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Health Care Reform Watch under President Obama

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A hub of provocative columns and articles chronicling health care reform under President Obama and the 111th Congress in 2009-2010.

1. Panicky White House Pushing (Too!) Hard to Close Health Care Deal

Jeff Haynes/Getty Images
March 10, 2010 - The White House is scrambling frantically to force the House to pass the Senate health care reform bill. But I didn't fully appreciate just how frantic the Obama administration feels until, to my astonishment, I received an anonymous campaign-style robocall this morning that...

2. House Health Care Vote Hinges on Trust (or Fear) of Obama

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
March 8, 2010 - Democrats don't have the votes right now, which is why President Obama is hitting the road this week, railing for voters to force their Congressmen to support his health care reform proposal. And tempting Americans with his inviting list of First Year Changes Under Obama's Health Care Reform Bill.

As a result, President Obama and his White House political advisors have dictated that...

3. Obama Health Care Summit: Saturday Night Live Fodder

Shawn Thew/Getty Images
February 26, 2010 - The best I can say about President Obama's bipartisan health care summit is that it yielded interesting moments of clarity, particularly about Obama's views. And that it should prove to be rich fodder for Saturday Night Live.

Encouragingly, some Congressional attendees, both Democratic and Republican, were thoughtful and engaged, but others used their C-SPAN podium for cynical political hackery... of course. (Do you even listen to yourself, John Boehner?)

4. Cancel Obama's Hyper-Political Health Summit

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
February 22, 2010 - "The President plans to host an extravagantly publicized health care 'summit' to which he's invited recalcitrant Congressional Republicans to accomplish... well, something unspecified. Since everyone realizes that this political theater will never produce any semblance of kumbaya agreement, his possible goals are to... "

5. Coakley Loss Could Improve Chances for Single Payer Option

Robert Spencer/Getty Images
January 18, 2010 - Despite all the gloom and doom, losing the Massachusetts Senate seat could provide liberals an enormously opportune opening to add the single payer or Medicare buy-in options back to health care reform legislation and pass it. That is, if Obama really does want a single payer or Medicare-like option, as he claimed over and over and over...

6. Is Senate Health Bill Like NAFTA?

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images
December 24, 2009 - My hunch is that the Senate/Obama version of health care reform legislation could have much the same economic impact on middle-class Americans as President Bill Clinton's 1993 NAFTA legislation: perhaps 10% of Americans will benefit significantly, while the remaining 90% will suffer a price. And most of all, the measure would greatly enrich corporate coffers. Here's a partial list of what currently insured Americans don't know if the Senate health care "reform" bill becomes law:...

7. Obama's Senate Health Bill Is Rich Victory for Insurers, Lobbyists

Roger L. Wollenberg/Getty Images
December 21, 2009 - While the goal of providing health care coverage to millions of uninsured Americans is worthy and admirable, the Obama-supported Senate health care "reform" bill is an abysmally undisciplined hodgepodge that richly rewards private insurers and their lobbyists... and levies mandates, back-breaking fees, and/or IRS penalties on most middle-class Americans. And yet, tens of millions will remain uninsured.

8. Obama-Lieberman Health "Reform" Plan Should Be Killed

Alex Wong/Getty Images
December 16, 2009 - I fully agree with Dr. Howard Dean that the Senate health care "reform" bill, which President Obama has permitted to be neutered by Sen. Joe Lieberman, must be killed.

The buck stops squarely with President Obama, who rolled over and acquiesced to Sen. Lieberman's demands to neuter the bill, in order to eliminate reform of private insurance corporation practices.

9. Liberal Comfort with Health Bill from Dean, Feingold, Brown

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

December 10, 2009 - The expansion of Medicare, which now covers Americans 65 years and older, to cover Americans starting at 55 years old, is pure genius... and cleverly designed to embarrass Republican senators into supporting the measure...

One definitive statement I can make today about this newest Senate health care plan proposal: I deeply respect the hearts, minds, and voting records of Sen. Feingold and Sen. Brown. If these two progressive senators, and Howard Dean, give the Senate health reform bill a hearty YES, count me in, too!

10. Connection Between Afghan War Surge and Sputtering Health Care Prospects?

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

December 4, 2009 - If I was more deeply cynical, I'd believe that the timing of President Obama's Afghan War surge announcement was conveniently related to the sputtering Senate health care reform debate. As acerbic Rep. David Obey (D-WI), a 40-year House member, drolled in The Economist, "There ain't going to be money for nothing if we put it all into Afghanistan."

It's the perfect, victim-based rationale for the Obama administration's highly possible failure to deliver effective health care reform after a year of intense debate and negotiations, and two years of candidate Obama's solemn promises...

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