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Health Care Update, 7/6/09 July 6, 2009

Posted by Afflatus in Healthcare, Politics.
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The latest news from Heath Care for America Now:

A health care House tri-committee bill will pass by the end of the month. They are asking the progressive community to keep producing positive stories on a public health care plan since the Senate version may not/is not likely to pass before the Summer Recess on August 1st. And Republicans will most likely come out strongly against a public plan during August. After the House passes their bill, the August recession will be spent arguing over the specifics of the bill. “Moderate” or “Centrist” Democrats will be the target whom both sides will be trying to influence. Read more about this here.

The Senate HELP committee has produced a pretty solid bill. Though, not quite as good as the House tri-committee bill, but it does have a public option. Details of that bill can be found in Krugman’s article today http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/06/opinion/06krugman.html

Once the two legislative bodies pass their respective bills, a joint Conference Committee is formed to reconcile the two bills. The Conference committee produces a new bill which is then approved or disapproved of by each legislative body. Then the President must sign it. Obama has demanded the Conference committee’s bill on his desk by Oct. 15, a demand which is looking increasingly difficult to achieve.

A solid health care bill passed behind schedule is way superior than rushing a bad one into law.

Rights Versus Rites June 28, 2009

Posted by Afflatus in World Affairs.
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Female genital mutilation is a topic that is discussed too little. To some the practice is a human rights violation, to others it’s their culture’s core ritual. Doctors have clearly documented the negative health effects seen in the women that undergo genital mutilation. Michelle Goldberg does a fantastic job portraying the issue and analyzing the tricky policy situation. The article especially hit home as she uses a senior at GW, Ahmadu, as an example of a woman who willingly returned home to undergo the custom of her ancestral village. It’s a great article that’s definitely worth a read!

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Rights Versus Rites

Michelle Goldberg

On Feb. 6, 2007, two women, both of whom had been circumcised in Africa, met in the conference room of a small foundation on Fifth Avenue in New York City for a highly unusual debate. It was the fourth annual International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation, an occasion for events across the globe dedicated to abolishing the practice. The gathering drew about 30 women, half of them African immigrants from countries including Senegal, Sudan, and Kenya, where female circumcision is common. Several of them were shocked to realize that, despite the name of the event, this wasn’t so much a discussion about how female circumcision can be eradicated as about whether it should be.

The custom of cutting off all or part of girls’ external genitalia — deeply ingrained in large swaths of Africa and parts of Asia and the Middle East — obviously has its defenders, as evidenced by how tenaciously it has endured in the face of a global campaign to eliminate it. Indeed, as the anthropologist Richard Shweder argues in a much discussed 2003 paper, “It is a noteworthy fact that in at least seven African nations 80-90 percent of the popular vote would probably vote against any policy or law that criminalizes the practice of genital modification for either boys or girls.” Yet apologists for female genital mutilation (FGM) don’t interact much with the global women’s movement, which is generally no more inclined to debate the merits of the practice than it is to ponder the upside of rape or wife beating.

That’s what made the New York event so unique, and so charged. At first glance, the two speakers seemed to symbolize the dichotomy between modernity and tradition, cosmopolitanism and cultural authenticity.  (more…)

Health Care: Clear and Concise June 17, 2009

Posted by Afflatus in Healthcare.
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This is a great, simple article by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post. He explains the basics of the debate over the comprehensive health care legislation that is currently in progress.

Personally, I strongly support a strong public plan. Let’s pass it NOW

Health Care Reform for Beginners: The Many Flavors of the Public Plan

For most of you, this is the big one. The inclusion of a strong public insurance option has become, for most observers I know, the single most recognizable marker for victory. If the public plan exists, liberals have won. If it’s eliminated, or neutered, then conservatives have triumphed.

The public plan has a very particular political lineage: The lesson liberals took from the 1994 health reform fight was that you couldn’t threaten the insurance coverage individuals already had. For many policy wonks, the central problem in health care was the existence of private insurance coverage. For most Americans, however, the central problem was that they could lose their private insurance coverage, and be left with something they didn’t like, or nothing at all. This effectively ruled out something like single-payer, or even Bill Clinton’s managed-care-within-managed-competition model. It ruled out anything that began by changing the health care coverage of those who wanted to keep their current policies. (more…)

Video’s from America’s Future Now Conference June 16, 2009

Posted by Afflatus in Politics.
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Finally I have tracked down the elusive videos from the conference I attended two weeks ago.

Here are the videos. Most are short (less than 10-15 minutes).

Be sure to check out # 23 William McNary’s energetic and inspring speech on Healthcare.

#22 is a great speech by a young and extremely bright doctor. She gives interesting insight to the healthcare problem from a doctors point of view.

#14, the Closing Plenary Brunch features Naomi Klein and the presentation of the Maria Leavey Tribute Award.

#13 is an excellent speech by Senator Sherrod Brown, worth checking out.

#11 was a fantastic panel discussion on Immigration reform. Some interesting questions and answers follow at the end.

And #1, Jared Bernstein, is definitely worth watching considering his current employer.

Many of the others are good, but not as good. Others I didnt get to see, but I assume they are equally interesting.