Posts tagged with 'Adam Serwer'

Weekly Pulse: White House Takes Offensive Against Health Care Repeal

Posted Jan 19, 2011 @ 12:03 pm by
Filed under: Health Care     Bookmark and Share

Creative Commons, Flicker, anolobbBy Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

This week, House Republicans will hold a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The bill is expected to pass the House, where the GOP holds a majority, but stall in the Democratic-controlled Senate. In the meantime, the symbolic vote is giving both Republicans and Democrats a pretext to publicly rehash their views on the legislation.

At AlterNet, Faiz Shakir and colleagues point out that repealing health care reform would cost the federal government an additional $320 billion over the next decade, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. The authors also note that despite Republican campaign promises to “repeal and replace” the law, their bill contains no replacement plan. Health care reform protects Americans with preexisting conditions from some forms discrimination by insurers. At least half of all Americans under the age of 65 could be construed as having a preexisting condition. No wonder only 1 in 4 Americans support repeal, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released on Monday.

Perhaps that explains, as Paul Waldman reports at TAPPED, why the White House is vigorously defending health care reform. The Obama administration is making full use of the aforementioned statistics from The Department Health and Human Services on the percentage of Americans who have preexisting conditions:

As the House prepares to vote on the “Repeal the Puppy-Strangling Job-Vivisecting O-Commie-Care Act,” or whatever they’re now calling it, the White House and its allies actually seem to have their act together when it comes to fighting this war for public opinion. The latest is an analysis from the Department of Health and Human Services on just how many people have pre-existing conditions, and thus will be protected from denials of health insurance when the Affordable Care Act goes fully into effect in 2014

Republicans are fuming that Democrats are “politicizing” a policy debate by bringing up the uncomfortable fact that, if the GOP’s repeal plan became law, millions of people could lose their health insurance. As Waldman points out, the high incidence of preexisting conditions is an argument for a universal mandate. It’s impossible to insure people with known health problems at an affordable cost unless they share the risk with healthier policy-holders. Hence the need for a mandate.

Anti-choice at the end of life

In The Nation, Ann Neumann explains how anti-choice leaders fought to re-eliminate free end-of-life counseling for seniors under Medicare. The provision was taken out of the health care reform bill but briefly reinstated by Department of Health and Social Services before being rescinded again by HHS amid false allegations by anti-choice groups, including The Family Research Council, that the government was promulgating euthanasia for the elderly.

As seen on TV

The Kansas-based anti-choice group Operation Rescue is lashing out at the Iowa Board of Medicine for dismissing their complaint against Dr. Linda Haskell, Lynda Waddington reports in The Iowa Independent. Dr. Haskell attracted the ire of anti-choicers for using telemedicine to help doctors provide abortion care. The board investigated Operation Rescue’s allegations, which it cannot discuss or even acknowledge, but found no basis for sanctions against Haskell. Iowa medical authorities said they were still deliberating about the rules for telemedicine in general.

Salon retracts RFK vaccine story

Online news magazine has retracted a 2005 article by Robert Kennedy, Jr. alleging a link between childhood vaccines and autism, Kristina Chew reports at Care2. The article leaned heavily on now discredited research by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. His research had been discredited for some time, but only recently did an investigative journalist reveal that Wakefield skewed his data as part of an elaborate scam to profit from a lawsuit against vaccine makers.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

Weekly Pulse: Reconciliation and Discrimination on the Healthcare Front

Posted Apr 8, 2009 @ 11:33 am by
Filed under: Health Care     Bookmark and Share

Last Thursday, the House and Senate passed budgets for fiscal year 2010. The House version includes critical language that could open the door for healthcare reform in 2009–and not a moment too soon. Unemployment is skyrocketing, increasing numbers of Americans are going without health insurance, and Democrats are looking to pass a healthcare reform bill fast.

In the American Prospect, Ezra Klein explains three ways that budget reconciliation could be used to fast-track healthcare reform by bypassing a filibuster, allowing reform to pass with a simple majority vote. The three options are: regular reconciliation, delayed-onset, and do-over. Klein thinks there’s a real chance that the delayed-onset or do-over reconciliation options could work. Delayed-onset reconciliation would kick in only if the Democrats and the Republicans haven’t passed a healthcare bill by a certain date. Do-over reconciliation would be based on a gentleman’s agreement between the chairs of the House and the Senate budget committees to pass budget amendments if the two parties can’t agree on a healthcare reform package within a certain amount of time.

Evidence continues to mount that minorities are especially burdened by our dysfunctional healthcare system. Public News Service reports that lack of health insurance is becoming an epidemic in Michigan, that 28% of Ohioans under the age of 65 were uninsured between 2007 and 2008, and that minorities are still aren’t getting fair access in Massachusetts, despite attempts at reform. New America Media points to yet another alarming study from the University of Chicago on race and health disparities in Illinois:

More than half the whites in Illinois consider themselves in excellent health, compared with 42.9% of African Americans and only 28.4% of Latinos. Meanwhile, 84.7% of whites have a primary health provider, compared with 77.3% of African Americans and 62.9% of Latinos, and the percentages are almost the same when it comes to access to health insurance, reports La Raza.

In other news, personal responsibility takes a back seat to the war on drugs in Virginia. At, Miriam Perez discusses the case of a Virginia teenager who was suspended from school because she was seen taking her birth control pill during lunch hour. Never mind that her doctor had prescribed it and her mother already knew all about it.

It’s disappointing news on the 55th anniversary of the birth control pill. I guess they missed the memo about the benefits of preventative reproductive healthcare. If you need more proof that prevention pays, check out the latest study, covered in RH Reality Check by Emilie Ailts.

James Ridgeway of Mother Jones asks whether Obama’s FDA will be a watchdog or a lapdog when it comes to regulating Big Pharma. Under Bush the FDA became little more than a marketing arm of the drug and medical device industry. Ridgeway wonders whether the regulator agency will regain its authority and dignity in the new administration.

Finally, some news from the intersection of healthcare and human rights. Adam Serwer of TAPPED and Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly react to the news that doctors oversaw the torture of prisoners at CIA black sites. “Torture isn’t acceptable, no matter who’s inflicting the pain or coming up with legal rationalizations for it. But there’s something uniquely offensive about medical professionals who were directly involved with the torture of detainees at CIA secret prisons,” Benen writes.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care. Visit for a complete list of articles on healthcare affordability, healthcare laws, and healthcare controversy. And for the best progressive reporting on the ECONOMY, and IMMIGRATION, check out, and

This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.