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Health Reform

December 23, 2009

A publication note: This is the last edition of the Political Browser as a standalone daily feature. Thanks to everyone who has read this page since it first launched 15 months ago, and a special thanks to producer John Amick,...

By Ben Pershing | December 23, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 22, 2009

8 a.m. ET: It's all over but the shouting in the Senate, where Democrats are in the midst of clearing another procedural hurdle en route to final passage of a health-care bill. The chamber will vote on another procedural motion...

By Ben Pershing | December 22, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 21, 2009

8 a.m. ET: In a saga that has included countless press conferences, high-profile speeches and one seeming climax after another, it may turn out that Sunday's 1 a.m. procedural vote in a snow-muffled Capitol was the most important milestone in...

By Ben Pershing | December 21, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 17, 2009

8 a.m. ET: If you're a Senate Democrat who supports health-care reform, which sounds worse: Having to stay in town to vote on Christmas Eve, or leaving for the holidays empty-handed? Both scenarios now appear possible, as Republican delaying tactics...

By Ben Pershing | December 17, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 16, 2009

8 a.m. ET: During his "combative" interview with 60 Minutes this past weekend, President Obama appeared particularly irritated by Steve Kroft's suggestion that he had simply "turned over" health care -- his top legislative priority -- to Congress. "That's not...

By Ben Pershing | December 16, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

December 15, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Unless this is a horror movie -- and at this point, it might be -- it appears that the public option is really, truly dead. Probably. After Joe Lieberman drew a line in the sand over the...

By Ben Pershing | December 15, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

December 14, 2009

8 a.m. ET: For months, Senate veterans pondering when a health-care bill would pass the chamber eyed Christmas week on their calendars -- specifically Wednesday, Dec. 23 -- as the last and thus, likeliest, day for passage in 2009. But...

By Ben Pershing | December 14, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

December 9, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The health-care reform roller-coaster has been through more ups and downs in the last six months than are possible to count. With a Senate deal on the public option in the offing, Wednesday is clearly an "up"...

By Ben Pershing | December 9, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

December 8, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The year -- and this session of Congress -- may be nearly over, but it's never too late for yet another sweeping revision of the health-care reform proposals that have been under consideration for months. Major changes...

By Ben Pershing | December 8, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

November 30, 2009

8 a.m. ET: This week marks a turning point for the two thorniest issues of Barack Obama's young presidency, as the Senate begins debate on its health-care bill and Obama announces his decision on the way forward in Afghanistan. How...

By Ben Pershing | November 30, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

November 20, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Cancel those weekend plans: You've now got a date Saturday night with health-care reform. The Senate measure faces a key procedural vote Saturday evening, and Harry Reid is still working to assemble the requisite 60 votes. Politico...

By Ben Pershing | November 20, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

November 19, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Two weeks after the House passed its health-care bill and exactly a month after the Senate Finance Committee reported out its version of the measure, the Senate's compromise plan is finally ready for its closeup. Harry Reid...

By Ben Pershing | November 19, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

November 17, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The story of health-care reform since the summer has been nothing less than epic. There have been tea parties and blowups in Congress, tens of millions spent on television ads and many millions more on lobbyists and...

By Ben Pershing | November 17, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

November 10, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Liberals spent a good portion of the health-care debate complaining that President Obama was insufficiently committed to including the public option in a reform bill, accusing him of sacrificing a cause that was important to them for...

By Ben Pershing | November 10, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

November 9, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Believe it or not, that was the easy part. Proponents of health-care reform got their chance to take a brief breath and celebrate Sunday, after a sweeping bill passed the House Saturday night. Now it's on to...

By Ben Pershing | November 9, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

October 30, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama and congressional Democrats moved closer to the end of a very bumpy road this week, as the House now has a health-care reform bill that is expected to pass the chamber and the Senate is...

By Ben Pershing | October 30, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

October 29, 2009

8 a.m. ET: After months of closed-door negotiations and irritated lawmakers parading in and out of Nancy Pelosi's office, the House's health-care reform bill is finally ready for its closeup. The measure will be unveiled at 10:30 am Thursday at...

By Ben Pershing | October 29, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

October 27, 2009

8 a.m. ET: What is Harry Reid thinking? Even in normal times, it's a common question, as the Majority Leader's ability to schedule bills on the Senate floor puts him at the fulcrum of every major legislative fight in Washington....

By Ben Pershing | October 27, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

October 26, 2009

8 a.m. ET: House and Senate Democrats are, for the moment, moving in different directions on their respective health-care reform bills. But they do agree on one point -- President Obama isn't doing enough to help them. In the Senate,...

