Tag Archives: health care

The Romney’s Speech

CHRIS PUMMER: If you missed Mitt Romney’s speech last week clarifying his position on the health care reforms passed while he was governor of Massachusetts, you weren’t alone. You were actually part of the vast majority that shrugged at this…

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McDonald’s and Health Care

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: After threatening to drop its health insurance plan for its lowest-paid employees, McDonalds has asked for and gotten an exemption from the federal government to keep offering the plan, despite the fact that it doesn’t meet the new health care law requirement that 85% of the premiums paid go toward providing health services to the payees. After seeing the plan, however, I have to ask: who, exactly, is benefiting from this, or has McDonalds discovered yet another way to fleece the poor?

DAN SZYMBORSKI: Perhaps McDonald’s can develop their new insurance policy. If you’re working at McDonald’s and probably eating McDonald’s food. you probably don’t have a long to live anyway. After tasting a Big Mac, I think Sarah Palin should swoop in because McDonald’s greasy food is akin to a culinary death panel. Continue reading

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Food Stamp Soda Ban

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: My problems with an FDA ban on purchasing soda with food stamps are these: (a) it’s classist and (b) it’s no way to approach a sound, comprehensive public health policy.

ALLISON REILLY: If we want to dissuade people from purchasing unhealthy foods, then we need to make the healthy option the default option. Right now, unhealthy foods are our default, with fast food chains and vending machine options and street vending choices. All of that these places serve are unhealthy, yet cheap, food choices. The ban does punish the poor, but the poor are also disproportionately suffering in the obesity crisis, a big part because unhealthy foods are much more affordable. The documentary Food Inc. illustrates that the poor do not choose the unhealthy options because they don’t know any better or because they don’t want healthy food. It’s strictly, and simply, budget constraints.

HOWARD MEGDAL: While my colleagues each make good points above, I respectfully disagree. Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to ban the purchase of soda with food stamps in New York City makes sense on both a health and public policy level. Continue reading

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Breaking Down the Generic Ballot, Tax Cuts

JESSICA BADER: With the midterm elections less than six weeks away, each new batch of polls brings on another round of analysis, and those digging through the numbers try to make the polls fit their analysis just as much as…

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Obama’s Second Stimulus and Election 2010

HOWARD MEGDAL: On Friday morning, President Obama displayed more than just the strong grasp of the facts involved regarding the critical issues in American life today. He made it clear, in language crisper than previously deployed, that there is a strong case for keeping the House and Senate in Democratic hands.

CHRIS PUMMER: While the electoral math might be a simple as bad economy = kick the incumbent bums out, it might give a lot of independent voters pause if they aren’t sure that swallowing the bitter medicine the GOP is offering won’t really cure the illness — and might just make it worse. Continue reading

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Specter Spectre Retrospective Spectacular

HOWARD MEGDAL: I was surprised that of all the emotions I felt Tuesday night, watching Arlen Specter give his concession speech, sympathy wasn’t one of them. In short, it was just too hard to develop feelings of attachment for Arlen after decades of thinking of him as a man apart from what I wanted to happen in the country. I’m guessing that’s as good a reason as any for his defeat in the Pennsylvania Senate primary.

JESSICA BADER: When the polls began to indicate that Arlen Specter might not be the Democratic nominee for the Senate seat he had held for so long as a Republican, my first concern was for how this might affect the Democratic agenda going forward. No, I’m not talking about the shallow “Obama endorsed Specter and he lost the primary, so this is bad for Obama” pronouncements that were flying around today. Let’s not forget that Specter will still be a Senator for the remainder of the year and that some pretty important matters will be dealt with by the Senate between now and then, including but not limited to a Supreme Court confirmation. What I’m wondering is what kind of votes Specter will cast now that he no longer has a political career to fight for. Continue reading

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Health Care: Calling All Sidecars

HOWARD MEGDAL: From a political perspective, President Obama’s Health Care Summit is absolutely perfect.

