Ezra Klein has a lengthy, thorough response to the arguments that Republican Paul Ryan has made about the Democratic plans for health care reform. According to Ezra, Ryan make a few good points but is mostly wrong. It will shock you, I know, to hear that I agree with Ezra's analysis. But that's not the reason, or at least the only reason, the article is worth reading. At the end of the article, Ezra reports on an interview he conducted with economist Robert Reischauer: Robert Reischauer is the head of the Urban Institute.
Inside Health Policy's Julian Pecquet and Amy Lotven report on a Democratic memo sketching out a timeline for passage of health care reform. The gist is pretty simple: The House takes up the Senate bill and passed it by March 19. A few days later it passes a reconciliation bill and sends it over to the Senate, which starts the voting process on March 26. It's a "process" because, even though the reconciliation process limits debate to 20 hours, it doesn't limit amendments.
You’d have to be pretty cold-hearted to think somebody should go without insurance just because she has a kid with asthma, was born with diabetes, or survived a bout of breast cancer--just three of the conditions that today would render an individual “un-insurable” in the eyes of the insurance industry. To fix this problem, President Obama and the Democrats would prohibit insurers from denying coverage, or even charging higher rates, to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
If you obsess over every twist and turn in the health care debate, you may have noticed a story that Fox News posted on its website a few hours ago: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday President Obama will soon propose a health care bill that will be "much smaller" than the House bill but "big enough" to put the country on a "path" toward health care reform. A senior administration official told Fox Obama's proposal will be introduced Wednesday. "In a matter of days, we will have a proposal," Pelosi said, pointing to Obama's forthcoming bill.
Daniel Nichanian has an excellent post up at Campaign Diaries breaking down all of the House Democratic votes for health care reform now in play. It takes account of the very latest news, including the word that Republican Nathan Deal is stepping down. That reduces the majority threshold to 216. It doesn't attempt to predict a final outcome, but I suspect that both optimists and pessimists will find grist for their views.
An article that ran in Politico on Friday provided a Rorschach test for those of us following the health care reform debate. The story was about reform’s prospects following President Obama’s bipartisan meeting. And it dwelt, at length, with the situation in the House. In order to enact reform, as you probably know, the House will have to pass the Senate bill as written, as well as pass amendments that the Senate can consider through the budget reconciliation process.
John McCain has a reputation as a legislator of uncommon civility and integrity--largely because, for most of his political career, he deserved it. But the transformation of McCain into just another hackish politician over the last few years has been almost painful to watch. Today's episode of "Meet the Press" was a case in point. McCain was the first guest and spent the majority of his time fielding questions about health care reform.
February 26, 2010 President Barack Obama Senator Harry Reid Majority Leader Senator Max Baucus, Chairman, Committee on Finance Senator Tom Harkin Chairman, Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House of Representatives Congressman Charles Rangel Committee on Ways & Means Congressman Henry A. Waxman Committee on Energy and Commerce Congressman George Miller Committee on Education and Labor Dear Mr. President, Congressmen and Congresswomen Our health care system is in crisis.
Since I am back from having a tooth pulled, a second column on dentistry seems in order. My last column noted a terrific story by NPR reporter Sarah Varney about how hundreds of thousands of poor and disabled Californians have lost dental coverage through California Medicaid. Tens of thousands of these men and women have intellectual disabilities. Dentistry is a sore spot in our family. Finding a dentist willing and able to treat an intellectually disabled man for the pittance paid by Medicaid hasn't been easy. We've gotten some very shoddy care before finding the good dentist we now use.