Jackson Lays Out Timetable For EPA Regs
February 23, 2010
At last, a little more clarity on what the EPA is planning to do in terms of greenhouse-gas regulations. (Riveting topic, huh?) Last Friday, West Virginia's Jay Rockefeller and seven other Senate Democrats from coal states sent a letter to EPA head Lisa Jackson expressing "serious economic and energy security concerns" about the agency's plans to regulate carbon-dioxide and other heat-trapping gases on its own.
Does Obama Prefer The Public Option?
February 23, 2010
Liberals who basically support the Obama administration's approach to health care have believed all along that it favors a public option, but isn't willing to sacrifice the whole bill in order to get it. Many left-wing critics have been slamming us as dupes, parroting the empty gestures of an administration in the pocket of the health insurance industry. Today, Glenn Greenwald, writing in the New York Times, says a-ha! [T]he plan President Obama unveiled does not include a public option.
Can Lawsuits Stop The EPA's Carbon Rules?
February 21, 2010
Quick recap: The EPA is moving ahead with its own regulations for greenhouse gases. (See this recent piece I did for a look at what those rules might look like.) The EPA isn't just doing this because it feels like it—back in 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the agency was required to regulate carbon-dioxide and other heat-trapping gases under the Clean Air Act if it found that those gases posed a threat to health and public welfare.
Playing With House Money
January 07, 2010
If there’s one area in which the House health care reform bill is obviously superior to the Senate version, it’s coverage and affordability. There’s more financial assistance for buying insurance and much stronger protection against out-of-pocket medical costs. That means more people getting coverage and fewer people struggling with expenses. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her allies, both on and off Capitol Hill, have made clear this is one of their top priorities for the coming negotiations over how to merge the two pieces of legislation.
December 21, 2009
WASHINGTON--For progressives, the question on the health care battle going forward is not whether they have a right to be angry but whether they can direct their fury toward constructive ends. The alternative is to pursue a temporarily satisfying and ultimately self-defeating politics of protest. Of course what has happened on the health care bill is enraging. It's quite clear that substantial majorities in both houses of Congress favored either a public option or a Medicare buy-in. In a normal democracy, such majorities would work their will, a law would pass, and champagne corks would pop.
On Lieberman and His Critics
December 15, 2009
Charles Lane was my boss for two years and has been my friend ever since. Ezra Klein is also my friend, not to mention a writer whose work I follow closely. I admire and have learned from both, so it is with some trepidation I weigh into a debate they had in the online pages of the Washington Post over the last few days. The subject of the debate was Joe Lieberman and his demand that Senate Democrats drop a proposal that would allow some workers over 55 to buy coverage through Medicare.
What Public Option Supporters Won
December 15, 2009
The public option is dead this morning. And this time, it isn't coming back to life. The Senate isn't going to include any version of the idea in its bill. And while the House can still demand a public option in conference, nobody I know expects the House to prevail. The primary causes of death were the fierce opposition of special interests and the institutional habits of the United States Senate, in which a clear majority of senators representing an even clearer majority of the people lack the power to pass a bill. The time of death? Somewhere around 6:30 p.m.
Ten Questions About the Public Option Compromise
December 09, 2009
The deal, according to various sources including several with direct knowledge, is along the lines what you've been reading at Talking Points Memo, Politico, and other sources that broke the news last night: A Medicare buy-in for workers over 55, a network of national non-profit insurers administered through the federal Office of Personnel Management, some kind of a trigger, and insurance reforms that would force insurers to spend more money on actual medical care.
Rockefeller: Medicaid Expansion Is Out
December 08, 2009
While some are celebrating the newest public option compromise as a solution to the political deadlock on Capitol Hill, Senate leaders have already begun watering down some of the strongest elements of the new plan, which is combines a Medicare buy-in, a Medicaid expansion, and the inclusion of private non-profits in the exchange modeled on the federal employees’ plan. This afternoon, Jay Rockefeller said that the new proposal to expand Medicaid coverage for those who are 133% to 150% above the federal poverty line was dropped during a meeting of key legislators this morning.
A New Idea That's Old (But Still Good)
December 07, 2009
The ten liberal and moderate Democrats trying to hammer out a compromise on the public option are talking seriously about letting older workers pay to be enroll in Medicare. While doing so wouldn't qualify as creating a new public plan into which anybody could enroll, it would qualify as opening up an existing public plan to a group of people that might appreciate its many virtues. And that's certainly a good thing. Introducing new ideas at this relatively late stage of the debate is not exactly easy to do. But, then, this isn't exactly a new idea.