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Pulling it Together: An Actuarial Rorschach Test

Drew Altman, Larry Levitt, Gary Claxton My colleagues have worked on this column with me and I invited them to join me as authors. As with pretty much every other discussion of health care going back to the days of Roosevelt, the great reform debate of 2009 (and now 2010)…

Pulling it Together: Anticipating the Polls about Health

Tuesday, February 2nd marked a milestone of sorts in the health reform debate: there was no story on health reform in the New York Times (national edition).  I haven’t done a study, but as a professional New York Times (NYT) reader, I am virtually certain that this is the first…

Pulling It Together: The Message from Massachusetts

The Massachusetts special election has roiled the political world and profoundly affected the prospects for health reform just when it looked like passage was a lock.  Efforts are underway to put health reform legislation back together again on Capitol Hill, but not since powerful Ways and Means Chair Wilbur Mills fell into…

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 Yet, somewhat perplexingly, there’s now talk about whether a law that has not even been enacted might actually be repealed and reporters have been calling asking what the…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: A Holiday Reminder on the Economy and Health Care

With so much of the focus on the political dynamics of the health reform debate and a few hot button issues, I wonder if we have lost track of what propelled health care to the top domestic issue in the first place—people’s concerns about paying for health care in the…

Pulling it Together: A Note on Presidential Leadership Strategy

In inside circles of the health reform debate there has been criticism of the President for not weighing in earlier and publicly on the details of health reform legislation. Does he want the Senate’s approach to employer obligations, or the approach taken in the House? What form of public option…

Pulling it Together: Implementation

When I was a graduate student at MIT my adviser Jeffrey Pressman was a great political scientist who had just written the seminal book on program implementation.  It was called, simply enough, Implementation, with a subhead that read: “how great expectations in Washington are dashed” (OK, we political scientists study…

Pulling it Together: The Media’s Challenge In Health Reform

For many years now the news media has served as the public’s number one source of information on important issues like health reform. People rely on the news media to help them wade through claims and counter claims, understand how policy options will affect them and come to judgment on…

Pulling it Together: Simple Arithmetic

This week we put out our annual benchmark survey of employer health coverage and costs. Two numbers jumped off the pages. The first number was the average cost of a family health insurance policy in 2009: $13,375. To put that number in context, if you are an employer, you can…