Five Best Tuesday Columns

Jonathan Chait on Obamacare hyperventilation, Greg Sargent on why Democrats should stick with Obamacare, Maria Konnikova explains why a candidate's face is important, Alec MacGillis on what to do about heroin addiction, and Andrew Ross Sorkin on Tim Geithner's new job. 

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Jonathan Chait at New York on Obamacare hyperventilation. "It is always possible that the most recent Obamacare trend line will continue ad infinitum. More likely, things will round back into normalcy," Chait writes. Obamacare is already working better than you think, Chait argues — "The hated Obamacare central-planning bureaucrats tried to predict the cost of insurance plans under the new exchanges, and they turned out to have erred on the side of pessimism." So, don't worry: "At some point, having state exchanges where people buy private insurance, with rules preventing abusive practices, will simply be part of the backdrop of health insurance." The Washington Post's Ezra Klein notes this line: "The most common fallacy of journalism ... is that whatever is happening at the moment will continue to happen forever." Longtime labor researcher Richard Yeselson tweets, "If I had to bet on one post written about O'care today looking prescient in a year? This one from ."

Greg Sargent at The Washington Post on why Democrats should stick with Obamacare. At base, "majorities disapprove of Obamacare, but disapproval does not translate into majority support for scrapping or eliminating it entirely — particularly among core Dem constituencies," Sargent argues. If Congressional Democrats give up defending the law, that's "telling voters to give up on the Democratic Party." If they stick with it, "the end result could be massively expanded coverage by the time Obama leaves office." Justin Green, the online editor at The Washington Examiner, tweets, "I'll dig in, but that same thing is why GOP won't abandon it. Our core groups still hate it."

Maria Konnikova at The New Yorker explains why a candidate's face is important.  "Except for those people who have hard-core political beliefs, the reasons we vote for particular candidates could have less to do with politics and more to do with basic cognitive processes — in particular, perception," Konnikova writes. She cites the Princeton psychologist Alexander Todorov, who found that that "a thin-slice judgment retains its predictive validity, and it emerges as the single strongest predictor of victory beyond external factors such as broad economic data, like the unemployment rate; personal data, like age or gender; or any other single political measure, like whether someone is an incumbent or how much has been spent on the campaign." Alexandra Jaffe, a campaign reporter for The Hill, tweets, "Looks matter in politics."

Alec MacGillis at The New Republic on what to do about heroin addiction. Painkiller abuse has been "wreaking havoc in Appalachia and many other parts of the country ... and leading to a rise in heroin usage (doubling over the decade to more than 450,000 users) as authorities try to restrict access to prescription pills," MacGillis explains. What struggling addicts need is buprenorphine, a "maintenance therapy" drug for opiate addicts that is harder to get high off of than methadone. It can also be taken at home. But "bupe has gotten stuck with its own stigma — not as strong as methadone's, but damaging nonetheless." MacGillis warns, "It would be deeply unfortunate if fraught portrayals in the media with decidedly oversimplified, alarmist headlines had the side effect of dulling one of the best tools we have in this fight." Baltimore Sun report Scott Calvert tweets, " weighs in on important issue in B'more: critical news coverage of 'best weapon against heroin.'"

Andrew Ross Sorkin at Dealbook on Tim Geithner's new job. "Within 24 hours of Timothy F. Geithner’s announcement on Saturday that he would join Warburg Pincus, the private equity firm, a parade of naysayers emerged ..." Sorkin writes. But "the idea that he’s selling out to the world he regulated doesn’t quite fit." Sorkin explains that Warburg Pincus isn't like the big banks that Geithner regulated as Treasury Secretary. "I suspect that the real reason Mr. Geithner’s move infuriated some people is that they were disappointed he didn’t do something they consider more high-minded." Marcus Baram, the managing editor at International Business Times, tweets, "Andrew Ross Sorkin is hard at work proving Tim Geithner isn't a sellout."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.