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Ezra Klein: September 6, 2009 - September 12, 2009

Tab Dump

• Nothing is more useful than a Microplane grater. • The Atlantic collects some of its best 9/11-related coverage. • What happens when online communities die? • What Lehman teaches us about social insurance. • A very lost decade. •...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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More Charts!

Health Care for America Now has released another handy-dandy chart detailing how health-care reform will work. There's also a pretty clean page of text explaining what health-care reform will do for different groups of people. It would be nice if...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 5:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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The Middle of the Beginning of the End

James Kwak responds to my earlier post on employer-based insurance and notes that the problem isn't simply that employers are dropping coverage, but that there's every reason to believe that that deterioration will speed up: Not only is employer-based coverage...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Health Coverage  
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The Joys and Sorrows of Swing Voting

According to ABC News, President Obama is spending some quality time this afternoon with 17 lucky senators: Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Tom...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 4:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Short-Termism

Speaking of financial regulation, here's Steve Pearlstein on the rise of "short-termism": The roots of this short-termism go back to the 1980s, with the advent of hostile takeovers mounted by activist investors. This newly competitive "market for corporate control" promised...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 4:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Solutions  
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The Problem With Leaving Financial Regulation Till September

As if the administration didn't have enough on its plate, Monday will see President Obama giving a speech on the need for financial regulatory reform, which has bogged down a bit in Congress. This is one of the few...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 3:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Financial Regulation , Solutions  
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Department of Corrections

Kevin Drum is right and I am wrong: Ezra Klein surveys yesterday's report from the Census Bureau and says: "Median income dropped a bit, poverty rose a bit, and so too did the number of Americans without health insurance. But...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 2:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Economy  
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Jurisdiction

It looks like cap and trade will have to go through Barbara Boxer's Environment and Public Works Committee, Blanche Lincoln's Agricultural Committee and Max Baucus's Finance Committee. I can't imagine what could go wrong....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 2:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Notable Quotables

From Newsweek: "As a 31-year Army Guard and Reserve veteran, I know the importance of TRICARE," he said in a press release. "The number of individuals who choose to enroll in TRICARE continues to rise because TRICARE is a low...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 2:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Olympia Snowe Bargains With Olympia Snowe

Word is that Olympia Snowe now wants the cost of health-care reform brought down to $800 billion or lower. That's strange, because Olympia Snowe also wants the subsidies increased from 300 percent of poverty to 400 percent of poverty....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 1:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Max Baucus Throws Joe Wilson a Lifeline

Rep. Joe Wilson did an excellent job of discrediting himself and his cause at Wednesday night's speech. But for reasons I won't pretend to understand, Max Baucus and Kent Conrad seem intent on throwing him a lifeline, while at the...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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9/11

Not a lot to say, except that it's nice to see this day fading further and further into memory. The 2008 election was really the first conducted outside the shadow of the Twin Towers, and politics has continued to move...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 12:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Obama's Trigger: An Interview With Judy Feder

In his speech Wednesday night, Barack Obama did announce one major addition to health-care reform. "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future," Obama promised. "Period. And to...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Health Economics , Health Reform , Interviews  
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The New Census Numbers

The new U.S. Census numbers are out, and they don't show much in the way of changes: Median income dropped a bit, poverty rose a bit, and so too did the number of Americans without health insurance. But the actual...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 11:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs  
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The Rise of Wal-Mart

Harold Meyerson tells us a story: Around the time that the young Sam Walton opened his first stores, John Kennedy redeemed a presidential campaign promise by persuading Congress to extend the minimum wage to retail workers, who had until then...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Economic Policy  
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The New Bipartisanship

Thinking about President Obama's speech on Wednesday night with a bit more distance, the address now strikes me as an effort to unravel a fairly new problem: what does bipartisanship look like with only one party participating? It won't look...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 11, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Tab Dump

• Leon Wieseltier has some very nice lines in this attack on the ethos behind the New York Times Magazine. That said, that ethos doesn't really describe the NYTM that well. • Don't look now, but the public plan(s) are...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 6:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Joe Wilson Too Crude Even For The Brits

Lots of people -- myself included -- have been comparing Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst to the chaos that reigns in Britain's House of Commons. But according to Andrew Sullivan, even the House of Commons has some minimum standards of decency....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 5:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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A Conversation With John Dingell Jr.

