James Pethokoukis

The Reid/Obama healthcare conundrum

July 23, 2009

Good point from Marc Ambinder:

We know how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is going to spend his recess: he has to figure out how to match the Senate HELP Committee’s plans for health insurance reform with what the Senate Finance Committee is willing to pay.  …  In announcing that the Senate simply could not come to an agreement before the recess, Reid is acknowledging that the Finance Committee’s draft, which is due on the floor before the recess, isn’t going to pay for everything the HELP Committee wants. … Reid made this news on the day after the President explicitly defended his timeline and gave what he considered to be the best argument in favor of reform. The message: you didn’t help us last night, Mr. President.  …  Nothing will doom the chances for health care reform more than the perception that health care is doomed.

What Obama forgot to talk about last night

July 23, 2009

Obama presented a false choice last night, either the status quo or Obamacare. But what about empowering consumers and letting markets work? A great post from the Health Care Blog makes some great points on this very issue. It looks at two fictional familes and shows how each deals with three different medical problems —  back pain, chest pain and dementia? The Smiths are passive and rely on the doctor while the Joneses aggessivey reserach their problems and question authority. Here is one example:

Why Obama might have just killed Obamacare

July 23, 2009

If President Obama’s prime-time speech and news conference were intended to push national healthcare reform over the political goal line, then the effort almost certainly failed. Do more Americans today better understand the still-evolving plans floating around Capitol Hill than they did yesterday? Unlikely.

Did Obama help or hurt himself with press conference?

July 23, 2009

I will be posting my column soon, but if you want to know what the rest of the MSM thinks, MSNBC’s Howard Fineman is a good stand-in:

That millionaire healthcare surtax would have to be …

July 23, 2009

… about 6 percent, according to the Tax Foundation, to theoretically raise the same amount of dough as also having surtaxes on those making over $350,000. Now this assumes wealthy Americans wouldn’t scramble to reduce their tax liabilities via all manner of tax-sheltering strategies. Of course, such behavior isn’t economically efficient as Obama himself knows: