Tag Archives: barack obama

Health care reform around the country

It was hard to miss: The White House confab this week with the warring sides in Congress meeting over the heated issue of health care reform. National shows and local stations each weighed creative approaches to coverage:

KQED in San Francisco (home city of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who has been a leading advocate of health care reform), put together a page for comments and a live blog of the event. The Sunlight Foundation provided a tool to track donations to members of congress Congressional representatives as they spoke during the summit.

Tennesee had three representatives in their delegation: – two republicans and one democrat, some open to compromise on the health care bill, and one, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who made the case as other Republicans did to “start from scratch,” as WPLN in Nashville, with Capitol News Connection reported .

Nashville is a hub for the health care industry, which doesn’t seem to be hurting as the health care reform debate continues. WPLN reported that four major health are providers in Nashville, including HealthStream, posted positive year-end financial results.

But the urgency of health care reform certainly hasn’t gone away with a few hours of debate at the White House. As WAMC in Albany, NY found, thousands of people in New York alone are at risk without some serious changes:

The failure to enact health care reform this year will lead in the next decade to approximately 13,900 premature deaths of people between 25 and 64 years old in New York according to a report released today by the consumer health group Families USA.

Similar stories are cropping up around the country. For a full video roundup of health care coverage, PBS has a collection of clips from Frontline, NewsHour and more.

Campaign finance, then and now

Today’s Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance reform will allow corporations to give as much money as they want to support candidates, overturning a ruling that had been in effect for the past 20 years. But what was the scenario before 1990?

NPR takes a look at campaign finance through the years in a timeline of legislation from 1900 to the present. The timeline include events such as the 1907 ban on corporate contributions to Congressional and Presidential campaigns, the start of Political Action Committees in 1943, and the start of modern campaign finance in 1971.

Watchdog organizations like Open Secrets and the Sunlight Foundation will clearly play a larger role as this decision takes effect. The Obama campaign was defined by the numerous smaller donations from individuals – will the new rules take away the importance these types of donors play in elections? The non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute provides reports on campaign finance in the 2008 election.

Not surprisingly, President Obama was not satisfied with the court’s ruling. Two notes on the President’s Twitter feed discussed the issue this afternoon:

@BarackObama: Today’s Supreme Court ruling gives special interests more power, and undermines the influence of average Americans. http://bit.ly/7-a

The @WhiteHouse will work immediately w/ bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision http://bit.ly/-I

Public Media Texas gives an overview of NPR’s coverage of today’s proceeds and what their effects may be.
Political Junkie reported:

Today’s decision overturns a 20-year ruling — Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce — that prohibited corporations or labor unions from paying for campaign ads. The decision removes spending limits for independent expenditure groups. It threatens to remove spending limits already established in 24 states. And it struck down part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that bars issue ads paid for by corporations or unions in the closing days of a campaign.

Questions about campaign finance and what the ruling means? Ask Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.) on this week’s Ask Your Lawmaker podcast, or submit a question to any Congressperson on Ask Your Lawmaker.