Doing health care through reconciliation is even harder than I thought

I was so focused on provisions that would not affect the budget and might therefore have to be removed, that I forgot to think about provisions that would affect the budget. Unless Senator Reid can find ways to make these bills not violate two other tests, he will need 60 votes even to pass a reconciliation bill. Even through reconciliation it would be very difficult for Senator Reid to implement a 51-vote strategy.
By |August 6th, 2009|budget, health|33 Comments

How to measure health care cost control

I want to propose a four-part test for measuring any particular bill on health care cost control.

short run

long run

Federal deficit



Government health care spending



Private health care spending



In each case, I will define the test so that “yes” is a good outcome:

Test 1: The bill does not increase the federal deficit in the short run.

Test 2: The […]

By |June 12th, 2009|budget, health, taxes|18 Comments

Ten more things about the official Kennedy-Dodd health care bill

The Senate HELP Committee staff has filed an official copy of their draft legislation with the Senate clerk. A friend and I were discussing today two possible tactical scenarios:

The weekend leak forced the majority staff to release their official text as damage control. Under this scenario, filing the official copy is a damage mitigation strategy: […]

By |June 10th, 2009|budget, health, taxes|43 Comments

Understanding the House Democrats’ health care bill

Yesterday I posted and described the draft Kennedy-Dodd health care bill. Today I would like to do the same for an outline produced by House Democrats.

Here is a three-page outline of “Key Features of the Tri-Committee Health Reform Draft Proposal in the House of Representatives,” dated yesterday (June 8, 2009).

The three committees are:

The House Ways […]

By |June 9th, 2009|health|218 Comments

Understanding the Kennedy health care bill

Over the weekend a draft of Senator Kennedy’s (D-MA) health care bill leaked. After playing with Adobe Acrobat, here is the text of the draft Kennedy bill as a text file (173 K), and as a single Acrobat file (3.4 MB).¬†Update: I fixed the broken link to the PDF. Unlike the leaked version, both of […]

By |June 8th, 2009|health, taxes|383 Comments

Government Motors discussion on Fox News Sunday (continued)

In an earlier post I attempted to correct Dr. Austan Goolsbee’s incorrect and inflammatory statements about President Bush.I would like here to add my views to one additional question on the auto industry discussion on this morning’s edition of Fox News Sunday.

Host Chris Wallace moderated a discussion this morning with:

Dr. Austan Goolsbee, Member of President […]

By |June 7th, 2009|autos, economy, industry|12 Comments

Dr. Goolsbee gets it wrong on the auto loans

This morning on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace moderated a discussion about the auto industry. One of his guests was Dr. Austan Goolsbee, who is a Member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and chief economist on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

I want to focus on some incorrect and inflammatory statements by […]

By |June 7th, 2009|autos, economy, industry|41 Comments

Parsing the President’s health care reform letter

The White House has released a letter from the President to the two Senate Chairmen who are working on (different) versions of health care reform: Senator Kennedy (D-MA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The letter is dated yesterday and […]

By |June 3rd, 2009|budget, health|11 Comments

Understanding the GM bankruptcy

Many of you are new to this blog since I wrote extensively about autos six weeks ago. As background, I coordinated the auto loan process for President Bush last fall as the Director of the White House National Economic Council (the position now held by Dr. Lawrence Summers). I wrote a series of posts on […]

By |June 1st, 2009|autos, economy, energy, industry|51 Comments

Third party payment in health care (part 3): Technology drives cost growth

Imagine that Sony plans to bring to market a new TV that is twice as good as the old $500 TV but costs $200 more to produce. If instead it is twice as good but costs $2,000 more, they will probably hold off and look for a less expensive way to improve quality.

Now imagine that […]

By |May 18th, 2009|health, taxes|17 Comments