Health Care

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?

What's the matter with Arkansas (and Idaho, and Oklahoma, and….)
March 17, 2010

Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and a Special Correspondent for The Treatment. The New Deal was famously described as an arrangement whereby the South was forced against its will to accept billions of dollars every year. Something similar might be said of the current health reform. Washington is on pins and needles waiting to discern the votes of Blue Dog Representatives whose constituents have the most to gain from health reform.  I was reminded of this fact by Michael Tomasky's recent column.

This Is Why You're Here
March 16, 2010

Slate's Will Saletan responds to pollsters Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen--and everybody else telling the Democrats not to support health care reform because it might not play well in November: Losing your job is a scary idea. It's natural to look for a way out. It's also natural to rationalize your self-preservation. You aren't really caving; you're just serving the public by heeding the polls. Isn't that a legislator's job? No. It isn't. Your job description is in the nation's founding documents. The Constitution specifies representative democracy, not direct democracy.

Nancy Pelosi’s Theory of Change
March 16, 2010

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a longtime advocate for universal health care. She’s also demonstrated that she has a good feel for the politics of her chamber and her party, simply by passing so many major pieces of legislation this year.

Pelosi Explains the Way Forward
March 15, 2010

It looks like the coming House vote on health care reform will be the decisive one after all. As of this weekend, sources including House leadership aides indicated that the House might pass health care reform under a special procedure, effectively making enactment of the legislation contingent upon the Senate passing amendments to its original bill. Some House members favor this approach because they don't trust the Senate and don't like the Senate bill.

What's Been Taking So Long?
March 15, 2010

From Politico's Pulse: The weekend included high drama for the drug industry as lobbyists huddled with Democratic staffers to work out a fee structure and donut-hole fix that wouldn’t bust the $90-billion commitment they made to pay for reform, industry sources said. Drug makers were asked to sign off on multiple solutions so that backup options were available should any of the fixes run into problems passing muster with the Senate parliamentarian.

Down to the Wire
March 14, 2010

The roll call was less than twenty-four hours away. And the votes still weren’t there. It was more than eight months ago--June 25, 2009--and the White House was hosting a luau on the South Lawn for members of Congress and their families. But with the House set to vote on cap-and-trade the next day, key members of the president’s staff and House leaders were huddling about how to proceed. There was even some talk of postponing the vote, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation. In the end, the administration and House leadership decided to go ahead.

Avoid This Contingency Plan
March 13, 2010

If all goes as planned, next weekend the House of Representatives will vote on health care reform. That much we know. But on what actual bill or bills will the House vote? And what's likely to happen next? Those are critical questions and, on Saturday, several sources said that no final decision had been made. Broadly speaking, the House has to do two things next weekend.