April 26, 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. The term “health reform” means so many things to so many people: Controlling health care costs, improving quality and cost-effectiveness, stabilizing local, state, and federal public budgets, protecting patients against catastrophic financial loss, covering the uninsured, and more. Oh yeah, one more thing: Will it actually make us healthier?
April 25, 2009
Durban Ii Dispatch: Israel's A-team
Geneva, Switzerland Just because the Israeli government decided to boycott this year's Durban Review Conference doesn't mean they weren't well-represented in Geneva this week. I was surprised to meet Andy David, the deputy spokesman of Israel's foreign ministry, at a Sabbath dinner last weekend when I arrived in Geneva. "We're here, but we're not here," he whispered to me. He revealed to me that the ministry has quietly brought a group of Israeli students--mostly attractive, eloquent, and from diverse countries of origin--to plead Israel's case on the sidelines of this week's conference.
April 24, 2009
Satipo, Amazon Basin, Peru--On the fourth floor of the National Museum in Lima, there's a photo exhibit of Peru's long "dirty war" against the leftist Shining Path guerrillas during the 1980s and '90s. A series of wall-sized photographs illustrate two decades of bombings, roundups, secret arrests, and massacres that left 70,000 dead. The exhibit has been criticized for both overstating and downplaying government atrocities, a sign that this era in Peru's history remains controversial.
Geneva, Switzerland While ambassadors and foreign ministers from around the world give seven-minutes speeches in the main Assembly Hall, NGOs have been invited to speak at the same time on dozens of panels around the UN complex. Since the conference organizers decided not to hold a separate NGO Forum this year (which, as I noted yesterday, was the center of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity at the 2001 Durban conference), this is where the majority of NGOs have been advocating their issues.
Dispatches From Durban II
April 17: Should I Be Scared? Will Durban II spur the same anti-Israel, anti-Semitic vitriol that plagued Durban I? April 19: Libya On Trial Libya, an egregious human-rights violator, is the face of this year's conference--oh, the irony! April 20: In Search Of Anti-Semites Where's the sloganeering, chanting, and hate-filled rhetoric? April 20: Live-blogging Ahmedinejad The Iranian president speaks; the EU walks out. April 20: Following Ahmedinejad Journalists, big-name protesters--who attended A-jad's press conference? April 22: Spoiling For A Fight The conference was supposed to be filled wi
Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein both have some good thoughts about why TALF is underperforming to this point. That's the program that's supposed to revive the markets for consumer, small business, and student lending by giving investors generous incentives to buy securities backed by those loans. The hope was to support up to a trillion dollars in lending through the program, but so far we're only talking about a tiny fraction of that amount--$4.7 billion in March, another $1.7 billion in April, according to The Washington Post.
How Do Our Allies Deal With Torture?
Several recent op-eds advocate aligning U.S. interrogation policy with those of Israel and the United Kingdom. Both countries have unequivocally outlawed the torture of detainees, despite their long experience combating terrorism. Exactly how does each country deal with the issue? Israel has not had an easy time of it. Following two public scandals that raised questions about the accountability of Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, the Israeli government established an independent commission to set clear guidelines about coercive interrogation.
Ben Smith has the White House's Armenian Remembrance Day statement, in which Obama breaks--or, to be charitable, defers--a very explicit campaign promise to officially brand what happened to more than one million Armenians after World War I as "genocide." I see that the statement, which focuses on recent advances in Turkish-Armenian relations, somewhat defensively notes that I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. Fine.
It's been in the works for a while and now, according to senior Captiol Hill staffers, it's a done deal: The final budget resolution will include a "reconciliation instruction" for health care. That means the Democrats can pass health care reform with just fifty votes, instead of the sixty it takes to break a filibuster. The deal was hatched late afternoon and last night, in a five-hour negotiating session at the office of Senate Majoriy Leader Harry Reid. A trio of White House officials were there: Rahm Emanuel, Peter Orszag, and Phil Schiliro.
Time To Call It Pakaf?
WaPo: Holbrooke and Jacob J.