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Archive for the ‘health’ tag

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Road Home program amended to assist owners of homes of modest value,” - The Times-Picayune

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan came to town carrying a letter that could help thousands of area homeowners finally finish their renovations.

The letter, which Donovan gave on Thursday to Louisiana Recovery Authority head Paul Rainwater, approved a change to the Road Home program that could distribute $600 million in leftover program money, giving up to $34,000 in extra grant money to as many as 19,000 low- to moderate-income homeowners, Rainwater said.

States eager to power up electric car-battery industry,” - USA TODAY

DETROIT — The U.S. government has made it clear that developing a domestic auto-battery industry — for advanced batteries to power next-generation electric cars — is a priority. That has states scrambling to be sure they get a piece of the action.

This week, business leaders, politicians and entrepreneurs will gather in Detroit at a conference called “The Business of Plugging In” to discuss the future of plug-in electrics and plan how to attract and develop businesses involved in plug-in vehicle development.

Public option gains support,” - Washington Post

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows and wins clear majority support from the public.

Americans remain sharply divided about the overall packages moving closer to votes in Congress and President Obama’s leadership on the issue, reflecting the partisan battle that has raged for months over the administration’s top legislative priority. But sizable majorities back two key and controversial provisions: both the so-called public option and a new mandate that would require all Americans to carry health insurance.

Written by Keith Forest

October 20th, 2009 at 9:16 pm

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 ”How Valid Is the Insurers’ Attack on Health Reform?,” -  TIME MAGAZINE

After months of lending its cautious, very qualified support to health-care reform, the health-insurance industry has lobbed its first bomb at the Democrats’ proposals. But many of the industry’s assertions appear to have missed their mark.

Just two days before Tuesday’s scheduled vote on the Senate Finance Committee’s health bill, a report warning that the bill would result in sizable hikes in insurance premiums was released, and then widely panned as a flawed analysis of cherry-picked information. A spokesman for the committee called the report a “hatchet job, plain and simple”; and some Democrats on Capitol Hill claimed that the insurers’ broadside would actually ease, rather than slow, passage of health reform by unifying the various factions of the party against an industry with precious little credibility among the public. (See 10 players in health-care reform.)

Public Option Is Next Big Hurdle in Health Debate,” - The New York Times

WASHINGTON — As the White House and Congressional leaders turned in earnest on Wednesday to working out big differences in the five health care bills, perhaps no issue loomed as a greater obstacle than whether to establish a government-run competitor to the insurance industry.

One day after the Senate Finance Committee approved a measure without a “public option,” the question on Capitol Hill was how President Obama could reconcile the deep divisions within his party on the issue. All eyes were on Senator Olympia J. Snowe, the Maine Republican whose call for a “trigger” that would establish a government plan as a fallback is one of the leading compromise ideas.

Obama: New Orleans not forgotten,” -   USA TODAY

NEW ORLEANS — In his first presidential visit to this city, Barack Obama praised the resiliency of residents in rebuilding their flood-wrecked homes and promised to continue flowing federal dollars to the effort.

“It is always an inspiration to spend time with the men and women who have reminded the rest of us what it means to persevere in the face of tragedy and rebuild in the face of ruin,” Obama said during a town-hall-style meeting at the University of New Orleans.

Written by Keith Forest

October 16th, 2009 at 6:14 pm

The biggest headlines on race, poverty

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By Kimbriell Kelly, Editor

I remember when I was a reporter and editors scrambled at the end of the year to do a big wrap-up of the year's biggest news stories. Invariably, most of the stories about poor folks and minorities didn't make the cut.

So this year, I've decided to make my own list.

There's a lot to choose from. You've got the national stuff like President Barack Obama's historic inauguration, Nobel Prize and the hits on his life from the pulpit. You also have the historic nomination of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the East Coast controversies involving Skip Gates and some black children trying to swim at a pool in Philly.

There was a lot going on locally as well, from high foreclosures and the potential sale of Ebony magazine to Burr Oak Cemetery and the controversies surrounding our local politicians, namely Al Sanchez, Ald. Arenda Troutman, Todd Stroger and Sen. Roland Burris.

This is where you come in. I can't make this list alone. So what do you think should go on it?

Post a comment, click here or send an e-mail to

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Deficit Complicates Push on Jobs,” - The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders pressed President Barack Obama on Wednesday to extend more elements of the existing economic-stimulus package, and to possibly add tax cuts that were rejected the first time around, despite a record budget deficit that is giving some lawmakers pause.

On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the federal deficit for fiscal 2009 will be $1.4 trillion. That is somewhat better than the nearly $1.6 trillion the CBO projected in August, but much of the change stems from different accounting treatments for losses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage companies the government took over last year.

Putting America’s Diet on a Diet,” - The New York Times

On his first day in Huntington, W. Va., Jamie Oliver spent the afternoon at Hillbilly Hot Dogs, pitching in to cook its signature 15-pound burger. That’s 10 pounds of meat, 5 pounds of custom-made bun, American cheese, tomatoes, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard and mayo. Then he learned how to perfect the Home Wrecker, the eatery’s famous 15-inch, one-pound hot dog (boil first, then grill in butter). For the Home Wrecker Challenge, the dog gets 11 toppings, including chili sauce, jalapeños, liquid nacho cheese and coleslaw. Finish it in 12 minutes or less and you get a T-shirt.

So much for local color. Earlier that day, Oliver met with a pediatrician, James Bailes, and a pastor, Steve Willis. Bailes told him about an 8-year-old patient who was 80 pounds overweight and had developed Type 2 diabetes. If the child’s diet didn’t change, the doctor said, he wouldn’t live to see 30. Willis told Oliver that he visits patients in local hospitals several days a week and sees the effects of long-term obesity firsthand. Since he can’t write a prescription for their resulting illnesses, he said, all he can do is pray with them.

