Medicare

Some ophthalmologists in South Florida aren't happy about this. The rest of us should be.

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National spending on medical care just fell, relative to the size of the economy. That hasn't happened since Bill Clinton was president.

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Republicans Are Right: Obamacare Is Redistribution

But here's how it really works

Republicans and their allies are making a lot of different arguments about what Obamacare is doing to America. It’s hiking premiums! It’s making people lose their doctors! It’s destroying Medicare! But if you listen closely, you’ll discern a common theme—a message aimed squarely at the middle class: Obamacare is taking away your money or health insurance, and giving it to somebody else.

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Obama's health-care reform was designed to pay for itself.

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New bipartisan negotiations over fiscal policy are underway, as a result of the deal that ended the government shutdown. But don’t expect these negotiations to produce a “grand bargain” in which Democrats and Republicans each make major concessions.

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Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans, approached Democrats with a new offer over the weekend: He and his colleagues would vote to open the government and increase its borrowing authority, as long as Democrats would agree to accept the depleted spending levels of budget sequestration. Harry Reid, leader of the Senate Democrats, said no thanks. It was the third time in less than a week Democrats had spurned a Republican overture.

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House Republican leaders on Thursday morning announced that they have a new proposal and it hews to the outlines media outlets reported overnight. Basically, House Republicans would leave the government shut down but give it about six weeks' worth of borrowing authority. Assuming I understand what the Republicans have in mind, the idea would be to use that time for some kind of broader negotiation on fiscal policy, entitlements, etc.—and, somewhere along the way, to start funding normal government operations again.

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The big news this morning is a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Paul Ryan, in which he dangles a new offer to President Obama and the Democrats. According to Ryan, Republicans could agree to fund the government (thereby ending the shutdown) and increase Treasury’s borrowing limit (thereby avoiding default) as long as Obama and the Democrats agree to negotiations over fiscal policy.

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WATCH: Bill Clinton Explains Obamacare

(He does it better than Obama does)

The Secretary of Explaining Stuff is back on the job. On Wednesday, former President Bill Clinton gave a speech about Obamacare—why it was necessary, how it will work, and what it will do in the future. The speech itself was typical Clinton: It started about 25 minutes late, ran for nearly an hour, and was full of policy detail.

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Remember when Howard Dean was a rabble-rousing progressive, the one who ran for president railing against special interests? Remember when he insisted health care reform include a public insurance option, at one point suggesting that a plan without a government-run plan was “worthless”? Ah, good times… 

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