August 12, 2009
'One of the things that will happen if we pass this [health care reform] bill is that you will have more and more health care provided ... by community-based clinics or comprehensive health centers that have salaried professionals, including doctors. ... That's what you have at the Mayo Clinic." If you've been following the health care debate over the last few weeks, then you've heard President Obama say something like this a dozen times.
The Enthusiasm Gap
August 07, 2009
Why we shouldn't scorn an imperfect reform bill.
Give It Up
July 30, 2009
Twice during Wednesday night's press conference, reporters asked President Obama what sacrifices his health care reform plans would ask of the American people. It's a common and intuitive question: in order to give the public something--like a guarantee of health insurance that they can afford--the public has to give something up. Of course, it hasn't always worked that way in practice, like in the Bush years. But just because the last guy in the White House didn't demand the American people to pay for some policies doesn't mean the new guy should.
Sorting Out The Great Pet V. Human Health Care Debate
July 14, 2009
This chart from Andrew Biggs at The American showing how spending on human and animal medical care has grown at nearly the same clip has gotten a lot of attention around the web: The point Biggs wants to bring home is that we shouldn't be looking at the growth rate in spending but the overall level: Two things are interesting here: first, the rate of growth of spending from 1984 to 2006 wasn’t all that different—and in both cases, spending grew faster than the rate of economic growth.
At What Cost?
July 14, 2009
Negotiations over health care reform screeched to a halt late last week when 40 centrist Democrats--members of the House Blue Dog Coalition--signed a letter saying they could not support the House’s emerging legislation without significant changes. Their major complaint? They said the House bill would not do enough to bring down health care costs and, by extension, limit the taxpayers' liabilities. Without more changes to reduce the cost of medical care, they warned, it would be unwise to back massive expansions of insurance coverage.
July 01, 2009
The first time I remember speaking with Karen Ignagni was via a TV satellite, for a debate about health care policy on CNN. It was the summer of 2007, not long after the debut of Michael Moore's Sicko, and each of us was playing our usual role. Ignagni is the telegenic president of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and arguably Washington's most influential health-industry lobbyist.
June 12, 2009
One of the more promising signs for health care reform over the past two years has been the apparent support of the business community. Corporate executives and trade groups have repeatedly spoken out about the problems of our health care system. Even more remarkably, they have joined coalitions pledged to finding comprehensive solutions--the sorts of plans that would bring affordable insurance to all Americans while easing the financial burden many companies now face.
June 03, 2009
Everywhere you look, health care reform seems to be chugging along. Insurers and drug companies are visiting the White House to show solidarity with President Obama. House Democrats are promising to pass a bill by July 31. But, if you talk to senior staff in the administration or on Capitol Hill, you'll detect anxiety over one tiny agency--an agency that helped kill health care reform in 1994 and has the power to do so again. That agency is the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which is just now weighing in on the debate.
Medical Miracle: Doctors Embracing Reform
April 02, 2009
Harold Pollack is a public health policy researcher at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, where he is faculty chair of the Center for Health Administration Studies. He is a regular contributor to The Treatment. For years, the medical profession has lagged only the insurers as a designated bogeyman for many who favor health reform.
April 01, 2009
In early January, most of Barack Obama's senior staff assembled with the president-elect for a meeting inside a windowless, eighth-floor office at the transition headquarters in Washington. It was a pivotal moment in Obama's transformation from candidate to commander-in-chief. Obama's advisers had taken all of his campaign pledges, factored in his promise to reduce the deficit, and put together a provisional blueprint for governing.