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Christina Bellantoni reports in TPMDC:

When President Obama likes a magazine article, White House staffers had better read it.

Obama’s must-read is Ron Brownstein’s Saturday blog post "A Milestone in the Health Care Journey" at the Atlantic’s political Web site.

Politico noted today that Obama found the article, which lauds Max Baucus’ approach to health care, a good summary of the cost controls in the health care bill.

An administration official tells TPMDC that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel assigned the article as homework during a recent meeting.

According to the official, Emanuel told senior staffers "not to come back to the next day’s meeting if they hadn’t read the article."

Brownstein’s blog post begins:

When I reached Jonathan Gruber on Thursday, he was working his way, page by laborious page, through the mammoth health care bill Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had unveiled just a few hours earlier. Gruber is a leading health economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is consulted by politicians in both parties. He was one of almost two dozen top economists who sent President Obama a letter earlier this month insisting that reform won’t succeed unless it "bends the curve" in the long-term growth of health care costs. And, on that front, Gruber likes what he sees in the Reid proposal. Actually he likes it a lot.

"I’m sort of a known skeptic on this stuff," Gruber told me. "My summary is it’s really hard to figure out how to bend the cost curve, but I can’t think of a thing to try that they didn’t try. They really make the best effort anyone has ever made. Everything is in here….I can’t think of anything I’d do that they are not doing in the bill. You couldn’t have done better than they are doing."

Gruber may be especially effusive. But the Senate blueprint, which faces its first votes tonight, also is winning praise from other leading health reformers like Mark McClellan, the former director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services under George W. Bush and Len Nichols, health policy director at the centrist New America Foundation. "The bottom line," Nichols says, "is the legislation is sending a signal that business as usual [in the medical system] is going to end."

Both the Senate bill’s priority on controlling long-term health care costs, and its strategy for doing so, represents a validation for Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT)…

Continue reading. I was particularly interested in the post since I’ve been especially critical of Baucus.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 November 2009 at 10:05 am

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