Archive for the ‘Health Care Reform’ Category

Labor Market Policy – Tackling the Pyramid

In Budget Politics, California, Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, Education Reform, European Politics, Financial Crisis, Full Employment, Health Care Reform, Higher Education, Housing, Inequality, Liberalism, Living Wage, Political Ideology, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Regulation, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Unions, Welfare State, Youth Policy on March 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Introduction:

It’s somewhat out of vogue to talk about the quality of jobs and the shape of the labor market at a time when unemployment is so high and the obvious issue is the number of jobs being created. This wasn’t the case prior to the recession, although rather specious reasons were given to justify the rapidly increasing inequality of wages as the outcome of superior education or productivity. What can’t be denied is that even before the recession, we were sliding into a highly unequal labor market in which many low-paid, insecure workers (50% of American workers made less than $26,000 or 230% of poverty in 2010) serve a small number of ever-richer elites.

This trend has only continued since the recession, and it’s a problem that has to be solved if we are to either fully recover or protect ourselves from the next recession.

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Public Sector Aesthetics – Why They Matter

In Culture, Economic Planning, European Politics, Health Care Reform, Higher Education, Housing, Inequality, Mass Transit, Political Ideology, Public Sector, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Social Security, Taxes, Urbanism, Welfare State on November 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Introduction:

One of the intellectual shortcomings of progressives, and friends of the public sector more broadly, is that we tend to approach public policy from an empirical perspective entirely bounded by questions of money and measurements. While this isn’t a bad thing in itself – certainly “reality-based” public policy is better than the kind of public policy we see coming from the Tea Partiers – it means that we ignore the aesthetic side of the public sector.

This is a mistake, as it opens up a vacuum that conservatives have exploited when they don’t actually have a case on empirical grounds – the evidence for the inherent superiority of the private sector might be weak, but it’s easy to get voters to emotionally identify with the image of endless lines at the DMV.

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After Health Care Reform – State-Level Single-Payer

In Budget Politics, California, Economic Planning, Economics, Health Care Reform, Inequality, Liberalism, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Sector, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Unions, Welfare State on May 8, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Introduction:

In the wake of the passage of the Affordable Choices Act into law, there are a lot of questions about how we go on from here. Obviously, one line of activism focuses on ways to improve the health care reform act. To some progressives so morally outraged at the defeat of the public option that they’ve given up on the Congress as hopelessly wedded to corporate interests, obviously, this isn’t so appealing.

However, if the progressive movement can be clever and strategic for a second, and is willing to work from within rather than to cry defeat, we can actually work on the state level to move the goalposts of the health care debate in the direction of single-payer before we even get to the next round of national legislation.

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A New Deal For California – Part 1 (Full Employment)

In Budget Politics, California, Democratic Governance, Economic Planning, Economics, Full Employment, Health Care Reform, Inequality, Liberalism, Political Ideology, Political Parties, Politics, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Public Works, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Welfare State, WPA on April 26, 2010 at 1:51 am

Introduction:

The current state of California politics can be summed up in a simple comparison: in the Republican gubernatorial primaries, we see one candidate promising that their first action upon becoming governor is to put 40,000 people out of work and the other complaining that this isn’t enough; in the Democratic convention, we see a party divided over whether to fight for majority rule for budgets or for budgets and taxes.

As a state, California seems caught between the scissors of an increasing need for public services to provide a basic level of social protection for the sick, the elderly and the poor and to restore our high-road, high-wage economy based on superior public education and green technology, and a paralyzed, undemocratic, and irrational political structure that is unwilling and unable to take the necessary actions to meet those needs.

We know that the strategies proposed by the GOP’s gubernatorial candidates won’t work because they are essentially a retreat of the last seven years of failed policies – Schwarzeneggerism without a human face.

Yet Democrats lack a forceful message about what we want to do beyond the immediate issue of the budget.

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Health Care Reform Is Done – Time for Health Care Reform

In Budget Politics, Health Care Reform, Liberalism, Political Ideology, Political Parties, Politics, Politics of Policy, Progressivism, Public Policy, Regulation, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Taxes, Welfare State on March 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Introduction:

Sunday’s vote by the House to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Senate Bill) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (the reconciliation “side-car”), and President Obama’s signature on Tuesday marks the end of a political era that lasted from the early 1970s until Sunday in which the advocates of universal health care were either in retreat or defeat.

