James Pethokoukis

Why the Dems keep pushing healthcare reform despite polls

December 15, 2009

An average of healthcare polls by Real Clear Politics shows it unpopular by a 53-38 margin. But why are the Ds still pushing hard to get it passed? Byron York analyzes the various motivations after to talking to a Dem strategist:

Peter Orszag vs. the WSJ

December 14, 2009

OMB director Orszag didn’t much like a WSJ editorial about the lack of  fiscal prudence of ObamaCare. And he said so on his blog. I think Orszag makes a few reasonable points, like not counting on cost savings from the pilot programs.  But he side-stepped that fact that America will be spending more on healthcare, even if paid for. Then there is this:

Why ObamaCare is heading in the wrong direction

December 9, 2009

Arnold Kling sums things up perfectly:

I believe that America’s health care system should be reformed. Medicare is unsustainable. Employer-provided health insurance should never have been instituted in the first place, and it is becoming more dysfunctional every year. I would like to deal with the structural issues that bias our system in favor of specialists, fragmented care, and credentialism. Americans need to learn how to make reasonable judgments about medical procedures that have high costs and low benefits.

Is the ambitious Obama agenda freezing the US labor market? CEOs think so

December 1, 2009

Just took a break from the Innovation Economy Conference sponsored by the Aspen Institute. Particularly interesting was a joint Q&A with GE’s Jeff Immelt and Intel’s Paul Otellini.  The latter said he was concerned about the “amount of variability in the system” created by Washington. Fluctuating policy when it comes to healthcare, energy, taxes. “It is very difficult for anyone to make a hiring decision” when the future is so uncertain, he said. Immelt added he would just like to “know what the rules are.” About ObamaCare, Immelt said healthcare “costs probably aren’t going to be coming down.” He is also worried about cost shifting due to proposed Medicare cuts

The Afghanistan war surtax gambit

November 24, 2009

Why is passing healthcare reform so difficult? One big reason is that Democrats are trying to pay for a broad-based new entitlement without enacting a broad-based new tax.

Healthcare reform update: It’s all about 60 votes

November 18, 2009

My sources tell me that reconciliation — pushing through HC in the Senate with 51 votes with a special parliamentary procedure — isn’t going to happen. So the big votes will need 60, including just opening debate. And rest assured that if Reid thinks he has 60 to pass, the debate will immediately come to an end.

Afternoon speed round

November 17, 2009

Some of the best things I read today:

1) Tyler Cowen gives his version of healthcare reform. Ideas 3-10 are particularly strong.

How about some healthcare federalism?

November 17, 2009

From the astounding Arnold Kling:

The bill I would propose would be one that encourages experimentation at the state level. Offer to support an experiment that allows an individual state to adopt single-payer, while allowing another state to offer deregulated insurance and medical practice.

6 reasons healthcare reform might fail in the Senate

November 17, 2009

“We no longer expect Congress to pass impactful health reform legislation this year, or even in this political cycle.” That is the opinion of Sector & Sovereign analyst Richard Evans: