Tales from the Trail

Looking under the hood of “Cadillac” usage in healthcare debate

For car buffs, “Cadillac” and healthcare are probably not a natural mix, even in the context of financing.

For healthcare debaters, “Cadillac” has come to describe high-end insurance plans that either need to be taxed or left alone depending on the viewpoint. GERMANY/

Well, according to several (online) dictionaries, the word Cadillac used in this manner is actually slang.

Cadillac, those dictionaries inform, is the name of the French founder of Detroit — Antoine Laumet de La Mothe Cadillac — after whom the luxury car was named.

Cadillac in the American psyche conjures up a symbol of success and luxury from a time when the long cars roamed the streets without worrying about gasoline prices — so perhaps the word has a bit of an old-fashioned ring now.

Gingrich to Obama: keep word on televising healthcare talks

USA-POLITICS/Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wants President Barack Obama to keep a promise he made on the campaign trail: televise the final talks on healthcare reform on C-SPAN.

Eight times during the campaign, Obama said he planned to put the talks on healthcare reform on television, Gingrich said — and he even has links to YouTube clips to prove it.

Now that the talks have reached the stage of reconciling separate House and Senate bills, it is the time to deliver on that promise, he said.

Will Obama get a Senate Christmas gift?

Senate Democrats are confident they will pass a sweeping healthcare overhaul and give President Barack Obama a significant victory on one of his top domestic priorities. But will they do it by Christmas? OBAMA/

It will be hard. Right now the bill is hung up over a Democratic amendment that would allow patients and pharmacies to import cheaper prescription drugs from other countries, including Canada. Democrats are also waiting for an official cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office on a proposed compromise that would drop the government-run public option from the bill.

The compromise would call on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to contract with insurance companies to provide non-profit health plans that would be offered on proposed new insurance exchanges. The compromise would also allow people 55 to 64 to buy into the Medicare health program for the elderly.