Health Care

A Rumor That Won't Die
March 26, 2010

Just now on CNN, the hosts will reading recent viewer e-mails about health care reform. Among them was an e-mail attacking the new law. If health care reform is so good, the writer wanted to know, why are politicians exempting themselves from it? I've heard critics of the bill, from Republican senators to random internet writers, say this many times. And it's frustrating, because it's not true. As I've written previously, under the new law, members of Congress and their staffs must enroll in the new insurance exchanges.

The House Takes One Final Vote
March 26, 2010

The House sure didn't waste any time. Just hours after the Senate passed amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the House passed them, too, by a vote of 220 to 209.  And that's it. Congress is done with health care reform, or at least this phase of it. All that remains is for President Obama to sign the amendments into law. My colleague Jonathan Chait has observed how much the political landscape has changed, almost overnight. It's worth observing that the policy landscape has, too.

And Now the Real Work Begins (Cont'd)
March 25, 2010

President Obama and his Democratic allies should enjoy the moment. This was a hard-fought victory, one not years but decades in the making. Still, there is work to be done. And some of it must begin soon. In the new issue of Time, Karen Tumulty and Kate Pickert with Alice Park sketch out the major challenges ahead.

Senate Passes Reconciliation Bill
March 25, 2010

The Senate on Thursday afternoon passed amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. They used the budget reconciliation process, in which Republicans couldn't filibuster. The final tally was 56 to 43, with three Democrats (Lincoln, Nelson, and Prior) voting against one Republican (Isakson) absent due to illness. Republicans were successful at challenging, and striking, two provisions because of parliamentary rules. As such, the bill must go back to the House for final approval there. But neither change affected health care reform.

Moving Right Along
March 25, 2010

The headline today is that the House must take one more vote on health care reform. But, don't worry, the news from the Senate is almost all good. As you know, the underlying reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care, is law already. That happened Tuesday, when President Obama signed the bill.

Also, Pelosi Probably Moves Faster than Rostenkowski Did*
March 25, 2010

Those who favor repeal of health care reform frequently note that a precedent for repeal exists. That is true. But that doesn't mean it will happen this time. I explain why in my latest column for Kaiser Health News, which is online at TNR.COM today: In 1988, President Ronald Reagan and the Democratic Congress passed the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act. The bill promised to fill in some key gaps in Medicare coverage, chief among them an overall limit on benefits and a lack of prescription drug coverage. But the bill proved unpopular.

Majorly or Radically?
March 25, 2010

“There’s no fixing the government health care takeover Democrats forced through on Sunday. It must be repealed.” So said Jim DeMint, the Republican senator and presidential hopeful, speaking one day after health care reform passed the House of Representatives, clearing the final legislative hurdle to enactment. And it’s a sentiment you hear a lot on the right these days.

And Now the Real Work Begins
March 24, 2010

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. Maybe it’s good that right after President Obama’s health reform signing ceremony, the Senate went right back to work to improve it.

The Ride of a Lifetime
March 23, 2010

Harold Pollack is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Special Correspondent for The Treatment. I began this post headed to the White House, where I hope to watch President Obama sign health reform into law. It seems in keeping with my previous efforts that this was a frantic last-minute dash made possible by frequent flyer miles and the free night I had earned at a crummy suburban hotel. I almost didn't make it.

Health Care Reform Is Law
March 23, 2010

President Obama just signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Millions of people will gain access to affordable health care. Many more will gain peace of mind. And the dysfunctions of our medical care system will start to get a little less dysfunctional. It is an imperfect law. And it is a good law. I'll have more to say later.