Friday, February 5, 2010
What Happened to the Conscience Clause?
I suspect that as with Obama's campaign pledge to repeal the Bush executive order allowing faith-based groups that receive federal funds to discriminate in hiring, the White House quickly learned that some of its allies in the religious community liked the conscience rule and didn't want to see it taken away. So they apparently decided to lay low and hold off on making any changes. What's surprising is that they've gotten away with it so far without vocal protests from the choice community.
Politics and the Persistent Vegetative State.
Take a guess though what the media headlines focus on:
*Scientists read the minds of the living dead (New Zealand Herald)
*Patients in 'vegetative' state can think and communicate (The Telegraph)
*Brain scan shows awareness in vegetative patients (BBC News)
*Brains of vegetative patients show life (LA Times)
*Study Finds Cognition in Vegetative Patients (Wall Street Journal)
These headlines are just wrong. They give the impression that all patients with PVS are aware and can communicate. In truth, this study showed that a minority of patients with PVS showed some signs of awareness, and those happened to only be in those who suffered from a traumatic brain injury (not from other causes such as anoxic brain injury).
"Indeed, when it was clear that Terri would be lying in bed for a year pending appeals, the family begged Judge Greer to permit sophisticated brain scanning that had never been used on her before," he recalled. "It couldn't have hurt her, and it might have shown something. But stubbornly, he refused. I will go to my grave believing the judge knew what he didn't want to know."
Called to Help Haiti's Children.
The Real crux of the issue is this: these ten do-gooders walked into the trap many well meaning white evangelical Christians fall into: those poor brown/black/yellow/red people need My help. Jesus wants Meto help them. To much of White American Evangelical Christianity the We often means Me. It’s what God Called Me to do. It’s what God would want Me to do. The problem with the Me mentality of much of conservative Evangelical Christianity is that they often can’t see the We—the people of Haiti—who love their kids so much they’re willing to let some white people who claim to be “Christians” take them away to what they promise will be “a better life.”
The focus on Me takes away from the real ways that people in disasters can be helped without the insertion of well meaning, helpless interlopers into their story. The New Life group is now finding out what living in an impoverished and earthquake-ravaged country is like. Perhaps now they will begin to understand what it means to live alongside the poor, as opposed to swooping into a disaster for a quick “feel good Christian moment” designed to make them feel better about themselves. Hopefully, other groups will rally to do the real work that is still so urgently needed, and make a long-term commitment to bring life and stability to Haiti and its children who are in desperate need of it.
Malpractice Lawsuit Limits Overturned in Illinois.
The ruling came down as federal proposals to cap malpractice awards are receiving fresh attention on Capitol Hill. Republicans enthusiastically support the limits, and they are seen as a potential vehicle for restarting the stalled health care negotiations in Congress with bipartisan impetus. Neither the House bill that Democrats passed late last year nor its Senate counterpart included significant changes to medical malpractice regulations.
In a 4-to-2 ruling, the Illinois court wrote that the legislature, in enacting the 2005 law, violated the state Constitution’s separation of powers clause by imposing decisions that should be reserved for judges and juries. The law established caps of $500,000 for non-economic damages in verdicts against doctors and $1 million in cases against hospitals.
The decision armed opponents of such provisions with fresh ammunition, and held a particular sting for the American Medical Association, which has its headquarters in Chicago.
A statement from the American Association for Justice, formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, said the decision illustrated “why federal efforts to place arbitrary limits on the amount injured patients receive won’t pass muster or fix America’s broken health care system.” Nearly 30 states have laws that limit non-economic damages, although the caps and circumstances for imposing them vary widely. According to theAmerican Medical Association, courts in 16 states have upheld the laws, while those in 11 states have overturned them.
Rick Scott Claims a Victory.
Remember Conservatives for Patients’ Rights (CPR)? It's run by the icky Rick Scott and represented by the public relations firm behind the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth. And boy, are they happy over the president's lack of leadership and the refusal by Congress to offer them an alternative to the insurance monopoly:
Today, CPR has a large, nearly full-page ad in the Washington Post cheering the public option’s death. The top of the ad has a tombstone reading, “PUBLIC OPTION PLAN R.I.P. January 27, 2010.” More text from the ad:
In his State of the Union Address, the President didn’t doom his Public Option health care plan with faint praise, he simply BURIED it with deafening silence. [...]
Finally, those of us who opposed your government-run Public Option plan can close this chapter.
By educating on the perils of your government-run Public Option plan, we achieved our goals to protect patients’ rights and stop a government takeover of our health care choices. Today, we join with our fellow Americans concerned with protecting patients’ rights to celebrate that our months of hard work finally paid off.
ThinkProgress spoke to CPR spokesman Brian Burgess of CRC Public Relations, who said that the ad was running only in the Washington Post.
CPR was not reflecting the views of most “fellow Americans” in its campaign. Over the summer, there was actually strong public support for the public option. Through an aggressive campaign, the health care industry spread misinformation to create opposition.