Law

It's the Building, Not the Blueprint, That Matters
November 08, 2009

One of the most revealing moments in Saturday's debate over health care reform was when Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York took the floor. Weiner is a rising star in the Democratic Party, having quickly established himself as an unusually engaging speaker. But, in this case, it was Weiner's effective use of a prop that stood apart. The prop was the handbook for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, or FEHBP--which is, very roughly speaking, a model for how a reformed health care system might work.

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.

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.

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.

Where Are You, California Republicans?
November 05, 2009

Just in case the California Legislature's passage of a landmark water bill earlier this week had convinced you that John Judis is wrong and that things are finally looking up for the Golden State, William Voegeli's essay in the current issue of City Journal might put things back in gloomy perspective.  Voegeli asks a worthwhile question: Given that the overall tax burden in California is fairly high relative to other states (with some complicating factors), why aren't public services like roads, schools, and police in California any better than in low-tax jurisdictions like Texas?  Voegeli's a

‘With Them or With Us’
November 05, 2009

Almost three decades ago, a group of radical Islamist students, dressed in army fatigues or covered in scarves and black chadors, forced their way into the American embassy in Tehran. According to some accounts, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then a student at a second-tier technical college in Tehran, was invited to join the hostage takers. He declined, saying he would join only if they would also occupy the Soviet embassy in Tehran.

Would UAW Wage Concessions Have Been Good for Louisville?
November 05, 2009

Just after Ford Motor Company announced third-quarter profits of nearly $1 billion, its UAW-represented workers rejected a package of concessions including a wage freeze for newly hired workers and a no-strike pledge when the current contract expires in 2011. The concessions would have put Ford’s labor costs on par with those that GM and Chrysler obtained earlier this year. Those concessions, in turn, brought the companies’ wages and benefits down to the levels of the (non-union) Japanese manufacturers with plants here.

GOP Health Care Plan: Even Worse Than You Are Hearing
November 05, 2009

From the moment the the Republican leadership released its alternative approach to health care reform, critics (including me) pointed out that it was unlikely to make a dent in the number of people without insurance. On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office came out with its preliminary estimates of what the bill will do. And, sure enough, the critics were right. Overall, ten years into implementation, the plan would not significantly change the number of people with health insurance.

Cruise Control
November 05, 2009

When conservatives scream about socialized medicine and death panels, you should tune them out. But lately conservatives have been making an argument you should hear. It's about whether we can believe Congress when it promises to raise taxes or cut spending--and, as such, whether we can believe that health care reform can actually be fiscally responsible. As you may know, many promoters of health care reform say that the proposals in Congress will pay for themselves and, over the long run, actually reduce what we spend, as taxpayers and as a society.

On the Job
November 04, 2009

Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access Weblog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. When Senate Majority Leader Reid held a press conference announcing the inclusion of a version of a public health insurance option in the merged Senate health reform bill, he didn’t mention the outcome of another major difference between the two Senate committee proposals--what would be responsibility of employers with regard to on-the-job coverage.

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