Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ Category

The president’s new budget proposal follows the classic conservative formula of increasing subsidies to the military-industrial complex (by allocating billions of dollars towards the war effort) while slashing domestic programs aimed at aiding middle and lower class Americans.

The president’s budget, much unlike his rhetoric, is the best indicator of administration beliefs and priorities. To that end, this budget didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know– welfare for the rich, ‘tough love’ and ‘responsibility’ for everybody else.

From ThinkProgress:

On Jan. 31, President Bush headed to Wall Street and acknowledged for the first time that income inequality exists in America: “The fact is that income inequality is real. It has been rising for more than 25 years.”

But apparently, he’s not quite ready to do anything about it. Bush’s 2008 budget cuts crucial aid for America’s middle class:

– “$77 billion in funding cuts for Medicare and Medicaid over the next five years, and $280 billion over the next 10.”

$223 million in funding cuts (4 percent decrease from this year’s levels) to the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

– “$4.9 billion, or 8 percent, cut in education, training, employment and social services” grants.

$100 million cut for Head Start, which provides child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families.

– “$2.4 billion cut in community and regional development grants — which often provide funding for low- and middle-income communities — to $16.5 billion from $18.9 billion.

$400 million — 18 percent — cut in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, “which provides $2.2 billion to help people pay heating bills this year.”

$172 million — nearly 25 percent — cut in funding for housing for low-income seniors.

While Bush forgot about the middle class in the new budget, he made sure to look out for the wealthy. As the Tax Policy Center notes, “People with incomes of more than $1 million would get tax cuts averaging $162,000 a year (in 2012 dollars) in perpetuity.”

— Igor Volsky

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The House voted to “lift limits on embryonic stem cell research.” Two different bills were passed. The more controversial measure “would lift Bush’s 2001 ban on federal funding for new research using stem cells from embryos that had not been destroyed before August 2001.”

William Saletan of Slate provides the appropriate background: “Four years ago, Bush restricted federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research (or ESCR) to cell lines derived before Aug. 9, 2001. Last year, 58 senators and nearly half the House signed letters asking him to relax that restriction. For at least three years, most senators have supported legislation that would approve human therapeutic cloning. Last year, more than 200 members of the House co-sponsored legislation to expand ESCR funding.”

And who would have thought—the politicians are hypocritical! Consider the following: “None of these bills ever got an up-or-down vote. Why? Because the same Republicans who now preach about up-or-down votes bottled them up or threatened to filibuster them…”the House leadership prevented it [the House bill] from getting hearings or a vote.” In February, its sponsor, Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., reintroduced it, but the leadership was still keeping it off the floor.”

If ESCR proponents can’t garner the 60 votes to break a filibuster, tonight’s bill will sink faster than even Sen. Frist’s faltering presidential ambitions. The Congressional Republican leadership and the President support the Smith-Davis Bill. That bill would “provide $79 million to increase stem cell research using umbilical cord blood and establish a national database for patients looking for matches. It also would clear the way for studies on stem cells derived from adults.”

The President has promised to veto the embryo-bill, should it be passed by Congress. He is like the emperor with no clothing—vetoing life saving measures in the name of saving life. So much for logic and consistency and you can just forget those Republican claims of sometimes having to burn down a village in order to save it (case in point Iraq). When it comes to placating the average fundamentalist voter, considerations of consistency are continently abandoned. (Politics! Go figure…)

We’re often lectured on extremism by the right. ‘Why should a few radical left wing judges decided the cultural norms of society?’– Don’t expect Republicans to apply these standards to their leadership.

The latest CBS News poll, conducted from May 20-23, reveals that “58% of Americans approve of medical research using embryonic stem cells, while 31% disapprove…37% think the number of stem cell lines covered by government funds should be extended; 17% think the current level is sufficient.”

Religious ideology has trumphed public health (again) and the principal of separation of church and state has been obliterated. I only wish that politicians would apply even a third of the energy they spend on ESCR debates and dealings to more immediate health care concerns (lack of health insurance). Imagine the possibilities…

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The Bush administration has spent $1 billion over the past 5 years on abstinence-only education.

These programs are required (if they want to remain eligible for federal funding) to teach students that condoms don’t work.

88% of all the 20,000 teens that has taken the abstinence pledge have broken it and 1/3 of all schools teach an abstinence only sex-ed program– they too are required to talk about the failure rate of condoms. The high-effectiveness rate is never discussed.

Because of this pledgers are 1/3 less likely to use condoms than non- pledgers. They are just as likely to be diagnosed with an STD.

None of this troubles our government. This year, we’ll spend some $167 million on spreading the failed abstinence only message. It’s a matter of ideology, not public health.

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