Senator Ron Wyden has been promoting a universal health care plan for almost three years. And in the last few months, as it's become apparent that his plan wouldn't be the basis for final legislation, he's narrowed his cause to promoting one of its chief elements: "choice." The idea works this way: Under the proposals moving through Congress, most people with access to employer-sponsored insurance would have to take it.
Philadelphia Freedom: The Most Noxious Sports Fans in America Have Gone Soft, by Buzz Bissinger Beyond the Danish Cartoon Controversy: Are Images of the Prophet Really Prohibited by Islam? by Oleg Grabar Don’t Get Too Excited About the New GDP Number--The Recovery Is Still Very Shaky, by Noam Scheiber The Public Isn't as Ready for Bold Action as Obama Needs It to Be, by William Galston Congress Finally Stands Up to Big Pharma, by Jonathan Cohn DISPUTATIONS: What Would Obama’s Presidency Look Like If He Didn’t Need to Get 60 Votes?
Richard Yeselson is a research coordinator for the labor federation, Change to Win. The opinions he expresses are his own. Bill Galston thinks Democrats are in trouble because there's a non-trivial percentage of Americans who, because they are economically illiterate, wish to see rapid reductions of debt and deficits. He suggests that the Obama administration should seek to oblige them.
Earlier today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was up at the House Financial Services Committee testifying on the administration's proposal for dealing with threats to the financial system ("Too Big To Fail," etc.). One day earlier, he and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel held a closed-door meeting with Democrats on the committee to field questions about the proposal and urge them to hang together. For Rahm, it was at least the second time this week he'd participated in an event with top Treasury officials.
The business community is afraid of the public plan. David Williams says it shouldn't be. You'll never guess whose insurance policy pays for abortion services. Read Amy Sullivan to find out. The graphic truth about House versus Senate coverage provisions. Via the office of Rep. Jim Cooper, via Ezra Klein. That ridiculous claim of $700 billion in waste? Not so ridiculous after all. Christopher Weaver explains. And must-read of the day: Brian Beutler has reconstructed the deliberations about the public plan between the White House and Senate Democratic leadership.
Could Evan Bayh be backing off his threat to join the Republican filibuster of the health care reform bill?
Among the other important distinctions between the new House bill and what the Senate Finance Committee produced is the treatment of the pharmaceutical industry. The Senate Finance bill was true to the deal the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America struck with the White House and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, as first revealed by the New York Times and Huffington Post. PhRMA vowed to endorse reform and advertise on its behalf.
It’s a mistake to put too much weight on the results of any single public opinion survey. That said, Peter Hart and Bill McInturff are an unusually experienced and fair-minded bipartisan team, and I’m inclined to take their work for NBC and the Wall Street Journal seriously. Their latest results offer little encouragement for the president, either political party, or the political system as a whole. Let’s begin with the political system. Trust in government now stands at 23 percent—the lowest level in at least twelve years.
Obama wants a study of the country at a micro-level. That seems reasonable enough in the abstract--but it's also coming a bit late. This, too, wasn't done during that January-March review? It also signals something less than a vote of total confidence in the judgment of the top U.S. commander on the ground, Stanley McChrystal. Moreover, it further indicates that we won't see a decision on troop levels in the next several days.
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.