Greg Kaufmann is a journalist-in-residence at the Roosevelt Institute and a contributing writer for The Nation. Previously, he was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the founder and editor of TalkPoverty.org. He has appeared on numerous national and local programs on networks including PBS, MSNBC, and NPR, and his work has been featured on CBS News, The Washington Post, and Business Insider, among others.
If you weren't convinced before that Ben Bernanke should be replaced as Chairman of the Federal Reserve you might be now. Wall Street's Humble Servant--Secretary Timothy Geithner--has warned that if Bernanke is replaced, "I think the markets would view that as a very troubling thing to the economy as a whole."
Taken at face value, Senator John Ensign's amendment which was included in the final Senate healthcare bill sounds pretty decent: by meeting "wellness" standards people can receive discounts on their employer-based healthcare premiums. Stop smoking--pay less. Hit a certain weight--pay less. Meet a cholesterol target--you get the idea.
Dems probably should have stopped and realized since the amendment was offered by Ensign it probably wasn't motivated by "wellness" at heart.
In fact, it allows premiums to be raised from current levels, and then "discounts" would reduce the premiums to current rates. People who don't meet the insurance companies' targets could pay up to 30 percent more for coverage, roughly $4000 based on the average cost of family coverage. The amount could increase to 50 percent which is over $6,600 for a family.
The Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus in Congress with 82 members--it dwarfs the often-hyped Blue Dog Democrats with its 52 yapping pups.
Yet the CPC has struggled to get the respect and attention it has strived for--prior to this Congress, it seemed like the mainstream media wouldn't even refer to it by name, instead using vague descriptions like "the liberal wing of the party."
That's because getting the talented but diverse Caucus to unite and show its legislative muscle has often been described--even by its own members--as herding cats.