Health Care

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?

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.