July 24, 2009

Rising Health Care Costs Top Public Concern
12:00 AM

Interesting tidbit at the bottom of this Wall Street Journal story about GOP efforts to portray themselves as interested in health care reform: Resurgent Republic, a Web site that provides polling-based strategy for Republicans, noted that "there is a caveat" for the party's new, aggressive strategy. "Concern about rising health-care costs outstrips every other economic concern today," including job losses, it said in a recent analysis. That seems important, and a fact that would complicate Republican efforts to demagogue "rationing" health care. --Jonathan Chait

Did Sotomayor Doom Health Care?
12:00 AM

Counterintuition of the day: Did the White House inadvertently hurt itself on health care by not picking a more controversial Supreme Court nominee? I couldn't help wondering this when I read Chris Cillizza's item on the looming August air-war between groups on either side of the health care fight: "With final votes now pushed back to at least September, this means every pro and con group is drawing up new media plans," said Larry McCarthy, a Republican media consultant who is doing work for the conservative Americans for Prosperity.

Is Corzine Toast?
12:00 AM

It would seem that White House officials think so--at least judging from what Doug Wilder told Politico about the White House's efforts to get him to endorse Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial candidate: “The case that they made is that in Virginia and New Jersey — the two states that are up for election — losing one is bad, but losing both would be devastating.” --Jason Zengerle

Paul Krugman Gets It (shocking, I Know)
12:00 AM

One of the more difficult issues to explain, even for those of us who live and breathe health policy, is why expanding coverage and cost control go hand-in-hand. Among other things, past efforts at cutting health care spending haven't always worked as well. Fortunately for all of us, Paul Krugman writes a biweekly column for the New York Times. He gets it. And today he does a great job of explaining it:  Why does meaningful action on medical costs go along with compassion? One answer is that compassion means not closing your eyes to the human consequences of rising costs.

The Politics Of Health Care Reform
12:00 AM

On the front page of today's Washington Post, I read that health care reform is dying: Health Reform Deadline In DoubtProcess Could Be Slow And More Contentious Senate Majority Leader Harry M.

July 23, 2009

Good Knight
12:00 AM

Over the past few days, there’s been much speculation over whether Attorney General Eric Holder will launch an investigation into the CIA’s use of torture after 9/11. One of the top contenders in leading an investigation seems to be John Durham, a name you probably don’t recognize--or may have forgotten. So who is this low-key prosecutor that may take on the most high-profile national case since Watergate?   Durham began his career at the Connecticut state attorney’s office shortly after graduating from University of Connecticut Law School in 1975.

The Audacity of Tenacity
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Wow, what big and unexpected news! Reforming the health care system is really hard, and Republicans want President Obama to fail. Imagine that. Oh, yes, and when the public gets a close look at the sausage-making process in Washington, it doesn't like what it sees. And one more revelation: In a bad economy, it's tough for a president to maintain approval ratings in the 60s indefinitely. A sense of crisis pervades the nation's capital.

Is Obama Redefining Bipartisanship?
12:00 AM

Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals.  In recent news coverage of congressional action on health care reform, we're back to one of Washington's favorite games: the bipartisan trashing of the idea that Barack Obama cares about bipartisanship.

What Mckinsey Could Teach Obama
12:00 AM

Members of Congress who hold the balance of power, including Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus and the Blue Dogs in the House, have concluded that the health care proposals emerging from committee up to now would do too little to control costs. The next phase of deliberation and bargaining will revolve around strategies for reining in costs without reducing the quality of treatment or the pace of innovation in the health care sector. Last December, McKinsey & Company published a comprehensive comparison of U.S. health care spending with that of other OECD countries.

July 22, 2009

Left Behind
12:00 AM

Do progressives have any power over the Obama administration? Only six months into the Obama presidency, the new administration has already experienced an unusually robust assortment of criticism from fellow Democrats, at least at the elite opinion-leading and activist level. The extended progressive "honeymoon" that John Judis warned against [1] in these pages back in February has largely faded. Obama has been faulted in large swaths of the blogosphere and op-ed pages for a wide array of missteps, if not downright heresies.