However, the enactment of the Senate Bill into law does not mean the end of health care reform.

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From Cradle to Launch (Rethinking Youth Policy)

In Budget Politics, Economic Planning, Economics, Health Care Reform, History and Politics, Inequality, New Deal, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Welfare State, Youth Policy on November 30, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Introduction:

In general, American society does a really poor job of protecting the young. 21% of American children live in families below the poverty line; another 22% of children live in families that make 100-200% of the poverty line, where a sudden illness or job loss or other crisis can easily send the family back into the ranks of the destitute.

In the face of this, the U.S devotes only 16% of its domestic budget to children, and this share has actually shrunk over the last 50 years.At the same time, youth policy is split between over a hundred programs, with no overarching attention paid to the different aspects of life from cradle to launch.

If we are to do better for the next generation of children, we need to adopt a comprehensive youth policy.

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After the Exchanges – Health Care Reform, Step 2

In Budget Politics, Health Care Reform, Inequality, Liberalism, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Progressivism, Public Policy, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Social Security, Unions, Welfare State on October 29, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Introduction:

This last week has given us something of a denouement for the public option – we came just short of the “robust” public option set at Medicare rates plus 5% in the House, but we’ve got an opt-out negotiated rate public option in the Senate. Chances are, going forward, that the eventual legislation will end up with something in-between the House and Senate’s version.

While this is certainly a disappointment to those of us who favored “Medicare Part E,” it’s important to keep in the forefront of our minds, that the objective of health care reform is universal coverage and affordability, not the specific vehicle by which this happens. And a close examination of the House bill shows they way forward.

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Coalition of Holdouts

In Budget Politics, California, Health Care Reform, History and Politics, Political Ideology, Political Parties, Politics on October 22, 2009 at 11:02 pm


Introduction:

While I have never been intellectually attracted to centrism, and while I’ve made my distaste for High Broderite bipartisanship-for-the-sake-of-bipartisanship very clear, I haven’t yet addressed one major element of what I call “process politics” that I think is pernicious – the cult of “reasonableness.”

The idea of “reasonableness” as it plays in politics is that the party of government (not necessarily the party “in” government, but the party that believes in government) has to behave in a reasonable manner, passing budgets on time, playing by the procedural rules, and make compromises to make things happen, even if it means making compromises before legislation is even introduced, so as to seem “reasonable.”

My problem with “reasonableness” stems from the fact that it stands in direct opposition to the way that politics actually works.

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After Universal Health Coverage

In Health Care Reform, Inequality, Politics of Policy, Poverty, Public Policy, Social Democracy, Social Policy, Welfare State on September 12, 2009 at 11:17 am

labour poster 1945 2

Introduction:

The sad truth of the American health care debate is that all we get to do, all we get to talk about, all we fight over is how to pay for things. We don’t actually talk about health care itself very much. Given the intensity of the current debate, the sheer amount of mental and physical and emotional energy that is required to keep pushing through every challenge and setback, this is understandable.

However, it is crucially important to think about what comes after universal health care. Because, as any European who’s engaged in politics will tell you, the politics of health care do not end at the mere provision of access – there is an entire politics that emerges afterwards, a politics about quality of care, about comprehensiveness of services, about the actual impact of health care on our health.

And we have to get ready for that politics.

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The Problem With Ending Employer-Based Health Care

In Economic Planning, Economics, Health Care Reform, History and Politics, Inequality, Living Wage, New Deal, Politics, Politics of Policy, Regulation, Social Democracy, Unions on September 7, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Introduction:

One of the difficulties of being a progressive is that you belong to a diverse coalition, the parts of which don’t always understand each other perfectly. An example of this is the public argument between middle-class activist/blogger/policy types like Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias, who want to fund universal health care by capping the tax exemption for employer-based health care, and unions, who don’t want their health care plans taxed. In the eyes of Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias, the unions appear as selfish special interests sabotaging a political project they support; in the eyes of the unions, Klein and Yglesias no doubt appear to be oblivious well-off college kids who blithely recommend that others should make sacrifices for the greater good.

In the interests of preserving solidarity, I’m going to make two points: one, employer-based health care should end. Two, unions have a bona fide reason why they don’t want employer-based health care to end yet. If we’re going to thread this needle, progressives need to understand how the nexus of health care and employment have created this tangle.

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