JESSICA BADER: I generally agree with Howard on the political implications of the upcoming healthcare reform summit (although I think an all-HCR version of the GOP retreat showdown is more likely than the empty-chairs scenario, despite the current posturing from John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell). As much as Obama is often accused by some of his liberal critics of fetishizing bipartisanship at the expense of watering down his policies, that accusation is far more true of moderate and conservative Congressional Democrats (especially those in the Senate). Without a public demonstration of both the Republican-friendly ideas already incorporated into HCR legislation and the GOP’s unwillingness to negotiate in good faith, the right flank of the Democratic Party is likely to keep insisting on letting Lucy hold the football one more time. Continue reading

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State of the Union Reactions

HOWARD MEGDAL: There is much that President Obama did well in tonight’s speech, though how much the speech succeeded will ultimately be determined by legislative action and the voters in 2010. But the most vital part of President Obama’s speech Wednesday night was placing the Democratic Party on the side of regulating Wall Street.

JESSICA BADER: The thing that struck me the most about Barack Obama’s first official State of the Union address was how comfortable, how in his element, he seemed while giving it. Even knowing what a gifted speaker the President is and the sense of calm he projects even when the going gets tough, I would have expected some amount of nervousness to seep through as he delivered this speech that will supposedly determine the fate of his presidency (at least until the pundits determine another pivotal moment to fixate on). Instead, he was witty and self-deprecating, not afraid to riff off of the reactions of the audience immediately in front of him even as he was explaining his agenda to the audience watching on a screen.

Like Obama has done throughout his time in the national spotlight, he found the right words, delivered them the right way and at just the right time. Continue reading

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On Health Care and Compromising

JESSICA BADER: There has been a lot about the healthcare reform debate, especially in the Senate, that has frustrated me to no end – the objections by conservative Democrats to even a weakened public option, the immense leverage that a single Senator can have over the entire process, the way that filibusters have gone from a rarity to the norm, the way that opponents of abortion rights have used the debate to impose further restrictions on access to a legal medical procedure – but in the end, I cannot condemn the tactics used by those who have shaped the legislation in ways contrary to what I would like. My basic philosophy of political negotiation is to take what you can get, but up until the take-it-or-leave-it moment fight like hell to narrow the gap between the world as it is and the world as you’d like it to be. That seems to me to be exactly what Ben Nelson did.

HOWARD MEGDAL: It’s never made much sense to me that people find it difficult to sell the idea that elections matter. But clearly, the re-election of Joe Lieberman in 2006 may well have cost Americans an incalculable amount of money, since Ned Lamont was certain to be for a public option. More concretely, Lieberman instead of Lamont has clearly resulted in the inability of those 55-64 to buy into Medicare. These most vulnerable in the health care system were set adrift by Joe Lieberman. Continue reading

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House Health Care Vote: Bart Stupak/John Adler

JESSICA BADER: For those of us who believe in both universal healthcare and a woman’s right to choose, the passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act brought on a case of emotional whiplash, as an amendment passed in the hours leading up to the final vote threatens to place further restrictions on access to abortion. The Stupak-Pitts Amendment would prohibit anyone receiving affordability credits (subsidies to help those with incomes between 150% and 400% of the poverty line pay their insurance premiums) from purchasing an insurance plan that, like most insurance plans currently sold, covers abortion (with the standard exceptions for rape, incest, and danger to the woman’s life). This amendment goes beyond current law and is significantly more restrictive than the Capps Amendment that was considered in an earlier version of the bill (where federal funds could not be used to pay for abortions but a woman could purchase an insurance plan that covered abortion with her own money, with a mechanism in place to segregate the federal and private funds).

HOWARD MEGDAL: Jessica makes some great points on the Stupak bill, but I want to discuss the serious political miscalculation John Adler (D-NJ) made by voting against the bill itself. Continue reading

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