On Wednesday night, Barack Obama opened his speech by invoking Rep. John Dingell Sr., who served in Congress from 1933 to 1955 and fought a long battle to create a universal health-care system. His son, John Dingell Jr., now...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 4:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Interviews  
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Charts and Graphs That Will Finally Make It Clear

As Ross Perot's success showed, presidential candidates have successfully used graphs to amplify the message of their campaigns. Congressmen routinely use graphs to illustrate points in their floor speeches or arguments around legislation. But presidents don't much use graphs....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 3:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Charts and Graphs  
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Better Message Discipline, Please

I can't turn on my TV these days without seeing Michael Steele flash me that car salesman smile and explain that only Republicans are willing to pledge to protect Medicare for our seniors. "After all," he grins, "they've earned...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 3:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Republicans  
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Chat Transcript

Princeton, N.J.: I am a mathematician and the inability of smart people to face facts on "tort reform" is driving me nuts. These facts are clear. States with tort reform not only have no lower health costs, but the frequency...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 2:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Tom Toles, National Treasure

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 2:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Cartoons  
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Atul Gawande on the President's Speech

The doctor is in, and writing blog posts over at the New Yorker: [H]e checked all the boxes on my list. And yet I remain concerned that he may not have done enough. ... Our current health-care system presents seemingly...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 1:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Lunch Break

Al Franken is America's greatest living patriot. Think Michelle Bachmann can do that? Me neither. Why does she hate America!?...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Lunch Break  
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What Obama Should Have Said on the Public Option

Last night, President Obama offered a pretty good conceptual defense of the public option. But things got a bit weirder when he drilled down to the specifics. Observe: I have no interest in putting insurance companies out of business. They...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 12:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Why Does Olympia Snowe Want to Increase Unemployment for Poor People?

Steve Pearlstein comments on the so-called "free rider" provision: An equally silly compromise comes from the Senate's "Gang of Six," which seeks to avoid riling the local chamber of commerce with a mandate that all businesses contribute something toward health...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 12:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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What Did President Ben Nelson and Prime Minister Olympia Snowe Think?

Suzy Khimm rounds up the reactions of some of the key centrists to the president's speech last night. The reviews are good. Snowe, however, did take direct aim at the public plan....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Live Chatting

You know the drill. Noon today. You can join in live, or submit questions in advance. I'll post the transcript when it ends. Please don't leave me alone in there. If you do, I'll start bolding names on this blog...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 11:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Joe Wilson and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Heckle

A lot of outlets have reported that Rep. Joe Wilson called Rahm Emanuel to apologize for screaming "You lie!" during the president's speech. But Dana Milbank adds some delicious detail to the story: An incensed White House Chief of...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 11:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Return of the Insta-Poll!

I haven't thought about dial polls since debate season, lo those many months back. CNN, however, hasn't forgotten their tremendous success with the little gimmicks, and had one going during Obama's speech. The readout was encouraging for the White House:...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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The Dream Shall Never Die -- Nor Shall It Stop Using the Mail

The closing sections of Obama's speech focused on Ted Kennedy, and were undeniably powerful. But it arguably opened Obama to the charge of exploiting Kennedy's memory in service of health-care reform. Luckily, Kennedy had apparently written Obama a letter in...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 10:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Musical Committee Chairs

Chris Dodd has decided against taking the chairmanship of the HELP Committee. That means he'll remain at the helm of the Banking Committee. Tom Harkin will give up chairmanship of the Agricultural Committee to chair HELP, leaving Blanche Lincoln...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 10:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Morning Meeting

If you'd like to see a live action version of this blog, I'll be on MSNBC's Morning Meeting With Dylan Ratigan from 9am to 10:45am Eastern. Fun for the whole family, or at least the part of the family that...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 10, 2009; 7:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Obama Promises Improvement, Not Change

Barack Obama is considered a great speaker. But he's not typically been great at giving this kind of nuts-and-bolts policy speech. He's good at handling grand, sweeping topics. He's better at talking about how the arc of history bends...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 9:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Transcript of Obama's Health Care Address

Below the fold, as that's where these things go....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 9:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Live...Tweeting?

