Friday, December 18, 2009

Column in today's News and Observer

revisits some questions I posed in October about how things will play out. NY Times writes about the race for a 60th vote by Christmas and the pitfalls of same. The part of this article that makes me giggle is Ben Nelson (the last holdout) saying the President made a strong case to him for a yes vote, but 'that it remains to be seen if he was compelling.' Well, he is uniquely qualified to decide if he was compelled or not....I feel bridges coming on in Nebraska. The Christmas deadline is arbitrary of course, but I think it rolls by then or it is done.....maybe final vote not before Christmas, but if they go away without a cloture vote I think it is dead....with 41 beating 59....just another day at the office.

Other stuff
*BCBS NC CEO Bob Greczyn says that premiums for indivdiual policies in NC will increase by more than the 10-13% national average that the CBO says if Senate bill becomes law. BCBS NC is largest private insurer by far in NC. I will write a bit more about this later today.

*Larry Kissell makes it into the WaPost in a way he probably doesn't like.

*The Dean of the health policy guys, Henry Aaron writes in the WaPost that the bill isn't perfect, but is important and better than the status quo. Predictably, he notes he really wishes we would cap the tax exclusion of employer paid insurance premiums....if you are worried about cost inflation in health care. Sigh.
*More on CLASS and what $75/day could mean.

* NPR fact checking the claim that 'all the taxes start now with all benefits later'.

*Important report on deficits....bipartisan group....many might say given this we can't afford the health bill. It is the opposite. Burn the picture above into your brain if you worry about deficits, it is the percent of GDP spent on Medicare and Medicaid with respect to the rest of the federal budget. It is inevitable if we do nothing....the Senate bill is not the last step to addressing it responsibly, but it is a first step, and much better than doing nothing.

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