Health Care

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 It must be repealed.”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.

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.

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