- As good a summary as any:
President Barack Obama sought on Thursday to persuade Republicans to support overhaul of the U.S. healthcare industry, his signature domestic policy goal, as the measures moved on a fast track through congressional committees with only Democratic support.
A handful of Democrats on one of the three House of Representatives committees trying to speed the legislation said they also could not back the Democratic bill, but this was not seen as a major obstacle to its passage before both the House and Senate recess in the next two to three weeks.
- And look who is supporting reform these days:
The influential American Medical Association on Thursday said it supported the healthcare overhaul legislation moving through committees in the Democratic-led House of Representatives and urged its approval.
Presidents, in the end, tend to get what they want. Big Mo, anyone? Pass bills, go hear it from folks back home in August, and let's see what September brings. But never underestimate the millions lobbyists are freely spending to oppose real reform.
- Maggie Maher:
Sometimes a picture is worth a million words. This graph, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities tells you why it makes sense to tax the very rich to fund reform.
- The Senate misses Ted Kennedy.
"He would lend a gravitas to the issue that we’re kind of missing right now," said Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
- Harvard School of Public Health:
Americans expect swine flu to return in the fall, particularly if they are parents, a Harvard survey shows.
A little over half of Americans think it is likely that the flu known as H1N1 will be widespread in the coming flu season, with almost two thirds of parents saying so, according to a national poll conducted four weeks ago and released today by the Harvard School of Public Health.
Most of the parents said school closings to slow the spread of swine flu, a common practice in the hard-hit Northeast, would cause hardship. Half said someone in their household would have to miss work if schools or day-care centers shut in the fall or winter. A little more than 4 in 10 said they would lose pay or income if they had to stay home to care for their children. Of these parents, a quarter feared they would lose their jobs, with higher proportions of African-Americans and Hispanic parents reporting this concern.
- Want to catch up on swine flu? The historian John Barry (author of The Great Influenza) has written a white paper summarizing it all.
The question of whether school closing is worthwhile remains open. Models suggest that it is, but for closing to be most effective it must be sustained for at least several weeks and children cannot congregate in other venues. Both of these requirements are problematic, and the press has reported on the difficulties of keeping children away from each other during closures. It is unclear how much these problems undermine whatever benefits may accrue from closure.
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