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Weekly Pulse: Japan’s Nuclear Crisis Deepens

4:47 pm in Uncategorized by TheMediaConsortium

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

A second reactor unit at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan may have ruptured, authorities announced on Wednesday. This is on top of their earlier revelation that the containment vessel of a separate reactor unit had cracked.

As of Tuesday, four nuclear reactors in Japan seem to be in partial meltdown in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami, according to Christian Parenti of the Nation:

One of them, reactor No. 2, seems to have ruptured. The situation is spinning out of control as radiation levels spike. The US Navy has pulled back its aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, after seventeen of its crew were exposed to radiation while flying sixty miles off the Japanese coast.

But despite three major explosions—at reactor No. 1, then No. 3, then No. 2—the Fukushima containment vessels seem to be holding. (Chernobyl lacked that precaution, having only a flimsy cement containment shell that collapsed, allowing the massive release of radioactive material.)

So, the good news is that only one out of four of the reactors is teetering on the brink of a full meltdown, and engineers might still be able to stave off disaster. The bad news, Parenti explains, is that spent fuel rods on the reactor sites could pose grave health hazards even if the threat of meltdown is averted. Even so-called “spent” rods remain highly radioactive.

The big question is whether the facilities that house this waste survived the earthquake, the tsunami, and any subsequent massive explosions at the nearby reactor. Given the magnitude of the destruction, and the relatively flimsy facilities used to house the spent rods, it seems unlikely that all the containment pools emerged unscathed. Parenti explains:

Unlike the reactors, spent fuel pools are not—repeat not—housed in any sort of hardened or sealed containment structures. Rather, the fuel rods are packed tightly together in pools of water that are often several stories above ground.

A pond at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is overheating, but radiation levels were so high that the Japanese military has postponed a helicopter mission to douse the pond with water.

Journalist and environmental activist Harvey Wasserman tells the Real News Network that the housing the spent rods (a.k.a. nuclear waste) is a chronic problem for the global nuclear industry.

Wasserman told GRITtv that the west coast of the United States has reactors that could suffer a similar fate in the event of a sufficiently large earthquake.

“If I were in Japan, I would at least get the children away from the reactor, because their bodies are growing faster and their cells are more susceptible to radiation damage. I would go out to 50 kilometers and at least get the children away from those reactors,” nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen told DemocracyNow! on Tuesday. At the time he said this, 70,000 residents had already been forced to evacuate their homes, and another 140,000 were ordered to stay indoors.

Mainstreaming anti-contraception

Kirsten Powers, Fox News’ resident self-proclaimed liberal, took to the pages of the Daily Beast recently to make the bizarre case that Planned Parenthood should be de-funded because the 100-year-old organization doesn’t really prevent the half-million abortions that it claims to prevent by supplying millions of clients with reliable birth control. (Powers was forced to concede that a gross statistical error rendered her entire piece invalid.) At RH Reality Check, Amanda Marcotte describes how Powers attempted to repackage fringe anti-contraception arguments for a mainstream audience. At TAPPED, I explain why Planned Parenthood’s abortion-prevention claim is rock solid.

Diet quackery

Unscrupulous doctors are cashing in on the latest diet fad: hormone injections derived from the urine of pregnant women, Kristina Chew notes for Care2.com. Patients pay $1,000 for consultations, a supply human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and a 500-calorie-a-day diet plan. There is no evidence that hCG increases weight loss more than a starvation diet alone. But paying $1,000 to inject yourself in the butt every day does evidently work up a hell of a placebo effect.

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: The Republicans’ War On Women

9:22 am in Uncategorized by TheMediaConsortium

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

The entire federal government might shut down over birth control. Yes, birth control. This special edition of the Pulse is about the ongoing war against women being waged in Congress and in state legislatures nationwide.

Cutting birth control

Last Friday, the House voted to amend the continuing resolution to fund the federal government to defund the $317 million Title X Family Planning Program, a major beneficiary of which is Planned Parenthood. None of this money funds abortions. Instead, it goes to birth control, cancer screenings, and other reproductive health services for 5 million low-income Americans.

This kind of preventive care is highly cost-effective. Every federal family planning dollar saves an estimated $4 tax dollars on unintended pregnancy costs alone. Saving money by de-funding contraception is like “saving money” by not paying your rent. It’s not savings if you end up staying in a hotel that costs even more.

As Nick Baumann reports for Mother Jones, Senate Democrats are confident that they can defeat the measure. However, if that happens and the House Republicans won’t pass an acceptable alternative, the federal government will run out of money and shut down until the impasse is resolved.

Julianne Hing, blogging at TAPPED, wrote of last Friday’s House vote to de-fund Planned Parenthood:

I find it difficult to summon the energy to be angered or even shocked by the news anymore. I wouldn’t describe my reaction on Friday as either of those two. It felt like something much deeper — like an attack on women and women’s access to health care. I took it personally.

The vote was just the latest assault on women’s health care by House Republicans. H.R. 3 initially proposed to redefine rape as “forcible rape.” That provision was withdrawn amid public outcry, but the bill would still effectively eliminate private health insurance coverage for abortion. H.R. 358 would give hospitals a loophole to not refer women for abortion, even if their lives are in danger.

The miscarriage mafia

Georgia state Rep. Bobbie Franklin (R) has introduced a bill that would investigate unsupervised miscarriages as potential murders, Robin Marty reports for Care2.

Here’s the relevant text of the bill, H.B.1:

When a spontaneous fetal death required to be reported by this Code section occurs without medical attendance at or immediately after the delivery or when inquiry is required by Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45, the ‘Georgia Death Investigation Act,’ the proper investigating official shall investigate the cause of fetal death and shall prepare and file the report within 30 days[.]

The bill opens with the familiar anti-choice tactic of defining a fetus as a person and declaring abortion to be murder. Even fervent anti-choicers may regard this as something of an overreach on Franklin’s part. Historically, anti-choicers have sought to pass discrete “personhood amendments” while maintaining the polite fiction that these laws have nothing to do with restricting abortion. Franklin is not a fan of the incremental approach. He is seeking to redefine a fetus as a person and abortion as murder in a single piece of legislation.

As Marty notes, one third of all pregnancies end in miscarriages. In early miscarriages, the woman may never even know she was pregnant. So, Franklin essentially wants to criminalize unauthorized vaginal bleeding in Georgia. Setting aside the basic human rights of women, as Franklin is only too happy to do, his miscarriage bill is about as practical as his bid to make Georgians pay their state taxes in gold and silver coins.

State legislatures all over the country are weighing ever more draconian restrictions on abortion. Republican lawmakers in Ohio have proposed legislation to ban abortion of any fetus with a heartbeat, Daniel Tencer of Raw Story reports. South Dakota Republicans were forced to back off a proposed law that appeared to legalize the murder of abortion providers.

Scott Walker’s anti-abortion crusade

You probably know Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the Tea Party favorite who wants to take collective bargaining rights away from the state’s public employees. You may not know that Walker is also a longtime anti-abortion crusader. Andy Kroll of Mother Jones reports that Walker, a former president of his college’s chapter of Students for Life, has a long history of campaigning against abortion, contraception, and sex ed. As a gubernatorial candidate, Walker won the endorsement of the hardline Pro-Life Wisconsin, which even opposes abortion to save the life of the woman.

As I reported in RH Reality Check, Walker’s anti-union “budget repair” bill also contains an all-out attack on a popular and successful Medicaid program to provide birth control to Wisconsinites whose incomes would qualify them for Medicaid if they became pregnant. The program saves Wisconsin an estimated $45 million a year in maternal and infant health costs alone and brings in 9 federal dollars for every on dollar spent by the state.

The Republicans swept to power with promises of limited government and fiscal conservatism. Now that they’re in office, their true agenda appears to be restricting women’s freedom at taxpayers’ expense.