Liveblogging is happening over at my public Twitter feed, where snarky one-liners make more sense. That makes it livetweeting, but it doesn't make it less fun. Follow here....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 8:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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John Dingell's Blackberry

Rep. John Dingell -- whose father got a big shout-out at the beginning of the speech -- is sending out Blackberry missives during the speech. Here's the first: Dad is smiling down on us right now. He started the fight...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 8:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Michelle Obama's Guest List

Via the White House Press Office, these are the people who'll be sitting in Michelle Obama's box tonight. Worth noting is that Phil Schiliro, the Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, leads the list. Schiliro is a behind-the-scenes player...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 6:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Excerpts From Obama's Speech to the Joint Session of Congress

Fresh from the inbox, and posted in full after the jump. As you might expect, I'll be blogging the actual speech when it happens later tonight....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 5:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The Incoherence of Compromise

There are times when compromise merges the insights and concerns of two different camps to arrive at a stronger synthesis. And then there's what happens in the United States Senate. Jon Chait explains: The fetishization of compromise often overlooks whether...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 5:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Profit and the Insurance Industry

Marcy Wheeler wonders why I don't talk more about insurance industry profits and the costs they impose on the system. So let me show my work on that at a little more length. There are two basic ways that...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 4:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Health Reform , Health Reform For Beginners  
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President Clinton's Health Care Address to the Joint Session of Congress

For comparison's sake: (Via Jon Cohn, from the Miller Center.)...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 3:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Tom Perriello's Health-Care Dilemma

Tom Perriello was first known as an activist and liberal entrepreneur: He was an adviser to Sierra Leone's Special Court, co-founder of the international MoveOn.org equivalent Avaaz, and a fellow at the Century Foundation. In 2008, however, he became one...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 1:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Why Does the Government Hate Renters?

Ed Glaeser summarizes the lessons he learned from the housing crash. Among them, "let no one ever again say foolish things like housing prices never fall," "there is extraordinary pain in both housing price busts and booms," and "American housing...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 1:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Economy , Solutions  
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Nazi Health Care

Given the proliferation of mustachioed Obama signs in recent weeks, Michael Scott Moore thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look at health care under Hitler. It's true the Nazis had health care. They inherited the...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Lunch Break

Autotune the health-care debate!...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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The State of Health-Care Reform

The research seems pretty convincing that impressive speeches don't do much to transform the dynamics of presidential approval. But then, tonight's speech doesn't need to do much. And it doesn't need to do much because health-care reform is in pretty...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Nancy Pelosi on the Trigger

Jay Newton-Small has a good look at the state-of-play within the House of Representatives. This seems the key bit of news: "I believe that a public option will be essential to our passing a bill in the House of Representatives,"...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 12:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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YouRunGov

Our friends over at WhoRunsGov have dropped the curtain on some pretty cool new tools. In particular, I'm excited about the Health Care Reform Tracker, which is basically a user-directed project to get each member of Congress on record with...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 12:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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What Would Olympia Snowe's Trigger Look Like?

Jon Cohn Suzy Khimm has the deets....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 10:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Gang of Six Death Watch: Moving Forward

The "Gang of Six" convened yesterday to consider Max Baucus's health reform framework. After the meeting, Baucus released this statement: “Today’s meeting was productive. We discussed the framework I sent the bipartisan group last weekend -- a framework that was...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 9:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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The Provider Problem

There's a thread of health-care reform commentary that makes it seem like the primary virtue of the project is sticking it to private insurers. Matt Yglesias, however, envisions a world in which what's good for BlueCross BlueShield is good...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 9, 2009; 8:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Tab Dump

• Will the deficit Bush helped create consume the tax cuts Bush managed to pass? • CBPP takes aim at the worst aspect of the Baucus proposal. • Paul Krugman argues in favor of the public plan. • A look...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Making Savings Count

The problem of affordability is, put simply, a problem of money. The more dollars that health-care reform either generates or saves, the more money that can easily be funneled towards affordability. The problem is that a lot of the best...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 5:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Love Capitalism? Regulate It.