Universal healthcare coverage appears elusive,” - Los Angeles Times

As a key Senate committee prepares today to pass its plan to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, senior Democrats are acknowledging that it may be impossible to provide coverage to all Americans — a central goal of President Obama and his congressional allies.

That is fueling growing alarm among hospitals and insurance companies, which have made universal coverage a condition of their support.

Written by Keith Forest

October 13th, 2009 at 9:29 pm

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Reducing poverty with the guidance of the poor,” - Philadelphia Inquirer

Never underestimate the power of an old blue sweater - even one with a cheesy design of two zebras in front of Mount Kilimanjaro. Maybe especially one with zebras and a mountain.

That very sweater launched Jacqueline Novogratz’s career as an international social investor, and it is the inspiration of her recently published book, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World (Rodale, $24.95).

States not meeting renewable energy goals,” - USA TODAY

Across the USA, states are falling short of their goals to increase the use of renewable energy as Congress weighs a national renewable-energy standard.

Thirty-five states have set goals to use more electricity from solar panels, windmills and other renewable forms of energy, according to a database funded by the Energy Department. There is no central clearinghouse of states’ compliance records, but USA TODAY research and interviews with state and power company officials found nine states that have failed or expect to fail to meet their energy goals.

A Better Way to Health Reform,” - The Washington Post

The American health-care system suffers from three serious problems: Health-care costs are rising much faster than our incomes. More than 15 percent of the population has neither private nor public insurance. And the high cost of health care can lead to personal bankruptcy, even for families that do have health insurance.

These faults persist despite annual federal government spending of more than $700 billion for Medicare and Medicaid as well as a federal tax subsidy of more than $220 billion for the purchase of employer-provided private health insurance.

Written by Keith Forest

October 9th, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Nursing home closures could hit black communities hard

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By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

The Associated Press reported Sunday that many of the nation's nursing homes are facing possible cuts and even closures, due to a combination of the recession and state and federal spending cuts

Homes' closures could take a steep toll on black communities.

The Chicago Reporter found that the neighborhoods of Uptown, Rogers Park and Edgewater, where the majority of about 17,000 seniors are white, had 24 nursing homes. That's more than the 22 homes on the South and West sides, where more than 100,000 seniors--most of them black--live.

The Associated Press article also noted that inadequate Medicaid reimbursement rates are causing difficulties for nursing homes.

This is more bad news for Chicago's majority-black nursing homes, which, the Reporter found, are more dependent on Medicaid dollars for funding than majority-white homes in the city.

Written by tcrBLOG

October 6th, 2009 at 7:06 pm

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WIC nutrition program expands to cover fruits, vegetables,” - Los Angeles Times

Beginning today, women and children who receive food vouchers through the federal government’s WIC program will be able to use them to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

“It’s a really welcome change,” said Gail Harrison, a public health professor at UCLA who was on the national Institute of Medicine panel that recommended the revisions to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children — the first major change in the program since it began in the 1970s. “The supplemental food package contributes a very substantial share of dietary intake, and so making it healthier is all to the good.”

Swiss Health Care Thrives Without Public Option,” -  The New York Times

ZURICH — Like every other country in Europe, Switzerland guarantees health care for all its citizens. But the system here does not remotely resemble the model of bureaucratic, socialized medicine often cited by opponents of universal coverage in the United States.

Swiss private insurers are required to offer coverage to all citizens, regardless of age or medical history. And those people, in turn, are obligated to buy health insurance.

$35 Billion Slated for Local Housing,” -  The wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is close to committing as much as $35 billion to help beleaguered state and local housing agencies continue to provide mortgages to low- and moderate-income families, according to administration officials.

The move would further cement the government’s role in propping up the housing market even as some lawmakers push to curb spending at a time of rising debt.

Written by Keith Forest

October 1st, 2009 at 8:46 pm

New report suggests adding almost 450 nursing homes to government watch list

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By Christopher Danzig

Almost 450 nursing homes should be added to the government's Special Focus Facility Program, which monitors the most poorly performing nursing homes in the country, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office.

Out of roughly 16,000 nursing homes in the country, there are only 136 homes in the program. The report suggested increasing the number of nursing homes in the program more than fourfold, to a total of 580.

The report also found that the poorest performing nursing homes were more likely to have for-profit status and be a part of a chain.

In July, The Chicago Reporter investigated disparities in quality between nursing homes in majority white and majority black neighborhoods.

Download the entire GAO nursing homes report.

Written by tcrBLOG

October 1st, 2009 at 8:02 pm

‘Mad Docs’ push real health reform

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At Local health care reform advocates will rally Saturday (11 a.m., UIC, 833 S. Wood) with a group of "Mad As Hell Doctors" who are traveling from Portland, Oregon to Washington D.C. to build support for comprehensive, single-payer reform.

Written by Curtis

September 25th, 2009 at 9:01 pm

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Each year, 45,000 people die due to lack of health insurance

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By Christopher Danzig

In the United States, about 45,000 people die each year because they don’t have health insurance, according to a new study released in the American Journal of Public Health today.

The study surveyed more than 9,000 people and found:

  • 22.6 percent of African Americans had no health insurance, while only 12.3 percent of white Americans were uninsured.
  • Over the course of the study, 4.1 percent of the African American participants died, while 3.1 percent of white participants died.
  • 56.2 percent of people below the “poverty threshold” were uninsured
  • Out of all the states, Illinois had the sixth highest number of excess deaths related to lack of health insurance, with 1,626 over the course of the study.
  • Seven percent of all deaths nationwide and in Illinois were linked to lack of health insurance.

Written by tcrBLOG

September 17th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

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