News June 22

Senator Sanders


Health Center Members of the Five Town Health Alliance moved one step closer to establishing a Federally Qualified Health Center in Addison County. Sen. Bernie Sanders announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designated Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, Starksboro and Buel’s Gore as underserved in terms of access to health care.  The region may now qualify for federal funds to establish a health center to provide primary health care, dental care, mental health counseling and low-cost prescription drugs, according to The Addison Independent.


Single-Payer ”In an ideal world, a single-payer system like they have in Europe or Canada would be the best answer. You can’t deliver quality care at the lowest price when so many interests — insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and medical equipment manufacturers — are in the business simply to make more profit. But the sad reality is, despite the leadership of John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, and Bernie Sanders, there aren’t enough votes in Congress for single-payer legislation,” Bill Press wrote in a syndicated column published by the Baraboo News Republic. LINK




Revolutionary Guard Threatens Tehran Protesters  Iran's Revolutionary Guard threatened to crush any further opposition protests over the disputed presidential election and warned demonstrators to prepare for a "revolutionary confrontation" if they take to the streets again. The warning was issued despite an admission by Iran’s most senior panel of election monitors that the number of votes cast in 50 cities exceeded the actual number of voters, according to a state television report, The New York Times reported. LINK




Obama to Sign Anti-Smoking Bill President Barack Obama is set to sign into law an anti-smoking bill that will give the Food and Drug Administration unprecedented authority to regulate tobacco. Obama is scheduled to sign the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act during an event Monday in the Rose Garden, AP reported. LINK


Health Care Public Option Emboldened by polls that show public backing for a government health insurance plan, Democrats are moving to make it a politically defining issue in the debate over the future of medical care. Behind-the-scenes attempts to get a deal with Republicans on nonprofit co-ops as an alternative to a public plan have led only to frustration, complains a key Democrat. He and his colleagues may have to go it alone, Sen. Chuck Schumer told AP. LINK


AARP to Endorse Drug Price Cuts AARP, the nation's largest seniors lobby, will give its blessing today to an offer by drug manufacturers to contribute $80 billion over the next decade to reduce the cost of comprehensive health reform, in part by discounting the price of Medicare prescriptions. Barry Rand, chief executive of AARP, will join President Obama at the White House to announce the endorsement, according to The Washington Post. LINK


Health Care Costs Americans are struggling to pay for healthcare in the ongoing recession, with a quarter saying they have had trouble in the past 12 months, according to a survey released on Monday. Baby boomers -- the generation born between 1946 and 1964 -- had the most trouble and were the most likely to put off medical treatments or services, said researchers at Center for Healthcare Improvement. The study found that 17.4 percent of households reported postponing or delaying healthcare over the past year, Reuters reported. LINK


Numbers On Welfare See Sharp Increase Welfare rolls are climbing across the country for the first time since President Bill Clinton signed legislation pledging "to end welfare as we know it" more than a decade ago. Twenty-three of the 30 largest states see welfare caseloads above year-ago levels, according to a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal and the National Conference of State Legislatures. As more people run out of unemployment compensation, many are turning to welfare as a stopgap. LINK


Stimulus Funds Going Key Lawmaker Districts Most of the $2.2 billion in economic stimulus money for Army Corps of Engineers construction projects will be spent in the home districts of members of Congress who oversee the corps' funding, a USA Today analysis found. Two-thirds of the money will be spent in states or districts represented by members of the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees that direct how the Corps of Engineers spends its money, the analysis found. LINK


Mayors Complain About Stimulus President Obama is facing complaints from big-city mayors and county politicians that parts of the economic stimulus package are shortchanging their constituents, the Los Angeles Times reported. Vice President Biden has been holding private conference calls on the stimulus with elected officials from around the country, some of whom have been telling him that metropolitan regions are losing out to rural areas in the competition for stimulus money. LINK


Bank Pay Wall Street names that have been among the most buffeted in recent months – Merrill Lynch, UBS and Citigroup – are hiking pay for their top investment bankers in an attempt to stop an exodus of talent. In spite of the troubled environment, market rates for bankers have been running close to the boom-time highs of two years ago. “In some cases we’ve been paying up to 80 per cent of 2007,” admitted one senior executive at an expanding bank, according to the Financial Times. LINK




Wet and Cool Sunday marked the first day of summer but the rain and cool temperatures could have many fooled. The Burlington Free Press says June has been 3.2 degrees cooler and has had 1.13 more inches of rain than normal, according to National Weather Service data. LINK