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: Rotten Eggs, Drowsy Doctors, and Expensive Insurance

9:51 am in Uncategorized by TheMediaConsortium

by Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

Tainted egg shell game

The Iowa chapter of the
Sierra Club is pushing state
regulators
to investigate two factory farms and a feed mill linked to
this summer’s massive recall of salmonella-tainted eggs, Lynda Waddington
reports in the Iowa Independent. The Sierra Club sent a strongly-worded
letter to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller urging him to investigate
Wright County Egg, Hillandale Farms and the Quality Egg LLC feed mill. All
three firms were linked to the salmonella outbreak that sickened an
estimated 1200 people; and all three firms are linked to agro-baron Austin
"Jack" DeCoster.

Tom Philpott of Grist calls
href="http://bit.ly/9x87dc">DeCoster a "habitual" environmental
offender and "one of the most reviled names in industrial agriculture." In
1996, the Department of Labor fined DeCoster Eggs $3.6 million for what
the then-Secretary of Labor described as "running an agricultural
sweatshop" and "treating its employees like animals." Over the years,
DeCoster enterprises racked up additional fines in other states. A
previous Attorney General of Iowa dubbed DeCoster a habitual offender for
water pollution. In 2002, five female employees at the DeCoster’s Wright
County egg operation alleged that their supervisors had raped them and
threatened to kill them if they reported the crime. The company paid $1.5
million to settle the lawsuit.

Drowsy doctors

A coalition of public health activists is pushing the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to regulate the work hours of
doctors in training. New proposed guidelines would limit the shifts of
first-year residents to 16 hours, but more senior trainees could be forced
to work shifts up to 28 hours. The group, which includes the Committee of
Interns and Residents/SEIU Healthcare, the American Medical Student
Association, and Public Citizen, says that’s not good enough to protect
doctors or the public. As I explain in Working In These Times, research
shows that sleep deprivation is a major
preventable cause of medical errors, which is why the coalition wants to
see shifts for all residents capped at 16 hours.

Insurance
premiums soar

A new report from the Kaiser Foundation
Family shows that health insurance premiums continued to climb with
employers shifting an ever-greater share of the burden onto employees. A
family health insurance policy costs about $14,000 a year, with employees
shouldering 30% of that cost. Michelle Chen reports in ColorLines that
families that manage to hang onto their health insurance
href="http://bit.ly/atRpVO">can’t expect relief through health care
reform any time soon. The major reforms don’t go into effect until 2014
and the biggest early beneficiaries will be those who are currently
uninsured rather than those who are already paying through the nose for
lousy coverage. The ultimate goal of comprehensive health care reform is
to reshape the health care and health insurance systems to bring costs
down across the board, but that’s small consolation to workers who are
struggling to stay on top of their premiums right now.

Daily Pulse: [Audio Interview] Meet America’s Biggest Anti-Health Reform Crusader

11:10 am in Uncategorized by TheMediaConsortium

It was a roller coaster week for proponents of the public option. While the Senate Finance Committee rejected two proposed public option amendments, four of the five health bills produced by congressional committees include a public option. The next stage is to put those bills together in a process called conference, that results in a final piece of legislation that the House and the Senate will vote on. In this video clip, Marcy Wheeler tells VideoNation that progressives can continue the fight for a public option by emulating a tried and true Blue Dog strategy: Focus on building a bloc of votes, not on flipping the opposition.

This strategy is working pretty well in the House where dozens of progressive members have pledged to vote against any bill that doesn’t include a public option.

In an exclusive audio interview with Tristam Korten, whose two-part series on anti-health reform crusader Rick Scott ran in Salon this week, Korten and I discuss how Scott is personally bankrolling a multimillion dollar campaign against health care reform.

Who is this man? Scott used to run the largest hospital chain in the country, until the firm was found to have defrauded Medicare out of $2 billion. Scott was never charged, but he was sent packing in the wake of the scandal. He has since founded Solantic, a Florida chain of bare-bones walk-in clinics that profit by offering the uninsured lower rates than they’d get at the ER. Why are their rates lower? Because hospitals currently jack up the price of ER visits to compensate for the fact that so many uninsured patients don’t pay their bills at all. If we had universal health insurance, everyone would pay the same price and Solantic wouldn’t seem like such a good deal.

