Health Care

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 It must be repealed.”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.

Truman. Johnson. Obama.
March 22, 2010

Care for the sick. Serenity for the fearful. Those are the simple, elegant terms Lyndon Johnson used to describe Medicare on July 30, 1965, the day he signed it into law. He said it at the side of Harry Truman, who was nearly 80 then. They were at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, where Johnson had come to pay homage. It was Truman who had waged the first serious campaign for national health insurance.

BREAKING: House Passes Senate Bill; Reform to Become Law
March 21, 2010

Health care for all is about to become law of the land. On Sunday evening, the House of Representatives voted for the Senate's health care bill--a bill that would make affordable insurance available to nearly everybody, strengthen coverage for those who have it, and nudge American medicine in the direction of higher quality and lower costs. The final tally was 219 to 212, with the vast majority of Democrats voting for it and every single Republican opposing it.

A Victory For Social Justice, Hallelujah!
March 21, 2010

I don’t mean to poach on Jonathan Cohn’s turf, or Jonathan Chait’s either. For all the hysteria of the Republicans and the shady deals of the majority party, the passage of universal health care is a triumph of the democratic idea and of the democratic ideal. “Choose equality and flee greed,” Matthew Arnold urged the nineteenth-century British. Still, from the vantage point of class stratification, England remains a rigidly layered society.

Taking Care of Family Business
March 21, 2010

When Democrat Bart Stupak announced he'd be supporting health care reform, thanks to an agreement on abortion rights, a reporter asked Stupak if he'd consulted with fellow Michigander, John Dingell. "Yes," Stupak smirked, "Mr. Dingell had a piece of me last week." He went on to explain that the two had been in close contact. "I kept him apprised of what I was doing," Stupak said, "and he kept me apprised of the need to move forward." Stupak may simply have been paying homage to Dingell, who has been something of a mentor over his career.

With Stupak, Democrats Have the Votes (Confirmed)
March 21, 2010

The abortion issue isn't going to stop health care reform. In a late afternoon press conference, Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak and six of his Democratic colleagues announced that they were dropping their objections to the Senate bill, thanks to a new executive order that makes clear taxpayer dollars won't finance abortion services. Instead, the seven Democrats said, they will vote yes when the Senate bill comes up for consideration later tonight.

BREAKING: An Ugly Scene
March 21, 2010

You may have heard or read about the ugly scenes on Capitol Hill yesterday, when a few conservative activists shouted racial and homophobic epithets at Democratic lawmakers. Today the conservative activists are back. And so is the ugliness--only this time, a few Republicans were actually encouraging them. That's an incendiary charge, I know. But let me describe what just transpired here inside the House of Representatives: Moments ago, while members were on the floor for a vote, a protester stood up in the visitor's gallery and began shouting "Kill the bill! Kill the bill!