Health Care

A Boondoggle to Love
November 16, 2009

Harold Pollack is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Special Correspondent for The Treatment. The Washington Post includes a nice little article by Aaron Davis on House  provisions to extend stimulus-package Medicaid subsidies to states by six months.

How to Build a Leaner, Meaner Lobbying Machine
November 16, 2009

I agree with Jonathan that Robert Pear's story about conservative legislators parroting health-care talking points from Genentech, a biotech firm, is a case study in the outsized clout of drug industry lobbyists on the Hill, generally speaking. But it's also worth noting that Genetech--a subsidiary of Swiss industry giant Hoffman La Roche--is actually part of the Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO) and not the bigger, better-known Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Pharma's Win, Your Loss
November 16, 2009

Will legislation that expands health insurance coverage also bring down the cost of medical care? That question has been driving the political conversation over reform in the last few days, as much as at an time before. And I'll have more to say on it shortly.

More for the Middle-Class, Less for the Poor
November 16, 2009

Amid all the concern about subsidy levels in health care reform comes word that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is, in fact, going to boost the financial assistance available to Americans buying health insurance. The problem? It's not the group who needs help the most--and it may come at the expense of those who do. According to Ron Pollack, executive director of liberal advocacy group Families USA, the Senate leadership has basically decided to give more help to middle-class families on the higher of the subsidy spectrum, whose incomes are 300 to 400% above the poverty line.

Curbside Consult: Who's Winning the War on Drugs?
November 15, 2009

Harold Pollack is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Special Correspondent for The Treatment. American drug policy has gone badly for many years. More than 150,000 injection drug users have died of AIDS. We have endured the crack epidemic and recent dislocation from with methamphetamine use. Opiate overdose deaths have tripled in the past decade, and now outnumber gun homicides in the U.S. At great economic and human cost, we incarcerate a half-million drug offenders, more than Western Europe locks up for all types of crime.

Who Deserves More Help? Reid Will Decide.
November 13, 2009

The big news this week is that, in order to pay for health care reform, Harry Reid is considering a Medicare payroll tax increase  that would hit high-wage earners. In theory, Reid could use that money to bolster the Senate bill, so that it could offer more financial assistance to people who need it.

Guns Don't Kill People...Er, Actually...
November 13, 2009

People continue to debate what motivated Nidal Malik Hasan to kill so many people at Fort Hood.

PhRMA, IMS Respond
November 12, 2009

Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Researchers of America have responded to my item from Tuesday, in which I discussed a new report projecting higher-than-expected growth for the drug industry. So has IMS Health, the global consulting firm that produced the report. In my item, I suggested that the IMS report attributed the higher growth--in part--to health care reform. An article in the Huffington Post, based on the same information, made a similar argument based on the same information. PhRMA and IMS say that both articles are misleading.

Massachusetts Miracle or Massachusetts Mess?
November 12, 2009

If health care reform becomes law, the system it creates nationally will probably look a lot like the system now up and running in Massachusetts. In an article that appears in the current print edition of TNR, I suggest that's largely a good thing. The Massachusetts experiment is hardly perfect. But it's put health care within reach of more people and laid the groundwork for more sweeping changes that might improve the efficiency (and control the costs) of medical care overall. Many knowledgeable people disagree.

Mass Appeal
November 12, 2009

Polls show that Americans are confused about what health care reform means. And, if you listen to members of Congress on television, you get the impression that some of them aren’t certain, either. But figuring out what health care reform entails isn’t hard. All you have to do is look at Massachusetts. Almost three years ago, the state introduced an ambitious initiative designed to make sure nearly all residents have health insurance. Under this scheme, the state requires employers to contribute toward the cost of covering workers, while requiring individuals to get insurance.