Health Care

Endorsements That Matter
March 19, 2010

When people talk about important endorsements, they usually mean endorsements from interest groups, politicians, or maybe editorial pages. But the endorsements that matter most to me are the ones that come from people who understand public policy and share my values. And nobody fits that description better than Bob Greenstein, head of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Few experts in Washington command more respect than he does. Even conservatives agree he is as honest as he is smart.

Required Reading: The Bill and the Volsky Chart
March 18, 2010

Here is the actual legislation, direct from the House Rules Committee website. More important, perhaps, here is the easy-to-read, essential-for-understanding breakdown from Wonk Room's Igor Volsky. Can't read one without the other.

This Is What Fiscal Responsibility Looks Like
March 18, 2010

Just now at the White House press briefing, a reporter (I couldn't tell who) pressed spokesman Robert Gibbs about how the administration could be confident of cost savings, given that the Congressional Budget Office itself admits projections deep into the future contain enormous uncertainty. I'm sure reform critics will be making the same argument in the next few days, and that it will reinforce doubts many Americans already harbor. So let's be clear about why this is wrong. No, these projections are not a precise science.

Health Care Reform's Finished Draft (Updated)
March 18, 2010

Democrats have submitted the final draft of health care reform. It should get a good grade. After weeks of negotiation, they have agreed upon a set of amendments to the Senate health care bill. The changes mean the package as a whole will cover more people, and save more money, than the Senate bill would have originally. House Democratic leaders are saying enactment would produce biggest deficit reduction act in 17 years. House Majority Whip James Clyburn described himself as "giddy." The Democrats had to confront some tough trade-offs, too. And the amendments reflect that.

Dems Get the CBO Score They Want
March 18, 2010

Democrats in the administration and Congress have agreed on a set of amendments to the Senate health care bill.

Blast from the Past
March 17, 2010

Op-eds by members of Congress, present or former, are rarely worth reading. Today's Washington Post provides one that is. It's about health care reform and its author is Marjorie Margolies. Margolies became famous, and infamous, in 1993 for casting the deciding vote in favor of President Clinton's first budget. It was a tough vote; polls showed voters in her district opposed the budget. She agreed to support it only after a personal appeal from the president.

You're HIV Positive. And We're Cancelling Your Coverage.
March 17, 2010

Imagine this: Not long after getting word that you are HIV positive, you receive a letter from your insurance carrier. They're revoking your coverage because, upon examining your medical records, they've decided you knew about your condition and hid it from them. You have no idea what they are talking about; you bought this policy before the diagnosis. But when you inform them of this, and even provide some evidence that their investigation is in error, they ignore you.

At the Bottom, Looking Up
March 17, 2010

The politics of health care reform have looked shaky for the last twenty-four hours. But Time's Jay Newton-Small has a message for the Democrats: "This is likely to be as bad as it's going to get." She explains: If you pass the bill, next week's coverage is likely to trumpet triumph, the most productive legislative session since LBJ, an historic and seminal victory. It's getting from here to there that's the hard part--especially for those 12-20 swing votes under the most pressure. For them, especially the vulnerable ones, this might not be rock bottom: they may well lose reelection.

Diversion Tactics
March 17, 2010

I agree with Ezra Klein that the House Democrats are foolish to enact health care reform through this "deem and pass" method. And I agree with Ezra, again, that Republicans are being ridiculously hypocritical to attack it as unfair. But that's not why I recommend you read his post. It is, rather, his analysis of why the Republicans are focusing on these attacks: this need for a nuclear response is a sign of their weakness in the face of the reality of this bill. They're much more comfortable talking about process, or marginal deals, then about the legislation itself.

Guilty of Practicing Good Government
March 17, 2010

Why is the CBO Taking So Long to Score the Health Bill?