As Korten and I discuss in our interview, Scott has been accused of discriminating against employees who don’t meet his marketing-driven image of an attractive, “clean cut,” young staff. Solantic recently settled out of court with several staffers who said they were fired for refusing to enforce the company’s biased hiring policies.

Korten’s research was supported by a grant from the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

Daily Pulse: Finance Committee Rejects Public Options, But the Fight Continues

11:01 am in Uncategorized by TheMediaConsortium

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

Yesterday, the powerful Senate Finance Committee met to debate two amendments that would have inserted a public option into the committee’s health reform bill. Both amendments were defeated as key Democrats sided with Republicans and the insurance companies. David Corn of Mother Jones diagnoses what ails Senate Democrats. It’s split personality disorder: "They are the best friends of the health insurance industry. They are fiercest foes of the health insurance industry."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-WV) strong public option amendment was defeated 15-8 because senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Tom Carper (D-DE) joined the committee’s ten Republicans. In the next round of voting, Nelson and Carper backed Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) amendment, but Baucus, Conrad and Lincoln stuck with the GOP and voted it down. Ironically, as Corn observes, the Senate Democratic communications team was busy emailing blistering indictments of the insurance industry while key members of the caucus were doing the insurers’ bidding.

John Nichols of The Nation worries that yesterday’s defeat is a sign that Congress is backing away from a public option, which was itself a compromise alternative to a single-payer, Medicare-for-all type system:

Tuesday’s day-long gathering of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, where chairman Max Baucus has spent months lowering expectations, offered a sense of just how dim prospects for meaningful systemic change have become.

Baucus, the insurance-industry representative who doubles as a Democratic senator from Montana, long ago rejected the notion that a robust public option might be a part of any healthcare reform measure that would pass the Senate.

The Senate Finance Committee went on to add tens of millions of dollars for discredited abstinence-only propaganda for teens, as Mike Lillis of the Washington Independent reports. Well, at least pseudoscience has a public option. If kids can learn this nonsense for free at school, maybe they’ll ditch church, where you have to put your money in the collection plate to hear the sermon.

Chris Bowers of AlterNet argues that a public option still has 51 votes in the Senate. Which means that the Democrats could still pass a healthcare bill by majority vote in the upper chamber, if they decided to forgo their quest for a filibuster-proof 60 and pass the bill through budget reconciliation.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, claims to have the votes to pass a plan with a public option, Lynda Waddington reports in the Iowa Independent. Harkin believes that the full Senate should have the opportunity to vote on the public option, considering that it’s part of four out of the five bills that have been approved so far.

The fight for a public option isn’t over yet. To date, all of the other health reform bills that are out of committee include a strong public option. The next step is putting these bills together to create the final legislation for the House and Senate to vote on.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

Daily Pulse: Howard Dean (Video Exclusive)

9:04 am in Uncategorized by TheMediaConsortium

Howard Dean on Health Care Reform: Daily Pulse Video Exclusive from Lindsay Beyerstein on Vimeo.

Last night Dr. Howard Dean, former chair of the DNC and 2004 presidential hopeful, appeared in conversation with journalist Joe Conason at the 92nd Street YMCA in New York. Dean discussed his new book, Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Health Care Reform.

Later on, I had a chance to ask Dean about the prospects for passing health care reform in the Senate through budget reconciliation, a parliamentary tactic that would allow the bill to pass by majority vote and thwart a filibuster. Many Democratic strategists consider reconciliation to be extremely politically risky, but Dean is unconvinced. He argues that passing a bill through budget reconciliation is not only doable, but also likely to result in a stronger bill.

"I’m not worried about doing this through reconciliation," he said, "I think we’ll probably have a better bill if it’s through reconciliation because the people who are involved in the passage of the bill will only be Democrats and a very high proportion of Democrats want a public option."

