Health Care

Early Word on the House Bill (Updated)
October 29, 2009

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just released the health care reform bill she will introduce on the floor, in hopes of a final vote in the next week to ten days. You can read the text here.

A Reminder About Filibuster Math
October 28, 2009

With Joe Lieberman and, now, Evan Bayh threatening to support Republican filibusters of health care reform, it's worth taking a moment to contemplate what that would mean in terms of majority rule--or lack thereof. By most accounts, there are five non-Republican senators who might support a filibuster if reform includes a strong public option. The five are Evan Bayh, Mary Landreiu, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, and Ben Nelson. Assume, as a worst case scenario, all five were to follow through on the threat.

It's Not Just the Public Option
October 27, 2009

Topic number one in health care reform right now is the public option--and, in particular, Senator Harry Reid's decision to push a bill that includes an "opt-out" proposal. But Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, had relatively little to say about it on Tuesday, when she appeared at TNR's health reform conference. Her keynote address barely touched upon the subject.

Wyden's Choice--And Yours
October 27, 2009

Click here to read Jonathan Cohn's take on the comments made by Nancy-Ann Deparle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, about the public option at today's TNR health care conference. What good can the public option do if not enough people can access it? That’s the question that Senator Ron Wyden has been raising a lot lately. And he did it again this morning, at TNR's health care reform event.

House Dems Still Coming Up Short
October 27, 2009

Following the Senate’s big news yesterday on the public option, some House progressives have been feeling bullish about the chances for the strong version of the public plan, as I reported yesterday. But they aren’t quite there yet. After a House Democratic caucus meeting this morning, Representative Raul Grijalva said that the House had between 206 and 210 votes to support the strong version of the public option, which would reimburse providers based on Medicare plus 5 percent. “It’s still being contemplated,” he told me this afternoon.

Don't Oversell Our Prostate Cancer Success
October 26, 2009

A while ago, I criticized a new paper on the supremacy of the U.S. healthcare system that was being touted by Gary Becker and Greg Mankiw. The paper, by Samuel Preston and Jessica Ho at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that mortality trends for prostate and breast cancer were much better in the U.S. than in other advanced countries. My main beef was that Preston and Ho's research design was too blunt to really pick up on why this was the case. But I see that an updated NBER version of the paper has more details on what could be behind the better U.S.

Daily Treatment, Likes and Dislikes Edition
October 26, 2009

Insurance companies don't like women. (Kaiser Health News) Paul Krugman likes Massachusetts. (New York Times) Timothy Noah doesn't like the administration's deference to Olympia Snowe. (Slate) Austin Frakt likes the public option. (Incidental Economist) Harry Reid doesn't like his reputation as a softy. (Politico)  

Revenge of the Maine-ard
October 26, 2009

Now this is why I was rooting against that Olympia Snowe vote in the Senate Finance Committee: “The best way to move forward is to include a public option with the opt-out provision for states,” Mr. Reid, of Nevada, said at a news conference. “I believe that a public option can achieve the goal of bringing meaningful reform to our broken system. It is not clear that Mr. Reid has the 60 votes he would need just to bring the bill to the Senate floor if it includes the public insurance plan. Senate aides said Monday that Mr.

The Public Option Lives. Wow.
October 26, 2009

By now you've heard the news: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be including an "opt-out" variation on the public plan in the health care bill he brings to the Senate floor. It is not a full public option. It will not use reimbursements pegged to Medicare. As Ezra Klein says, it is still a major compromise for liberals. And yet it's also a lot more than liberals seemed likely to get, as recently as a few weeks ago. Indeed, it is hard to overstate what a turnaround this is--or how quickly it happened.

Will Reid's Decision Push the House Leftward?
October 26, 2009

Many liberals are hailing Senate Majority leader Harry Reid’s decision to pick the opt-out version of the public option over the trigger as a progressive victory. Representative Lynn Woolsey, co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus agrees--and thinks there’s no reason the House shouldn’t go even farther, and include a strong public option in its bill. Of course, we already know the House bill will be stronger than even the version that Reid endorsed today. It will be a national plan, with all states participating from the start.