James Pethokoukis

Did the Blue Dogs just rollover on healthcare?

July 22, 2009

Pelosi seems upbeat, but Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross less so:

The Blue Dogs share the President’s goal of providing the American people with quality, affordable health care reform that’s deficit neutral, and we have put forth a number of substantive policy proposals over the past several months aimed at achieving this goal.

Why you should or should not bet against healthcare reform

July 22, 2009

jamespethokoukiscropThe chances of sweeping healthcare reform have dropped dramatically over the past month or so.  (I still think the president will have something to sign by year end.) Mark Halperin of The Page gives his reasons why healthcare reform still has a good chance of happening, though what “healthcare reform” means is left undefined — and that is kinda important:

Jindal’s GOP healthcare reform alternative

July 22, 2009

Bobby Jindal takes a shot at a Republican alternative for healthcare reform in the WSJ today: 1) IT-driven consumer choice; 2) health savings accounts; 3) medical lawsuit reform; 4) insurance reform; 5) pools for small business; 6) pay for performance rather than procedures; and 7) tax credits to help low-income working Americans buy health insurance. Fine, fine, I guess. But wouldn’t it better to describe how a real plan would work in people’s day to day lives and what it might cost or how it might reduce costs? Does this really change the debate at all, or merely show Jindal as wonky potential presidential contender?

What healthcare reform might actually look like …

July 21, 2009

One Capitol Hill watcher sends me this on what a Democratic fallback position on healthcare might look like:

Applying the Summers-Google metric to healthcare reform

July 20, 2009

So does more public interest in healthcare reform help or hurt?


Where cap-and-trade and healthcare are heading …

July 20, 2009

While both healthcare and cap-and-trade look to be in various degrees of trouble, some savvy Capitol Hill watchers make this point to me: Democrats look at failure to do something about healthcare as an Extinction Level Event, with a failure on cap-and-trade also incredibly damaging, particularly with the Dem base.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told wavering Dems that a cap-and-trade failure was a dagger in the Obama presidency. She pushed them to the wall. Healthcare even more so.  Expect a full-court press in the Senate on both. At the same, either of those issues slipping into 2010 is fatal to their chances. The next five months may make or break the Obama presidency.

Another free-market fix for healthcare

July 20, 2009

I can tell you the pro-Obamacare Washington wonks I chat with are pretty down right now about the chance of “real reform” getting passed. And as the costs and inadequacies of Obamacare become more apparent, I expect to here more ideas like this one by economic analyst Ed Yardeni:

Centrists in Congress continue to trip up healthcare refrom

July 17, 2009

This is why the Al Franken/Supermajority Effect is overstated. Centrists in the Senate can toss a spanner into the works. The lot below (letter via HuffPost) want to slow things down for more debate.

Pelosi: If surtax passes, it’s staying, get used to it

July 16, 2009

Madam Speaker speaks (via The Hill) about the surtax and what it might be used for:

How ‘hedge fund’ Democrats are influencing tax bill

July 16, 2009

I just got this email on the markup of the House healthcare bill:

The healthcare surtax would apply before any tax deductions are allowed (charitable, mortgage, etc.), save one: margin loan interest. So if you want to take out a loan to buy stock, the interest on that will still be deductible against the surtax. But if you want to give to charity or pay your mortgage, you’re out of luck. Those aren’t deductible against the surtax.