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

Daily Pulse: Astroturfing the Public Option

9:22 am in Uncategorized by TheMediaConsortium

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

The Senate Finance Committee is slogging through literally hundreds of proposed amendments to the Baucus health care reform bill. The bill still doesn’t have a public option, but there’s a good chance that insurance subsidies will be revised upwards, as Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly reports.

Last Sunday, President Obama made his pitch for health reform on five national TV talk shows. John Nichols of the Nation criticizes Obama for his uninspired and frankly unappealing depiction of the public option:

Indeed, as Obama describes his notion of a public option, it is so constrained, under-funded and uninspired in approach as to be dysfunctional.

While there is no question that the right reform remains a single-payer "Medicare for All" system that provides quality care for all Americans while eliminating insurance company profiteering, if the best that can be hoped for is a government-supported alternative to the corporate options, then it should be robust enough to compete.

Obama advocates a public option open to the uninsured only, not to anyone who wants to buy in. If the goal of the public option is to reduce costs through competition, a limited public option would be self-defeating. A public option is supposed to drive down prices through competition. Obama’s version of a public option couldn’t compete: It would only take cases the insurers already rejected!

Speaking of insurers, Brian Beutler and Zach Roth report in Talking Points Memo that insurance company Humana is under fire for trying to scare senior citizens into resisting health reform, specifically cuts in Medicare Advantage, a federally subsidized private insurance plan. If so, Humana is in big trouble. Astroturfing seniors is a violation of the strict rules the government imposes on communications with Advantage beneficiaries.

Public News Service reports that health care activist Joe Szakos goes on trial in Virginia today for allegedly trespassing while protesting insurance rate hikes. Szakos is a member of the Virginia Organizing Project, a non-profit social justice group seeking accountability from insurers.

Obama made his first speech to the United Nations (UN) yesterday at the UN Summit on Climate Change in New York. Nearly a hundred heads of state met to iron out differences face-to-face before the official negotiations on a global climate pact begin on Copenhagen on Dec 18. In RH Reality Check, Karen Hardee and Kathleen Mogelgaard explain the link between reproductive freedom and climate change. New research reaffirms that contraception could be a powerful tool to help fight global warming:

So how does reproductive health fit into this picture? A new study by the UK-based Optimum Population Trust and the London School of Economics shows the connection between contraceptives and climate change. The study concludes that universal access to reproductive health could be one of the most cost effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. A Population Action International report from May detailed how population dynamics, not just overall growth, contribute to climate change.

Note that population activists aren’t saying that women in the developing world ought to have fewer children for the sake of the planet. They’re saying that societies grow in smarter, healthier, and ultimately greener ways when women have the power to control their own fertility.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit  Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

Daily Pulse: Uncharted Territory

8:57 pm in Uncategorized by TheMediaConsortium

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

The public option remains in limbo. The Senate Finance Committee is fine-tuning the bill it unveiled last week, which does not include a public option. However, Brian Beutler of TPM reports that Democrats have already submitted three separate amendments that might add a public option.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) submitted what he calls a "level playing field" amendment, which would, incongruously, create a public option that couldn’t set its own rates. A second amendment submitted by Schumer and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) would create a public option much like that outlined the HELP Committee bill. Finally, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) submitted an amendment that would create a robust public option, much like the one originally drafted in the House.

It’s pretty clear that no bill containing a public option in its first draft will get 60 votes in the senate. However, as Beutler reports in a second TPM piece, the Democrats are seriously revisiting the prospect of using budget reconciliation to get a health care bill through the senate with a simple majority. However, Beutler explains that Democrats are reluctant to go the reconciliation route because senate rules restrict the kind of bill that can be passed through reconciliation. For example, only provisions that "materially affect" spending can be passed through reconciliation. But what qualifies as a material effect?

Meanwhile, President Obama continues to insist that the public option isn’t dead yet, Steve Benen reports in the Washington Monthly.