Richard Berner of Morgan Stanley is marking the one-year anniversary of Lehman's collapse by listing the lessons he learned from the crisis. A strong and well-regulated financial system should be the first line of defense against financial shocks …. [T]he...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 4:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Solutions  
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Max Baucus's Not-That-Bad Health-Care Bill, and His Not-That-Great Health-Care-Reform.

How you'll judge Max Baucus's framework depends on how you understand the goal of health-care reform. Insofar as the effort is aimed at filling in the cracks of the current system — making it more affordable, more transparent and less...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 3:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Areas of Dispute

Max Baucus's framework includes this opening disclaimer: "This is not a final product, should not be construed as a Chairman’s Mark and does not include everything that might be in a Mark. Members may suggest individual modifications or offer whole...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Baucus's Framework: Summary

Let's begin by stating what isn't in Max Baucus's health-care reform framework (pdf): a public plan, serious subsidies between 300 percent and 400 percent of poverty, and a real employer mandate for health-care coverage. Those omissions are disappointing, and...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 1:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (73)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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EXCLUSIVE: The Baucus Framework

I'll have a fuller analysis once I've had some time to read and digest the document's contents. For now, here's the health-care reform framework (pdf) that Max Baucus is circulating....

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 12:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Little Better, But No Worse

"The [health care] debate needs to be framed in terms of how it will help the typical household," writes Brad DeLong. Recall that during the campaign, the Obama administration did exactly that: Obama was constantly saying that his plan would...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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A Brand New Week Brings a Brand New Think Tank

1) The Brookings Institution explains how to bend the cost curve on health care. 2) The Congressional Research Service has a report on setting and valuing health benefits. Believe me when I say this will be important. 3) This Wired...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 12:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Think Tank  
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The Public Plan Is Not the Same Thing as Cost Control

This will not be a popular post, I fear. But one of the themes I'm seeing in a lot of the commentary is that the absence of a public plan is essentially equivalent to the absence of cost control,...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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A Tale of Two Speeches

Bill Clinton gave a speech on health-care reform to a joint session of Congress. Barack Obama is giving a speech on health-care reform to a joint session of Congress. Bill Clinton subsequently failed to achieve health-care reform. Ergo, Barack Obama...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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A Politics Against Thinking

Among the more heartbreaking realities in modern medicine is that we don't have enough solid organs for transplantation. Thousands and thousands of people -- many of them children -- die because their liver, or their kidney, fails, and there is...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 10:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Obama's Feisty Labor Day Speech

Barack Obama celebrated Labor Day with a speech to the AFL-CIO that touched, as you might imagine, on health-care reform. And the president sounded feisty. We've never been this close. We've never had such broad agreement on what needs...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 9:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Eight Questions About Health-Care Reform

Ceci Connolly and Alec McGillis have an article outlining eight common questions about health-care reform. Importantly, they also provide the answers. It's the sort of article that people sometimes say the media don't publish, but the actual problem is that...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 8:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Health Reform , Health Reform For Beginners  
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The 900 Billion-Dollar Man

It'll be hard to say anything definitive on the Baucus proposal before we can see all the details. At the moment, Politico has the clearest rundown of what people think they know is in the plan. But in advance...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 8, 2009; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Health Reform  
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What Is an Excise Tax, and Can It Save Health Reform?

The Baucus proposal is, at long last, starting to snap into view. And it's ... pretty much what it was back on June 18, when an early outline emerged. Subsidies to 300 percent of poverty. Medicaid to 133 percent of...

By Ezra Klein  |  September 7, 2009; 3:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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