April 03, 2009
If you believe in majority rule, health care reform, or both, I have some good news. Some well-placed sources on Capitol Hill* are saying it's likely that the final budget resolution will include "reconciliation instructions" for health care, effectively making it impossible for Republicans to filibuster reform. As you probably know by now, the House and Senate passed their respective budget resolutions on Thursday. And one of the few key differences was a proposal that would allow use of the reconciliation to pass health care reform, thereby limiting the time of debate and amendments.
April 02, 2009
Harold Pollack is a public health policy researcher at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, where he is faculty chair of the Center for Health Administration Studies. He is a regular contributor to The Treatment. For years, the medical profession has lagged only the insurers as a designated bogeyman for many who favor health reform.
A week before Germany’s invasion of Poland, Hitler reportedly urged his generals to slaughter civilians--Slavs and Jews, the two most hated groups in Nazi ideology--without mercy. “After all,” he flippantly asked, “who remembers the Armenians?” In fact, the attempted genocide of the Armenians by the Turks during the First World War was very well documented, at the time and ever since. Henry Morgenthau, the American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during the massacres, wrote at length in his memoirs about this attempt to wipe an entire population off the face of the earth.
It would be something of an understatement to say that liberals don’t trust Representative Jim Cooper, the Democrat from Tennessee. That’s particularly true for liberals (like me) who remember the fight over health care reform in 1993 and 1994, when Cooper championed a centrist alternative to the Clinton health care plan. One former Clinton staffer has said “no Democrat did more to destroy our chances in that fight than Jim Cooper”--a verdict many experts share.
Here, There, Everywhere
WASHINGTON--The great mystery of the Obama administration's economic agenda is whether its signature marriage of boldness and caution will prove to be a Goldilocks recipe that gets things just right, or a Rube Goldberg approach of unimaginable complexity and uncertain purpose. Without question, President Obama's tax and budget proposals are daring, and his unwavering commitment to passing health care reform this year is both honorable and gutsy. But his plan to bail out the banks reveals a deference to the existing financial system, deep worry about further unsettling an already troubled mar
Curtains For Dodd?
In light of a new Q-Poll that shows Dodd with a 33 percent approval rating and trailing his 2010 GOP opponent Rob Simmons 50 to 36, Ben Smith speculates: This threatens to turn a safe Democratic seat into a Republican seat for six years, and so at some point -- not immediately, but pretty soon -- DSCC chairman Bob Menendez and the White House will have to consider trying to push Dodd aside, or perhaps offer him a high-profile appointment (Ambassador to Mexico?), in order to run the state's popular Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, for the seat.
I'd Pay For Orszag's Starbucks, Too.
Imagine opening the Washington Post to read this: OBAMA ADVISOR KILLS PEDESTRIANBudget Director Was Blackberrying and Reaching for Secure Phone While Driving Probably not a good thing, huh? But I have to wonder if that's what David Sirota had in mind when he decided to write an item about Budget Director Peter Orszag earlier this week. The occasion for the item was a profile of Orszag that ran in The New York Times. It was not a policy piece; rather, it was a color profile and a rather positive one at that.
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. While Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius was a top contender to become Barack Obama's running mate during the campaign, she was not Obama's first choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services after the campaign was over. That distinction went to former Senator Tom Daschle.
April 01, 2009
Free Larry Summers
On a typical day, Larry Summers, the top White House economic adviser, sits in his office overlooking the Rose Garden and receives a near-endless succession of aides working on a stunning variety of issues. In a single, several-hour bloc, Summers might have meetings on housing, the auto industry, health care, technology policy, and the financial crisis, all of which he’s exploring in subatomic detail.
Well, that wore off fast. When Barack Obama strode into town in January, he brought with him a great wave of idealism. Inspired by the president and his "call to service," America's best and brightest mused aloud in their faculty lounges, law office suites, and investment banks about how they would gladly sacrifice their financial interests to serve their country. Flash forward to early spring. Large blocks of government offices sit unfilled and critical jobs--those involved in managing the global economy, for example--go unperformed.