James Pethokoukis

More on where healthcare reform is heading …

July 28, 2009

From superanalyst Dan Clifton of Strategas Research:

Should the Senate Finance Committee reach an agreement, the plan will likely take the form of an $800bn package inclusive of: a) an individual mandate; b) an employer mandate and a state based cooperative; c) insurance reforms such as guaranteed issue and community rating; d) a health insurance exchange subsidized up to 300 pct. of the poverty limit; and, e) an expansion of Medicaid in the range of 125 to 133 pct. of the poverty line. Notes – The health insurance exchange (part d) and the expansion of Medicaid (part e) are key to getting coverage, but also carry the highest cost – rendering them vulnerable to potential delays in program and eligibility implementation.

Healthcare endgame on Capitol Hill

July 28, 2009

A Capitol Hill source tells me that a public healthcare option is dead, dead, dead in the Senate and thus dead overall. While some healthcare reform proponents hope to use the August recess to rally support, more likely it will be that the Dems will be telling the troops and interest groups that if you want some kind of healthcare bill, give up pushing for a public option. At this point, it is a waste of time, energy and money. But this does not mean Dems still might not push through some pretty big changes. As another source put it:

Healthcare reform has to pass because … because … well, it just has to is all!

July 24, 2009

Ezra Klein does his gosh-darned best to help restore momentum to healthcare reform, which he is sure people will love to bits if only it passes:

GOP healthcare alternative? It’s pretty flawed, too

July 24, 2009

Ugh. So House GOPers have put out their alternative to ObamaCare. It’s really more of a statement of principles with a few numbers. Yes, it is  a good idea to level the playing field between those who get their insurance through their employers and those who buy it on their own. But this is the part that put me back on me heels:

Public doesn’t like direction of ObamaCare

July 24, 2009

Why is Obama suddenly talking a lot more about healthcare costs? (And maybe he should do something more akin to a PowerPoint presentation when talking about this stuff. Remember those old Ross Perot presidential campaign commercials where he used charts?) Maybe because of this (from the WSJ):

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:

Paging Alan Frumin! Why reconcilliation may be no Dem silver bullet for healthcare reform

July 22, 2009

Trying to push healthcare reform through the Senate (via the reconcilliation process) with just 51 votes is problematic at best for the Dems. This, from my pal Rich Lowry: