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It’s Not An Health Insurance Mandate, It’s A Tax !


In Court filings the Obama Administration is arguing that the health insurance mandate is a tax, and if they’re right the legal challenges to ObamaCare are dead.

America’s Top Problems: Economy and Jobs


When I saw the Gallup headline  “‘Jobs’ Drops to No. 2 on Americans’ List of Top Problems,” I was skeptical. What could have topped Jobs with unemployment hovering at 10 percent and no real prospect in site for improvement? Lydia Saad (a family friend) answers: After two months as the clear No. 1 perceived problem […]

Biden ‘Big Fat Deal’ Comment No Big Deal


The latest Fox News survey [PDF] asked whether Vice President Joe Biden’s whispered comment that the health care bill was a “big expletive deal” was offensive.  Not surprisingly, a majority thought not.  Also not shocking:  A majority of Republicans though it was. Greg Sargent is amused, titling his post “Fox News Polls Biden’s ‘F-Bomb,” Gets […]

Repealing Health Care Reform by Constitutional Amendment


Georgetown lawprof Randy Barnett wants to repeal the just-passed health care reform act by an Amendment to the United States Constitution: THE FEDERALISM RESTORATION AMENDMENT The legislative power of Congress shall not be construed to include mandating, regulating, prohibiting or taxing the private health insurance of any person; nor shall the power of Congress to […]

Socialism vs. Welfare Statism vs. Free-Markets vs. Corporatism


One of the annoying things about America’s two-party system is that with so much of the political discussion locked in a “us vs. them” rhetorical stance it’s difficult to rise out and see how political models might move in a very different direction. We get so logjammed with overheated rhetoric that it’s sometimes difficult to […]

Scott Brown and Buyer’s Remorse


Scott Brown was elected to be the final vote against ObamaCare but he never got the chance.  Now, some of his erstwhile supporters are having second thoughts. Republican folk hero Sen. Scott Brown is being taunted by triumphant Democrats – and slammed by irked conservatives – after the historic health-care bill he was elected to […]

Health Care Reform: Point of No Return?


As regular readers are painfully aware, I’ve been opposed to President Obama’s health care reform plan, such as it was, from the beginning.  But, apparently, it’s much worse than I thought.   Economist Thomas Sowell, one of the more thoughtful columnists in the business, sees it as the banana peel on the slippery slope to doomsday. […]

Health Care Reform Economics and Forecasts


There has been some interesting analysis of the impacts on our health care system of the bill President Obama signed into law earlier today by libertarian economists Arnold Kling, Bryan Caplan, and Tyler Cowen.   Many of the ideas have been floating around for a while  (the bill’s been in development for more than a year […]

Health Care Fight About Politics, Not Policy?


Most Americans think the fight over health care reform was primarily motivated by politics rather than policy, a new CBS News poll shows. Americans believe that both Republicans and Democrats were fighting about health care reform because of politics, not policy, a new CBS News poll finds. Asked why Democrats worked to pass a health […]

Health Care Reform and the State of the Republic


While not at all pleased by the outcome of the year-long sausage making extravaganza that gave us a health care reform bill that virtually no one likes, I’m much closer in agreement Steven Taylor than with Megan McArdle over what it all means for the system. Do we, as Megan suggested at the apex of […]

Health Care Reform Unconstitutional?


Now that health care reform has been revived from its near death experience, it appears that it will face a series of Constitutional challenges.  My home state of Virginia has fired the opening shot. Via Twitter, no less. To emphasize how ready Virginia is to take the health care overhaul to court, take a look […]

Health Care Reform Passes, Pigs Fly


So, the health care reform was passed last night owing to a bizarre compromise is which Bart Stupak persuaded President Obama to issue a meaningless executive order proclaiming that the law passed by both Houses of Congress says what Stupak has spent months pointing out it doesn’t say. The basic facts, from NYT: With the […]

Repeal Health Care Reform? Unlikely.


It looks as if the Democrats will muster up the votes to get the Senate health reform bill passed through the House and it’s almost a foregone conclusion that the reconciliation package will easily make it through the Senate.    While some conservative pundits and Republican leaders are now touting a Repeal platform for November, my […]

Taking a Straw Man to Its Logical Conclusion Leads Down a Slippery Slope


Dan Riehl is in the cross-fire between Alan Colmes and MEDIAite over a rather bizarre argument: I’m not sure I quite understand this, given that cost is so important as a burden to taxpayers when it comes to health care. If Democrats want so badly to abort babies because of it, why are we bothering […]

Petraeus New Hampshire Speech: Presidential Campaign Underway?


Reports that General David Petraeus is giving a speech at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics on March 24 is ginning up speculation that he’s running for president. Mark Ambinder: News that Gen. David Petraeus is venturing out of his Centcom comfort zone late this month to the state of New Hampshire is […]

Reconciliation and the Public Option


Democratic leaders have claimed that they would have had a government run health insurance alternative (the so-called “Public Option”) if only those mean Republicans weren’t there to filibuster. But Glenn Greenwald believes this was a sham. But all those claims were put to the test — all those bluffs were called — once the White […]

Reconciliation, Health Care, and History


Political scientists  Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein argues that, contrary to Republican claims,   the reconciliation process is neither illegitimate nor rare. Reconciliation was intended to be a narrow procedure to bring revenues and spending into conformity with the levels set in the annual budget resolution. But it quickly became much more. The 22 reconciliation bills […]

Health Care Summit: Seven Hours and a Cloud of Dust


When President Obama invited Republican Congressional leaders to join him for a televised health care summit, they reasonably feared it was “a trap” in which the contrast between the contrast between a smooth talking Commander-in-Chief and Podunk legislators would make them look small.   Clearly, Obama intended it as a PR gambit that would showcase him […]

Obstructionism + Nihilism = Nil


While John Cole agrees with the substance of my mild criticism of our food stamp policies, he thinks “we can’t do anything about it.” I’m sure the House could pass a bill containing a small stipend for Americorps volunteers- in fact, I bet it would get a good bit of support. Likewise, I bet almost […]

Obama’s Stealth Revolution


While progressives are kvetching and conservatives are chortling over President Obama’s failures to enact his most visible policy initiatives, he’s quietly ratcheting federal control of society up to unprecedented levels. In a lengthy TNR feature, John Judis details how “Obama has reinvented the state in more ways than you can imagine.” Obama’s three Republican predecessors […]

USA Parliamentary Democracy?


National Journal‘s Ron Brownstein sees the recent bout of gridlock in the United States as a sign of a more fundamental shift in how our government operates. Obama’s first year demonstrated once again that in this deeply polarized political era, big legislative crusades aimed at big national problems produce only big political headaches. President George […]

Scott Brown’s Win and Healthcare Reform

Scott Brown He Did It

There was talk over the last few days, from Nancy Pelosi and others, that the Democrats might use parliamentary tricks and outright chicanery to ram a healthcare bill through even if Scott Brown won in Massachusetts and take the party coalition down to 59.   Thankfully, cooler heads seem to have prevailed and that looks quite […]

Obama’s Approval Under 50 Percent


Barack Obama’s approval ratings are now firmly below 50 percent, with the CBS poll as the latest data point: President Obama’s job approval rating has fallen to 46 percent, according to a new CBS News poll. That rating is Mr. Obama’s lowest yet in CBS News polling, and the poll marks the first time his […]

Harry Reid Racist Obama Comments, Sagging Polls

Reid and Obama The Light-Skinned Negro

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in trouble. Among the juicy revelations in the highly touted 2008 tell-all by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin is that Reid made some borderline racist comments about then-candidate and Senate colleague Barack Obama. He was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace […]

Cadillac Tax Hidden Time Bomb


Opposition to the Democrats’ health care reform plan has created some strange bedfellows, with the Hard Left and the Hard Right frequently working together.  Here’s on that I didn’t expect:  NYT columnist Bob Herbert attacking the plan from the Right. There is a middle-class tax time bomb ticking in the Senate’s version of President Obama’s […]

Health Care Reform: How Bad is It?

Screaming Homer

One of the most-linked posts on Memeorandum this morning is Cornell lawprof William Jacobson‘s post  explaining why he hates the health care reform bill that we’re one step closer to enacting into law. Yes, it is that bad. The Democrats are about to put in place the legislative, regulatory and bureaucratic infrastructure for a complete […]

Senate Health Reform Bill Secured?

Senate Health Care Compromise

My late evening was going well. The struggling Dallas Cowboys had somehow overcome their annual December swoon and were leading the theretofore unbeaten New Orleans Saints by three touchdowns early in the fourth quarter. The Saints scored two quick touchdowns and the Cowboys’ basket case kicker Nick Folk missed a chip shot field goal but […]

Why Raising Tax Revenue is Hard


Reuters blogger Felix Salmon contends that our tax system encourages income inequality because it generates more revenue for the treasury. [W]hen you have a progressive tax system, especially when there are surcharges on people making seven-figure incomes, you also have a system where for any given level of national income, the greater the inequality, the […]

Health Reform Bill to Allow Insurance Payments For Prayer Healings


Via Kevin Drum, I have learned that current Senate version of the health reform bill would provide for insurance payments for Christian Science prayer treatments–and probably other “spiritual” treatments as well. Reporting from Washington – Backed by some of the most powerful members of the Senate, a little-noticed provision in the healthcare overhaul bill would […]

McInturff AHIP Speech Draws Protests

Bill McInturff, managing partner of my wife’s firm, had his keynote speech to AHIP interrupted this morning by singing protesters. Sam Stein reports for HuffPo: Republican pollster Bill McInturff was the keynote speaker on the final day of the America’s Health Insurance Plans’s state issues conference on Friday morning. But his speech on how the […]

Defending Wyden-Bennett


On his new policy blog at True/Slant, E.D. Kain provides a good defense of the Wyden-Bennett Act. In Congress, however, we get bad compromises, not good ones, which is why we have the Baucus bill, which is neither as cost-effective, as close to universal coverage, or as fundamentally game-changing as Wyden-Bennett. Indeed, there is little […]

McConnell: No Retalliation

Senate Republican Leadership

Olympia Snowe and other wayward Republicans will be subject to strong persuasion but no punishment from the caucus, Senate Republican leaders tell Politico. Mitch McConnell and his deputies in the Senate Republican leadership are responding very cautiously to Olympia Snowe’s decision to become the first GOP vote for a Democratic health care reform bill. That’s […]

Salting Snowe


Erick Erickson is angry at liberal Republican Olympia Snowe’s announcement yesterday that she’d sign on to the Baucus version of health care reform in exchange for a seat at the negotiating table. Olympia Snowe has sold out the country. Having been banished to our world after Aslan chased her out of Narnia, Snowe is intent […]

Health Care Reform Tax on Low Income Earners


James Capretta does a back of the envelope calculation on the Baucus health care reform bill and concludes that it would be like having a 70% marginal tax rate on the low income. According to CBO, family coverage in 2016 is likely to cost about $14,400 under the so-called “silver option” in the health-care reform […]

Politics of Spite


Paul Krugman continues to demonstrate that brilliance in one field doesn’t necessarily translate into sound insights into others. He’s upset that some Republicans took pleasure in President Obama’s embarrassment in not landing the Olympics for his adopted Chicago and their cynicism in positioning themselves as the defenders of Medicare in order to fight his health […]

Health Insurance Mandates

Obama Health Plan Cartoon Jeff Parker

Sam Stein reports that “Democrats are bracing themselves for a new line of conservative attack against a provision in the health care legislation once considered so non-controversial that it was endorsed by several major Republican officials.”  What is it, you might ask, that these dastardly Republicans are opposing out of their racist hatred of Barack […]

9/12 Protests

9-12 protest NYT

Yesterday, somewhere between “tens of thousands” and “two million” people flooded the nation’s capital to protest somethingoranother. Thousands Rally in Capital to Protest Big Government (Jeff Zeleny, NYT) A sea of protesters filled the west lawn of the Capitol and spilled onto the National Mall on Saturday in the largest rally against President Obama since […]

Hyperbole of the Day- Dead Kennedys Edition


The award goes to Chris Matthews for this: You know there’s going to be a lot of talk about the tragic blessings of the Kennedy family, and the curse. And it’s all nonsense. These people were courageous risk takers. Kathleen Kennedy, the girl, the oldest daughter, she was killed with her lover traveling on a […]

Teddy Kennedy Dead at 77

Ted Kennedy 2007

Senator Edward M. Kennedy died last night, aged 77, succumbing to brain cancer. Edward Kennedy, Senate Stalwart, Dies (John Broder, NYT) Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a son of one of the most storied families in American politics, a man who knew triumph and tragedy in near-equal measure and who will be remembered as […]

Its the Costs, Stupid


In the last several posts on health care it is often pointed out that health insurance companies engage in dubious practices. For example, they’ll deny coverage for the most trivial of reasons. Many posting comments focus on this issue as well as others such as quality of care, the moral nature of providing health care, […]

Winning the Healthcare Debate


Gene Lyons has written a column headlined “You won’t win the healthcare debate by calling people stupid racists.” The piece isn’t worth reading, I’m afraid, after the headline — which Lyons probably didn’t write. But the title is right on. It’s a truism of public debate that you will never persuade those who disagree with […]

Split Health Care Bill

Health Car Bill Splitting

Taking a page out of Soloman’s playbook, Congressional Democrats have a brand new plan for passing health care reform. The White House and Senate Democratic leaders, seeing little chance of bipartisan support for their health-care overhaul, are considering a strategy shift that would break the legislation into two parts and pass the most expensive provisions […]

Obama’s Op-Ed on Health Care


President Obama, seeing that he is taking a beating in the polls, and that health care is starting to founder took to the pages of the New York Times to lay out the case for health care reform. I think he did a rather bad job of it. He could have done it with far, […]

Buh-Bye Public Option


The Obama Administration may be dropping the public option requirement from its health care agenda. PHOENIX — The White House, facing increasing skepticism over President Obama’s call for a public insurance plan to compete with the private sector, signaled Sunday that it was willing to compromise and would consider a proposal for a nonprofit health […]

Democracy in Action


Yesterday’s Gallup poll finding that the town hall protests are having the desired effects of gaining sympathy for the protestors and increasing doubts about health care reform efforts is getting a lot of attention.  Those results don’t surprise me, however.  (They do surprise Mickey Kaus.) What is interesting is this: Frank Newport: There is a […]

Are Americans Stupid?


Bill Maher has a piece at HuffPo arguing that Americans are a bunch of idiots who should just shut up and let people who know what they’re talking about make decisions on tough issues like health care reform. [T]ake the health care debate we’re presently having: members of Congress have recessed now so they can […]

Riots at Town Hall Meetings


The theme of Wednesday’s edition of OTB Radio was “Crazy Politics.” Spurred by the bitterness of recent discussion threads on seemingly innocuous topics, Dave Schuler and I wondered where it was all headed. Well, we got a pretty good clue last night. Six people were arrested last night in St. Louis  after one of the […]

Congressional Revolution Needed?


Ezra Klein and Steve Benen are recirculating this somewhat interesting chart on political polarization in America by political scientists Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal. Ezra argues that “this level of polarization makes it virtually impossible to govern in a system that is designed to foil majorities and require a constant three-fifths consensus. […]

Democrats Should Embrace States’ Rights


Alex Massie argues that the current inability of the Democrats to pass meaningful health care reform, one of their signature issues, despite overwhelming control of the government shows the system is broken. It’s more difficult than it was in LBJ’s day, mind you. All the horse-trading that once went on in private now takes place […]

Controlling Medicare Costs—IMAC


The CBO has analyzed some of the suggested methods for controlling health care costs, and the Independent Medicare Advisory Council (IMAC) in particular. The findings so far is not all that good, In particular, CBO reviewed draft legislation transmitted to the Congress by the Administration on July 17, 2009, titled the Independent Medicare Advisory Council […]

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