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The ACA and Fluoridation: The Power of Political Symbols

In the 1950s, water fluoridation became a public health controversy that morphed into a symbolic issue of larger proportions. For its opponents, fluoridation came to symbolize big government and even for some, a communist threat. The controversy became so odd that it was parodied in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film “Dr.…

Holiday Reminder

Like you, the holidays always make me think about those who are less fortunate.  Last year around this time, I wrote a”Holiday Reminder” column about the health reform debate and people’s economic difficulties.  The drive to pass the health reform law was struggling, and it would struggle even more in the…

The News Media and “Entitlement Reform”

In the coming debate about the deficit, policymakers will struggle to craft a package of spending reductions and new revenues that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on, totaling as much as four trillion dollars over ten years.  Medicare, Medicaid and potentially the Affordable Care Act will have their turn…

Pulling it Together: On Health Reform, Will All Roads Meet in the Middle?

A few weeks ago a small group of upset single-payer advocates followed Senator Baucus into the parking garage of our D.C. building as he was arriving to do one of our health reform newsmaker breakfasts, cosponsored by Families USA and the National Federation of Independent Business. They were angry because…

Pulling it Together: Last Week’s Health Reform “Shocker”

Last week we learned that health reform could cost the federal government at least a trillion dollars over ten years, and that it will be really difficult to forge bipartisan agreement on legislation and keep major interest groups on board. This obviously brought more angst to the deliberations, several Republicans…

Pulling It Together: The Repeal Trap?

Almost a year into an often acrimonious health reform debate, we stand poised for near certain passage of historic health reform legislation. Yet, somewhat perplexingly, there’s now talk about whether a law that has not even been enacted might actually be repealed and reporters have been calling asking what the…

Pulling It Together: Rising Health Costs Are Not Just a Federal Budget Problem

Premiums for employer-provided health insurance, where 150 million Americans get their coverage, jumped 9% in 2011 while workers’ wages grew just 2%, according to our annual employer survey.  The average family policy now costs more than $15,000 per year, more than the cost of a Chevy Aveo or a Ford…

Small Area Variations and the ACA’s Coverage Expansions

A new Kaiser analysis sheds light on how the country might react to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when it is implemented.  It looks at how the benefits of the ACA’s coverage expansions will vary around the country by census areas (technically, Public Use Microdata Areas, or PUMAs).  PUMAs are…