By Ben Pershing | October 26, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 23, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Everyone loves a good comeback story. The public insurance option, the inclusion of which in a final reform plan appeared highly unlikely a month ago, now looks like a decent bet to pass in some form. The...

By Ben Pershing | October 23, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

October 20, 2009

8 a.m. ET: It's increasingly possible that we will look back and see that August 2009 was this election cycle's height of Republicans' optimism over their political fortunes, and the depth of Democrats' despair. By the time the midterm elections...

By Ben Pershing | October 20, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (12)

October 16, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Two of the drivers of health-care reform in the House and Senate have reason for good cheer Friday morning, as the former got some good news on the price front and the latter is increasingly confident his...

By Ben Pershing | October 16, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

October 14, 2009

8 a.m. ET: In a health-care debate that has often been as fast-paced and only slightly more interesting than watching paint dry, all sides agreed that Tuesday's Senate Finance Committee vote to approve reform legislation was a monumentally momentous milestone....

By Ben Pershing | October 14, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

October 13, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The Senate Finance Committee's stint in the driver's seat of the health-care debate is nearing its end, as the panel will vote Tuesday at long last to approve its reform bill and send it out to compete...

By Ben Pershing | October 13, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

October 12, 2009

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...

By Ben Pershing | October 12, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

October 8, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Wednesday brought a reminder that wonks bearing calculators can be hugely important to the direction of the country, as the Congressional Budget Office's determination that the Senate Finance Committee health bill would cost $829 billion served to...

By Ben Pershing | October 8, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

September 30, 2009

8 a.m. ET: An outcome that had been expected for weeks still generated a good deal of drama and post-game analysis, as Tuesday's defeat of efforts to add the public insurance option to the Senate Finance Committee's health-care bill pushed...

By Ben Pershing | September 30, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

September 22, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The Senate Finance Committee begins its slog through the chairman's health-care bill Tuesday, as the effort to pass reform looks healthier but still in need of intensive care. Max Baucus spent the final hours beforehand revising the...

By Ben Pershing | September 22, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

September 17, 2009

8 a.m. ET: At some point in the last few months, Max Baucus apparently decided to test the cliche that a true compromise should irritate everyone. One day after Baucus released his long-awaited compromise health care measure, the most common...

By Ben Pershing | September 17, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

September 16, 2009

8 a.m. ET: If Budget Day on Capitol Hill is like Christmas for policy wonks, then today must surely be some lesser holiday for health-care mavens. At long last, Max Baucus will unveil his version of the reform bill, without...

By Ben Pershing | September 16, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

September 15, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Speaking on 60 Minutes Sunday night, President Obama recalled an adviser telling him that health-care reform "will be pronounced dead at least four or five times" before finally succeeding. This week could be one of those times,...

By Ben Pershing | September 15, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

September 11, 2009

8 a.m. ET: For one night, speaking Wednesday before a rapt and (mostly) captive audience, President Obama had control of the health-care debate. Now it's back into the gears of the legislative grinder, as intraparty divisions and concern over deficits,...

By Ben Pershing | September 11, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

September 10, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The biggest day so far of President Obama's tenure is over, giving way to two questions: Was his address to a joint session of Congress worth giving, and how will it impact the health-care debate going forward?...

By Ben Pershing | September 10, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

September 8, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The president who essentially made his political career with a few well-delivered speeches has two on tap in the next 36 hours -- a seemingly minor education address that became unexpectedly controversial and an undeniably major speech...

By Ben Pershing | September 8, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

September 3, 2009

8 a.m. ET: What was only theoretical yesterday morning is reality today, as President Obama now has firm plans to address a joint session of Congress on health care next Wednesday night. But while the schedule may now be clear,...

By Ben Pershing | September 3, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

August 21, 2009

8 a.m. ET: As an unusually eventful August inches toward its end, a health-care debate that has changed markedly this month now appears roughly frozen in place until Congress returns from recess. Key players in the health-care debate spent Thursday...

By Ben Pershing | August 21, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

August 20, 2009

8 a.m. ET: If yesterday's health-care narrative was all about message, today's is focused on legislative tactics, not about selling a reform bill but the mechanics of getting one passed. The Wall Street Journal writes, "The White House and Senate...

By Ben Pershing | August 20, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

August 19, 2009

8 a.m. ET: How bad is President Obama's health-care message problem, and can it be fixed this late in the game? The new NBC News poll paints a sobering picture for the administration. While the topline data is similar to...

