A glossary of words, phrases, and slogans to be uttered at the televised White House health summit.

How to fix health policy.
Feb. 26 2010 3:40 PM

Health Summit Cheat Sheet

A glossary of health reform words, phrases, and slogans.

Click here for a guide to following the health care reform story online.

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Intellectually dishonest. Hifalutin' term for "hypocritical." Seldom used by actual intellectuals, but often tossed around by politicians.


(There is no health reform jargon that begins with "J.")



Kennedy, Ted. It is literally true that "this wouldn't be happening if Ted Kennedy were still around." His death occasioned the loss of the Democrats' 60-vote filibuster-proof majority, putting health reform in peril. It was, of course, the great cause of his life, yet his name has not been invoked all that much by either side.


Lieberman, Joe. OnetimeDemocratic nominee for vice president, he is now an Independent. He killed the public option, he killed the Medicare buy-in, and he damn near killed health care reform itself. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid probably wouldn't mind killing him. He is not invited to the Blair House meeting.

Lifetime cap. Health insurers impose lifetime spending caps on policyholders. Health reform eliminates them.

Louisiana Purchase. In modern usage, a special deal on Medicaid spending for Louisiana that secured Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's vote for health reform.