February 3, 2014 |
Maybe reforming federal farm subsidies is a task fit for Sisyphus. Every five years or so, when the farm programs come up for reauthorization, fiscal conservatives and good-government types try to make the subsidies look less like corporate welfare and more like an industrial policy designed to preserve the food supply. The former hands out money to agribusinesses regardless of their size or need for help; the latter focuses aid on farmers whose resources are too thin to buffer them from the vicissitudes of weather and crop yields.
December 23, 2013 |
After months of technical glitches and political tumult, a burst of last-minute insurance shoppers illustrated the growing appetite for Obamacare and the enormous challenges ahead in making the massive healthcare expansion work. On Monday, the crush of consumers prompted the Obama administration to put thousands of applicants on hold and push back another key enrollment deadline to Tuesday. This unexpected move came despite weeks of computer fixes aimed at improving the troubled HealthCare.gov website.
December 19, 2013 |
With Republicans hoping to make next year's election another referendum on the 2010 healthcare law (better known as Obamacare), the White House issued a report Thursday aimed at those calling for the law to be overturned. "Repeal Would Raise Costs, Strip Protections from Families Across America," the report declares. As usual, though, the administration left out one no-trivial part of the equation: how much those benefits are costing the public. The Times' editorial board has steadfastly supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, warts and all, because it makes a credible effort to make a more sustainable healthcare system.
November 19, 2013 |
"We didn't do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law," an apologetic President Obama said this month, shortly after millions of Americans got notices from their health insurance companies that their current policies were going to be canceled because the policies didn't comply with the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act. Worse, the federal website where people were supposed to be able to buy replacement coverage was still barely...
October 21, 2013 |
Think you can keep a medical condition secret from life insurers by paying cash for prescription meds? Think again. A for-profit service called ScriptCheck exists to rat you out regardless of how diligent you are in trying to keep a sensitive matter under wraps. ScriptCheck, offered by ExamOne, a subsidiary of Quest Diagnostics, is yet another example of data mining - using sophisticated programs to scour databases in search of people's personal information and then selling that info to interested parties.
October 16, 2013
Washington's latest fiscal crisis appeared to be coming to an end Tuesday morning as leaders of the two parties in the Senate neared agreement on a plan to reopen the government and lift the debt limit until early next year. But then House Republicans -- who triggered the crisis in the first place by trying to defund or delay the 2010 healthcare law -- decided to prolong the fight. As a result, lawmakers may not raise the federal debt limit in time to pay all of Washington's bills. Investors, who had already been dumping short-term Treasury bonds, started selling off stocks too in an early sign of the panic that could come if House GOP leaders keep indulging the least responsible members of their caucus.