Suzy Khimm

Suzy Khimm is a writer based in Washington, D.C.

Recent Articles

The Immigration Dustup Ahead.

The House may be closer to settling the immigration issues in the health-care bill this week, but the issue is sure to rear its head again further down the road in the legislative process. In the manager’s amendment to the bill released Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed that the House would not adopt the stricter measures included in the Senate Finance Committee’s bill to bar illegal immigrants from purchasing insurance in the federal health exchanges. With Pelosi's amendment now included, both the House and Senate bills follow the Social Security Act’s verification process to allow only immigrants who can provide a valid name and Social Security number to receive government subsidies to buy insurance on the exchanges. However, the House bill does not prohibit illegal immigrants from using their own money to purchase private insurance in the exchanges or the public plan, while the Senate bans this practice. Groups advocating for a crackdown on illegal immigrants had been...

Why Dems Should Worry: Connecticut Edition.

Over at Newsweek , Ben Adler describes how the Republican upsets in New York City's suburbs are “an actual bad sign for the Democrats.” I’d actually look a bit farther east to include the results in Connecticut as another reason for concern. Republicans ousted Democrats in municipal elections throughout the state, picking up seats in Stratford, Trumbull, Monroe, Darien, Guilford and other towns throughout southwestern and central Connecticut. In Stamford -- the state’s financial hub -- Michael Pavia trounced his Democratic opponent to become the city’s first Republican mayor in 14 years. “With the economy so bad, people are looking for change,” Nancy DiNardo , the state’s Democratic Party chair, told the AP, linking the results to a broader, national repudiation of incumbents. Even so, the results don’t bode well for politically embattled Sen. Chris Dodd , who still trails leading Republican challenger Rob Simmons by over six points. Less than two weeks ago, Obama himself traveled up...

Potential Abortion Compromise Gets Closer Look.

House leadership is still struggling to find a compromise on abortion provisions that could threaten to derail the health-care bill, which they are trying to bring to a vote as early as this weekend. Yesterday, Indiana Rep. Brad Ellsworth , an anti-abortion Democrat, put out his own amendment to try to break the legislative deadlock . While Ellsworth has many of the same concerns as Bart Stupak , the Michigan representative who has threatened to hold up the bill with at least 39 others for not going far enough to prohibit federal funding of abortions. So what is Ellsworth asking for? Here’s the gist of his proposal (abridged for length): Explicitly prevents all federal tax dollars from being used to provide abortions in the public option; Prohibits any funds from the U.S. Treasury from paying for abortion services in any of the plans purchased through the proposed Health Insurance Exchange; Establishes clear, strict rules for separating public funds from the premiums of private...

Could Ending CHIP Be Good for Health Reform?

Medicare and Medicaid aren't the only public insurance programs that could undergo a major overhaul under the current health-care reform bill. Over at The Washington Independent , Mike Lillis explains how the House bill proposes to eliminate CHIP -- the state children's health-insurance program that has enjoyed broad-based support from Democrats -- and move the low-income children covered by the government program into the health-insurance exchanges by 2013. The goal in doing so, Lillis says , is "to get family members under the same plan, to centralize control of the state-run CHIP program, and to shift more folks into private coverage to win the support of both the insurance lobby and moderate Democrats." Opponents of the move point to independent findings that the cost of insurance for children covered by CHIP could rise if they entered the exchange and that they could lose many of the protections they currently have under the public program, which covers children from low-income...

The Lobbying Underground.

Are lobbyists really fleeing Obama ’s Washington? Yesterday, the Center for Responsive Politics and OMB Watch jointly released a study revealing that some 1,400 lobbyists de-registered between April and June this year -- about 8 percent of the total number of registered lobbyists. Normally, only a few hundred lobbyists leave every quarter, but the exodus happened soon after Obama issued an executive order that imposed new rules on lobbying, restricting lobbyists' ability to serve in the administration and to have direct access to officials handling TARP and the stimulus package. The departures of registered lobbyists now outpace the number of new registrations each year, and the trend is only accelerating. Some have interpreted the news as a sign that the Obama administration has effectively fulfilled its pledge to crack down on lobbying. “It’s been a rough few years for lobbyists,” Brody Mullins proclaimed in The Wall Street Journal , adding that K Street has also borne the brunt of...

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