Health

Betting on the House (Updated)
November 06, 2009

Prediction: If health care reform comes up for a vote in the House of Representatives tomorrow, it will pass. OK, that’s not much of a prediction. Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t actually bring a bill to the floor unless she has the votes. And as of late Friday afternoon, she didn’t. On Capitol Hill, staff began talking about the possibility of a postponement until Sunday, or even early next week. The sticking points are the ones you’ve read about elsewhere: abortion and immigration.

EXCLUSIVE: The Insurers' Latest Scare Campaign
November 06, 2009

A little less than a month ago, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association--the trade group representing state-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans--released a misleading study suggesting that health care reform would mean higher premiums for small businesses and individuals buying coverage on their own. The basis for the findings were calculations by the consulting firm, Oliver Wyman.

Is Cost Control a Joke?
November 06, 2009

For all of the crazy arguments against health care reform, a few of them are entirely sensible--and worth taking seriously. As I write in my latest Kaiser Health News column, which appeared on TNR’s home page yesterday, one of those is the worry that Congress won’t follow through with promises to raise the revenue--or find the savings--necessary to finance expansions of health insurance. In other words, Congress may pass a law calling for reductions in Medicare expenditures or raising an assortment of new taxes.

Obama's Anzio, Or Ben Nelson's?
November 06, 2009

Paul Krugman's column today is about how the stimulus was too small. I agree entirely. What I find puzzling is his apparent belief that the Obama administration is the primary culprit for this shortcoming. Here's Krugman: But while health care won’t be Mr. Obama’s Waterloo, economic policy is starting to look like his Anzio. ... President Obama came into office with a strong mandate and proclaimed the need to take bold action on the economy. His actual actions, however, were cautious rather than bold.

The Great Recession and Inequality
November 06, 2009

Amid the dark clouds of the Great Recession, more than a few people have identified a possible silver lining--reduced inequality in America. Job losses on Wall Street, and talk of reining in executive pay and raising taxes on the wealthy, suggest at least a temporary end to rapid growth of salaries at the highest end of the market--a trend which produced the highest share of income on record for the nation’s top 10 percent of families in 2007. But this is short-term thinking at best.

The Christian Right Meets Tea-Party Might
November 06, 2009

“We are turning to socialism and away from God!” Joseph Grab said as he stood amid the thousands who gathered on Capitol Hill today to attend Michele Bachmann’s “House Call” protest against the health care reform bill. Grab, a retired engineer from Hershey, Pennsylvania, was clutching a leather-bound King James in his hand and a green sign that simply said “Pray” in the other.

Today at TNR (November 6, 2009)
November 06, 2009

The UN Report on Gaza Is Biased, Shoddy, and Unrealistic. But Israel Must Deal Honestly With Its Own Failures. by Moshe Halbertal Bush is a Genius! Health Reform is Dead! ‘The Weekly Standard’ and the Powerlessness of Wishful Thinking, by Jonathan Chait The House Has Seriously Weakened the Public Option--But It Still Works, and Is Still Worth Fighting For, by Jacob S. Hacker and Diane Archer What Happens When Moderate Democrats Turn Into Pundits? Bad Things. Very Bad Things.

The Weekly Standard, Where It's Always Good News For Republicans
November 06, 2009

Matthew Continetti's editorial in last week's issue of the Weekly Standard--"The Inevitability Myth: Health care reform is not a fait accompli"--makes the case that, despite all evidence, health care reform may not be enacted after all. (Continetti does concede that "the chances of some sort of health bill passing, at some point, are by no means negligible." So he's telling us there's a chance.) This sort of argument is actually the signature style of the Standard. A magazine like National Review specializes in making the case for conservative ideas.

Yes We Can, Pinstripes Edition
November 05, 2009

Long-lost reader EC writes: In the past 40 years, the Yankees are undefeated in the World Series under Democratic presidents (1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009). But they've lost every World Series with a Republican in the White House (1976, 1981, 2001, 2003). More broadly, in their 40 World Series appearances, the Yankees are 20-3 during Democratic administrations, but only 7-10 with Republicans in charge, and haven't won the World Series under GOP rule in over half a century.

The House Public Plan: Yes, It's Worth It
November 05, 2009

Jacob S. Hacker is the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University, author of The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream, and an occasional contributor to The Treatment. Diane Archer is the director of the Health Care Project at the Institute for America's Future and the founder and past president of the Medicare Rights Center. How short memories are in Washington.

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