Today's top headlines: The spill in the Gulf of Mexico could be the most expensive ever, the Governator embraces health care reform, Shanghai set to open the doors on its World Expo, and Warren Buffet gets ready to talk Goldman Sachs.
Word is that Harry Reid is likely to file cloture on financial regulation today, setting up a final vote as early as Wednesday. But no one is celebrating yet: There are still amendments left to be voted on, including a restoration of Glass-Steagall and the Volcker Rule. And what's going to happen in Conference Committee? Meanwhile, the opposition hasn't found its voice against Elena Kagan, but nor, it seems, have her supporters. The oil spill is still a disaster, but for the first time, we're making some headway against it.
Once Obamacare is implemented, America's health insurance system will be a thicket of subsidies and transfers that benefit some people and harm others. Critics of the law have seized on this observation, noting the existence of "rate shock": some people (especially young and healthy ones with moderate and high incomes who buy insurance in the individual market) will pay more than they used to, so others can pay less.
Commentary on the Congressional Budget Office report showing that a given health-care insurance policy will become cheaper under reform has gotten a bit confused. Fox News, for instance, summarized the report as saying, ‘CBO: HC Overhaul Likely Won’t Bring Private Premiums Down.’ Let's assume good faith here, as this stuff is confusing.
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. — Canada’s provincial and territorial leaders say they can’t afford to wait for guidance from Ottawa on key issues such as health care and infrastructure.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is chairing the Council of the Federation summit in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., says the federal government should be at the table with them to talk about these matters face-to-face.
Instead, she says the two levels of government are forced to go back and forth on issues of national importance.
Dean Baker submits: At a time when all the tough guys in Washington are making plans to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for high-living seniors and to cut Head Start for low-income kids, it was generous of Warren Buffett to point out that we taxpayers gave over $1 billion to Goldman Sachs (GS) through TARP.
I've been a bit annoyed by the convention of referring to the health-care bill's 10-year cost rather than its annual cost. We don't talk about very much in terms of 10-year costs, and so people don't have much context for it. So I asked crack intern Dylan Matthews to build a crude comparison of what various government programs are projected to cost in 2015 (chosen because health-care reform doesn't kick off until 2014, and I wanted to give it a year to get up and running). Projections are always iffy, but this is just to get an idea of the relative size of different programs.
"The very fact that we’re all so worried about the CBO highlights the craziness of allowing one office to hold health care reform hostage," write the Wonk Room's Igor Volsky. "Why exactly are [reformers] jumping through hoops to satisfy the CBO?"