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Imaginary health care horrors

There’s a lot of fuzzy math in American politics, but Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, the chairman of the House Rules Committee, recently set a new standard when he declared the cost of Obamacare “unconscionable.” If you do “simple multiplication,” he insisted, you find the coverage expansion is costing $5 million per recipient. But his calculation was a bit off — namely, by a factor of more than a thousand. The actual cost per newly insured American is about $4,000.

Iran talks should continue beyond deadline

Diplomats always have been very good at making up deadlines and then missing them. So, it should come as no surprise — and be no cause for concern — that the U.S. and other world powers trying to cut a deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program might not have a framework agreement by today, as promised.

The virtues of the smoke-filled room

WASHINGTON — The John Boehner/Nancy Pelosi agreement on Medicare doctors’ payments — permanently easing up on scheduled cuts, funded (partially) by means testing — has been praised as an incremental gain and criticized as a small backward step. In either case, it is a rare bird: the result of a March 4 meeting between leaders in a metaphorical smoke-filled room (and, given Boehner’s smoking habit, perhaps an actual one).

Grad rate hits historic high

U.S. education officials in February had some modestly good news to announce: the nation’s high school graduation rate had inched up to a historic high. This month came even more encouraging news: Those rates have improved for all types of students, as the achievement gap that separates minority students from their white peers has narrowed. This progress is not mere happenstance; it is a product of reforms that have brought rigor and accountability to American public education. We hope that reality will not be lost on Congress as it debates the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.

The end of the White House’s insularity?

WASHINGTON — In the early days of the Obama administration, my Washington Post colleague Shailagh Murray and I used to trade tales of the arrogance of White House officials more interested in their insular club and the prestige of their positions than in the responsibility they had.

Intolerance on the march

Alarmed at the prospect that the Supreme Court will sanction same-sex marriage in every state, conservative state lawmakers are intensifying efforts to provide legal cover for evangelical Christians and others who regard homosexual unions as an affront.