before a packed audience in the East Room, President Obama just finished his opening remarks at the White House health care forum. For the next two hours, invited attendees--members of Congress and their top staff members, plus representatives for various interest groups with a stake in health care--will participate in breakout sessions on different dimensions of the health care crisis. Afterwards, the entire group will reconvene for a larger discussion. This event, to be clear, is primarily for show.

Don't Forget The Rest Of The Budget
February 23, 2009

  Ezra Klein, in his article on the White House fiscal responsibility summit that Jon linked to earlier, posts the above chart and says: Government spending and Social Security, it says, will hold relatively constant in coming years. It's Medicare and Medicaid that chew up federal spending. Isn't that second sentence sort of an odd interpretation of this chart? Clearly, the projected growth rate of health care costs is unsustainable, and finding ways to change that ought to be, far and away, the country's top fiscal priority.

One More Time: The Budget Crisis Is A Health Care Crisis
February 23, 2009

Still worried today's fiscal responsibility summit means there's a secret plan to cut Social Security? Then pay attention to Peter Orszag, Obama's budget director and bona fide fiscal conservative, who said this on CNN this morning: "Health care is clearly the key to our fiscal future, so we need to get health care costs under control and we want to do that this year." It's all about health care. And this administration knows it.  Update: Paul Krugman has a wonderfully simple explanation of why this is the case.  --Jonathan Cohn 

I Hate Universal Health Care. Except That I Don't.
February 19, 2009

Today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution carries an op-ed on health care that is positively infuriating--but also, in one sense, encouraging. First, the infuriating part.

An A For Effort? Talk About A Lousy Idea
February 18, 2009

There's a wicked little piece in today's NYT about how college students' somehow, somewhere along the way came to believe that if they put in the effort then they automatically deserve a high grade, regardless of the actual quality of their work. The article cites research into the subject. For instance: A recent study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that a third of students surveyed said that they expected B's just for attending lectures, and 40 percent said they deserved a B for completing the required reading.

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.

Ronald Mcdonald Is Not Reform's Friend
February 14, 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. I think President Obama found his new spokesperson for health reform: Julio Oseguida. The enthusiastic Mr.

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

Daily Round-up, 2/2
February 02, 2009

Obama and Baucus have voiced their support for Daschle.   Physicians for a National Health Program and other liberal groups have launched a new single-payer lobbying campaign. Harvard health economist David Cutler is joining the new administration.   Obama will order a full review of the FDA in the wake of the recent peanut scare.   Governor Paterson is taking heat from unions for the health care cost-control measures in his new budget.   Can disruptive innovation create a new business model for health care?   GlaxoSmithKline is preparing to cut 6,000 jobs.