Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He served as an associate director at the White House Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004.
Once upon a time, President Barack Obama and many others who championed his health care plan actually professed faith in the power of a functioning health care marketplace. That now seems like a distant memory.
Last week, the president said the country has serious issues to address. He’s right. One of the biggest is the budget challenge. Unfortunately, the president’s carefully orchestrated attack on the Ryan plan has made it much less likely that real progress will be made before 2013 to address the problem.
Having spent so much political capital on the health law's passage, one might expect it to feature prominently in the president's planned reelection campaign. But it will likely turn out to be the law's opponents who are more likely to talk about it.
The president chose to submit a profoundly unserious budget. There’s no entitlement reform to close the long-term fiscal gap. There’s no tax reform. There are some minor cuts to marginal programs for show. But, overall, it’s very much a business-as-usual budget, with a few new and expensive long-term commitments thrown in for good measure. It’s like the president and his team woke up after the mid-term election with a bad case of political amnesia.
It is essential that political leaders come together in a bipartisan fashion to put our government's finances on more stable footing. But that won't be done if the nation's approach to health care is supported by only one of the two major political parties.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R- Wis., took the courageous step of going first with a bold plan -- his Roadmap -- to fundamentally restructure the tax and entitlement policies that threaten to push the federal budget past the breaking point. Now others, even some from the other side of the aisle, are joining him in sponsoring similar plans.
It is no doubt useful politically for the administration to set up the private health insurance industry as its foil in this struggle. Many Americans have low regard for insurance companies. But this is largely a diversionary tactic on the part of [HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius].
Critics say Medicare Advantage plans are inefficient and costly. But those same critics oppose vouchers for Medicare -- even though that approach would set up a direct competition between the private plans and the traditional fee-for-service program.
The Congressional Budget Office's latest projections again make it clear that the nation is rushing headlong toward a fiscal crisis, and the health law does nothing to head it off.
Despite the relentless sales pitch, there was always a lot of skepticism among voters that such a government-heavy plan would leave them alone and be cost-free. Now, of course, their skepticism is being validated.