In other news, women’s health remains a hot topic in health care reform. To understand why health care reform is especially critical for women, Public News Service interviewed Dr. Susan Wood, a scientist who famously resigned from the Bush-era Food and Drug Administration over the politicization of the approval of Plan B. Since leaving the government, Wood has returned to academia to study women’s health. Some of her key findings include:

About 20 percent of women under the age of 65 have no health care insurance; in some states, women are denied coverage if they have experienced domestic violence; and when women do have coverage, they are charged higher premiums and often see a long list of preexisting conditions that are excluded, with pregnancy sometimes on that list.

If there is a public option, will it cover abortion? Rep. Lois Capps has written an amendment addressing that question. She explains her proposal in her own words at RH Reality Check.

Uncertainty remains high as the senate inches towards a bill.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit  Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

Daily Pulse: Women’s Health Beyond Pink Ribbons

8:54 pm in Uncategorized by TheMediaConsortium

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

While the Senate Finance Committee tinkers with the Baucus Bill, First Lady Michelle Obama is taking center stage in the health care reform debate. Obama’s director of communications announced last week that the FLOTUS would be focusing on the health care needs of women and children. Mindful of the conservative backlash against Hillary Clinton’s crusade for health care reform, Mrs. Obama is expected to steer clear of policy issues, according to Salon’s Judy Berman.

Tying health reform to women’s health is a smart political move. The far Right lured anti-choicers into a corporatist tax revolt with tall tales of tax-payer funded abortions. Now the White House is reminding Progressives that it cares, in a very general, non-policy kind of way, about women’s health. While Progressives will appreciate the White House shining a spotlight on reproductive health, it won’t mean much without policy specifics. It certainly won’t make up for the President Obama’s waffling on the public option.

The failure of the private insurance system has galvanized Dr. Willie Parker, an obstetrician/gynecologist active in Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, as a passionate advocate for health care reform. In RH Reality Check, Dr. Parker tells how the status quo falls short on women’s health care:

I am not talking about withholding the latest, cutting-edge, exorbitantly priced medications or treatments. No—I’ve had patients whose health insurance doesn’t cover such basic health needs as Pap smears and birth control prescriptions. And forget about having a baby—many insurance policies don’t cover prenatal care or labor and delivery, or they treat pregnancy as a pre-existing condition.

In the Progressive, Mike Ervin reminds us that disability issues are also getting short shrift in the health care debate. Ervin takes aim at a Medicaid system that won’t help until a person is completely destitute. He suggests that a robust public option might be a lifeline before disability erases the savings of a lifetime.

This week, expect the wheeling and dealing on the Baucus Bill to continue behind the scenes as the Finance Committee marks up the legislation before the final committee vote. But with Sen Olympia Snowe’s (R-Maine) 60th vote in doubt, there are rumblings about reviving budget reconciliation as an option for passing a health bill in the senate with a simple majority.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit  Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

Daily Pulse: Adele Stan Talks Teabaggers (Audio)

9:11 am in Uncategorized by TheMediaConsortium

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

Last Saturday, veteran right wing watcher Adele Stan of AlterNet covered the Tax Payers’ March on Washington (aka the 912 March or the DC Tea Party). About 70,000 conservative protesters converged on Washington to air their grievances, including opposition to President Obama’s health care reform agenda. Protesters carried signs warning of death panels, tax-funded abortions, and healthcare for "illegals."

In this interview, Stan explains that while the event was billed as a grassroots convergence, it was in fact orchestrated by Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks and the right wing Americans for Prosperity. The rally also received massive amounts of free publicity from Fox News host Glenn Beck, coordinator of the 9-12 project. Stan describes how all the abortion-, immigration- and death panel-talk binds social conservatives, nativists, and big business interests into a cohesive rightwing coalition.

Stan says that ,while the tea baggers have cropped up recently, the leaders of the movement have been at this game since LBJ trounced Barry Goldwater in 1964.

To learn more, check out Addie’s recent writing on the Tea Parties at AlterNet. The Wing Nut Code explains the significance of those creepy yellow snake flags and other right wing symbology; and The Same Old Faces explains how old guard Goldwater partisans are still pulling the strings for the right wing.

If the embedded audio player is not working for you, please listen to the interview here.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.