public health

health action 2009

Bills in Brief

It took over a decade for health care reform to lose its Clinton-era-induced taboo status - but 2009 could be the year Congress approves sweeping changes to health care.

While lawmakers rev up for large-scale reform, though, some smaller health bills seeing action include:

SCHIP. Congress head butted with Bush the past two years over expanding State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which covers low income children who aren't low income enough to qualify for Medicaid. Having lost the battle in '07 and '08, lawmakers put SCHIP at the top of their agenda in '09, passing an expansion of coverage to 4 million additional children (up from 7 million) at an additional cost of $32 billion. (WP)

health action 2008

Bills in Brief

It took over a decade for health care reform to lose its Clinton-era-induced taboo status - but while health care policy is coming back in vogue, America will have to wait until 2009 before any major reforms become ripe for passage.

In the meantime, in 2007 Congress set out to pass a series of mini health care initiatives - which it may follow up on in 2008:

SCHIP. Congress head butted with Bush last year over expanding State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which covers low income children who aren't low income enough to qualify for Medicaid. Congress, which wanted to double the scope of the act, lost. It considered a second go in '08, but now SCHIP has officially been punted to '09 (NYT). Meanwhile, the administration sent states a letter saying they had to tighten eligibility for SCHIP, only to have the GAO weigh in that the administration overstepped its legal boungs (GAO).

smoking USA

Facts

It's hard to imagine a killer could be so cool, but for decades few dirty habits were as sophisticated and sexy as "taking a drag off death." No longer - Surgeon General reports, lawsuits, state laws and a successful anti-smoking movement have made smoking only slightly less despised than halitosis. Still millions of Americans smoke. Advocates would bring down the number of smokers even further, while a scant number of libertarians think the war on smokers has gone far enough.

how many of us are smoking

  • 44.5 million adults CDC

over the years - % of high school seniors and adults who smoke

source: CDC (copied and pasted)

death and disease

Smoking kills:

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health bills 2007

Bills in Brief

It took over a decade for health care reform to lose its Clinton-era-induced taboo status - but while health care policy is coming back in vogue, America will likely have to wait until 2009 before any major reforms become ripe for passage.

In the meantime, in 2007 Congress set out to pass a series of mini health care inititiatives - which citizenJoe kept track of here:

SCHIP. The State Children's Health Insurance Program, which covers low income children who aren't low income enough to qualify for Medicaid, was up for renewal this year - and Dems (with the help of moderate Republicans) locked horns with president to try to double the scope of the act. In late September, the House and Senate passed a bill that would increase spending on SCHIP to $60b over five years (up from $25b), paid for by a 61cent tax on ciggies.

obesity

Facts

With the steady plumping of America - not to be deterred by South Beach, power yoga, or lyposuction - obesity is taking over as America's top health bad boy. But is an extra 20 or 200 pounds hanging off America really anything to be worried about? A couple of facts:

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west nile virus

Facts

West Nile willies

For a while, West Nile Virus seemed like it had infected the headlines--dire predictions for the seasonal, mosquito-borne virus were everywhere. The media fever seems to have worn off slightly, but West Nile is still out there.

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mad cow disease

Issue in Brief

After a Canadian cow walked over the US border with mad cow disease in May 2003, the international health scare finally hit American shores. But after a few years of trade tussles with Canada and Japan - as well as efforts to protect against the disease's spread - concern for mad cow has largely petered out.

Cows and Canada: The US immediately cut off beef and cattle from the north after the first Canadian cow tested positive in '03. Since then, seven more Canadian cows have tested positive - with the latest case in August, 2006 (AP).

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avian flu

Issue in Brief

A big flap over bird flu

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