8 a.m. ET: President Obama's efforts to bring various stakeholders on board the health-care reform train -- particularly hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry -- have gotten quite a bit of attention. But health insurance companies have thus far occupied an odd middle ground, not endorsing Democrats' various reform plans but not bringing their full weight to bear in opposition, either.
That appears to be changing, as the industry is set to release a report arguing that the proposals would cause insurance premiums to skyrocket. "The critique, coming one day before a critical Senate committee vote on the legislation, sparked a sharp response from the Obama administration," the Washington Post writes. "It also signaled an end to the fragile detente between two central players in this year's health-care reform drama." The New York Times says, "The study provides ammunition to Republicans attacking the legislation and might intensify the concerns of some Democrats who worry that the bill does not provide enough help to low- and middle-income people to enable them to buy insurance."Jonathan Cohn warns that the report -- produced by PriceWaterhouseCoopers for America's Health Insurance Plans -- "comes with some pretty questionable assumptions," particularly in its treatment of subsidies for individual buyers and the excise tax on "Cadillac" plans.
The Senate Finance Committee will vote on its reform measure Tuesday. What happens next? Bloomberg writes, "The future of U.S. health-care legislation now depends on warring Democrats, number-crunching analysts and, possibly, one senator from Maine." Is that all? The Hill reports that the prospects for health-care co-ops making it into the Senate's combined plan are fading because the idea doesn't have a big constituency in the chamber beyond Kent Conrad. In the strange bedfellows department, the White House is heeding the wishes of Bob Dole, Jake Tapper reports, asking the DNC to pull a TV ad that (misleadingly) touted the Republican's support for health-care reform. Kaiser Health News writes on a broader problem with all of the major reform plans -- they don't do anything to fix the shortage of primary care doctors.
Nancy Pelosi's hometown paper, The San Francisco Chronicle, profiles the Speaker and calls the health-care fight her defining moment. (Even though the climate change bill has always seemed more important to her personally.) Fun fact: "She can't wait to get her hands on "The Red Book," the inner musings and torments of the late Carl Jung, and she diverts herself by reading cookbooks that her husband, businessman Paul Pelosi, says she never uses." The Wall Street Journal also writes on Pelosi, and efforts by the GOP to use her as a major 2010 campaign issue -- a tactic that has proven ineffective the last two cycles.
At the White House, Joe Biden gets the Newsweek cover treatment, as the magazine reports that the Veep's "persistence and truth telling have paid off." (Note the lede anecdote, in which Biden makes a basic point about Afghanistan that somehow no one on Obama's national security team has ever considered before.) As for Obama, it's not clear why, but Gallup's daily tracking poll of the president's job approval rating has ticked up six points since last week. A similar upward trend is visible on Pollster.com's chart, aided by a CBS News poll released last week pegging Obama's approval at 56 percent, the same as Gallup.
How popular is Obama in the gay and lesbian community? He got a mixes report card from the thousands of marchers who assembled in Washington Sunday to demand more action on their agenda items. Obama may have earned some goodwill by pledging to overturn the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and the Wall Street Journal reports that support for that change is also growing in Congress and at the Pentagon.
Noting the relative youth of the march organizers, Time sets out to answer this question: "Why would a generation wired to their mobile phones and Facebook accounts nearly from birth want to resurrect a form of political expression as old and musty as a mass gathering?"
In today's episode of The Palin Chronicles, John McCain acknowledges that the campaign manager and ticketmate he picked personally don't particularly like each other. Speaking on CNN, McCain admitted "there were clearly tensions ... between Steve Schmidt and people in the Palin camp," but declined to agree with his former advisor's pessimistic assessment of Palin's potential 2012 candidacy, instead calling her "a formidable force" in the party. David Corn -- clearly not a Palin fan -- writes: "Recently, I asked a GOP consultant, who must remain nameless here, this question: Who advises Sarah Palin? His answer: No one. Really? I asked. Yes, he said, really." That, Corn says, explains why "Palin's actions keep defying rational explanation."
Please email us to report offensive comments.
The comments to this entry are closed.