By Ben Pershing | August 19, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

August 18, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The White House continued to insist Monday that "nothing has changed" in its position on health-care reform. But two things clearly have: 1) It was likely before, but now appears almost certain, that the public insurance option...

By Ben Pershing | August 18, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

August 17, 2009

8 a.m. ET: So far in August, coverage of the health-care fight has focused mostly on process and politics over policy, and tactics over strategy. But the headline news from this weekend wasn't about a town hall meeting. It wasn't...

By Ben Pershing | August 17, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

August 6, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Will President Obama get an important symbolic victory before the Senate leaves town? The Washington Post reports, "Senate negotiators are inching toward bipartisan agreement on a health-care plan that seeks middle ground on some of the thorniest...

By Ben Pershing | August 6, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

August 5, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Just as the White House is increasing its focus on Web-based grass-roots activism in hopes of boosting support for health-care reform, the on-the-ground tactics of reform opponents have become a subject of heated debate. As the congressional...

By Ben Pershing | August 5, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

August 3, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The Senate doesn't leave town until Friday, but the battle lines for recess are already drawn: Republicans will attack Democrats' health-care plans, and Democrats will attack the insurance companies. Nancy Pelosi got the ball rolling on the...

By Ben Pershing | August 3, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

July 31, 2009

8 a.m. ET: When it comes to health-care reform, the world's greatest deliberative body is living up to its name. With Republican negotiators urging that the pace of talks in the Senate slow down, Max Baucus announced Thursday night that...

By Ben Pershing | July 31, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

July 30, 2009

8 a.m. ET: In the remaining days before Congress leaves town, what would constitute victory for President Obama on health care? Obama's original goal -- passage in both chambers by Aug. 7 -- slipped by the wayside long ago. But...

By Ben Pershing | July 30, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

July 29, 2009

8 a.m. ET: For President Obama and his most liberal supporters, this week's health-care debate has delivered a sobering lesson on the limits of majority power in Washington. Even with a popular president in place, 60 votes in the Senate...

By Ben Pershing | July 29, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

July 27, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Most times, regardless of which party is in control of Congress, the dynamic between the two chambers on major bills is the same -- in the House, the majority just rams a bill through, and then the...

By Ben Pershing | July 27, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

July 24, 2009

8 a.m. ET: A big setback for President Obama. That's how Thursday's lead story -- the Senate won't pass health-care reform before the August recess -- is being portrayed. "Blown Deadline, Blown Chance?" asks a Politico headline. Harry Reid's move...

By Ben Pershing | July 24, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

July 22, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Speaking in the Rose Garden Tuesday, President Obama demanded "action over inaction" on health-care reform. But does that action have to happen by Aug. 7? As Obama himself has said, without deadlines, "nothing gets done in this...

By Ben Pershing | July 22, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

July 21, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The 2010 campaign began in earnest Monday, and with it the fight for the fate of President Obama's first term. Republicans had nibbled at the edges of Obama's popularity before, testing for weakness by voting against the...

By Ben Pershing | July 21, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

July 20, 2009

8 a.m. ET: President Obama's poll numbers have been dropping almost since the day he took office. So as he works to sell his signature initiative, Obama plans a brief return to the place where he has achieved the most...

By Ben Pershing | July 20, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

July 15, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Quick quiz, what was the most important thing that happened in Washington yesterday? Was it a) Sonia Sotomayor endured her second day of confirmation hearings, with both senators' questions and her answers proceeding mostly free of surprise...

By Ben Pershing | July 15, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

July 10, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Is health-care reform inevitable? That question has come to the fore in recent days, as President Obama and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill attempt to navigate a maze full of opposition and entrenched interests to arrive at...

By Ben Pershing | July 10, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

June 16, 2009

8 a.m. ET: There are only 47 days left until Congress' August recess is scheduled to begin -- less than 30 on the legislative calendar -- and the key players in the health care debate appear to be far from...

By Ben Pershing | June 16, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

June 15, 2009

8 a.m. ET: Politicians have lost elections for raising taxes. They've lost for slashing spending. And they've lost because the economy is in recession. But how many times have they lost because the budget wasn't balanced? We may find out...

By Ben Pershing | June 15, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

June 11, 2009

8 a.m. ET: The traditional narrative for any big Washington policy fight is typically Democrats vs. Republicans, or occasionally, "change" vs. "more of the same." But the increasingly heated debate over health care reform isn't quite breaking down along those...

By Ben Pershing | June 11, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

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