Archive: November, 2009
One by one, the obstacles to a once-unimaginable overhaul of the nation’s $2.5 trillion health care system are tumbling by the wayside.
The Senate’s deliberation this weekend over its prescription for expanding health insurance coverage to most Americans represents, as President Obama noted, another milestone on the road to health-care reform.
Despite the entrenched and increasingly shrill opposition from congressional Republicans to any and all comprehensive reform, there is growing reason to hold out hope for success.
In the wake of another round of indictments alleging corruption in the legislature, Harrisburg is again embracing “reform.”
House Minority Leader Sam Smith (R., Jefferson), whose name appeared frequently in the grand jury’s report despite not being charged, proposed an “ethics officer” to field complaints of misconduct. He also wants rules to bar staffers from campaigning on state time, or using government equipment for campaign work.
Both practices already are illegal — hence the heavy workload of Attorney General Tom Corbett these past two years.
Smith sounded very much like former Democratic House leader Bill DeWeese (D., Unindicted) did 16 months ago. He professed shock and surprise that close colleagues in his party’s leadership, including former Speaker John M. Perzel (R., Phila.), allegedly spent public money illegally on political campaigns right under his nose.
Whatever else you might think of him, Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W.<TH>Va.) reached an impressive milestone on Wednesday.
The adopted son of a coal miner became the longest-serving lawmaker ever in the history of Congress: 56 years and 319 days.
Byrd, who is in poor health and turned 92 yesterday, is in his ninth term in the Senate. He has served under 11 presidents, beginning with President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953.
The 75-year-old Dad Vail Regatta hasn’t always been held in Philadelphia, but since 1953, the Schuylkill has been its home and that’s where it belongs.
Unfortunately, next May the Dad Vail crews will be rowing their boats down the Navesink in North Jersey. That’s where the tony New York suburb of Rumson outbid Philadelphia to host the races. Except the event wasn’t actually put up for bids. Rumson instead waved $250,000 under the noses of the Dad Vail’s organizers and they grabbed it. Philadelphia officials say they didn’t hear about the deal until it was done.
The Dad Vail folks certainly had no reason to believe this city would come up with similar cash, given its five-year doubling of fees charged for police, fire, and other services during the event. But would it have hurt to ask?
Rumson Mayor John E. Ekdahl said his town pounced on the opportunity to sponsor the nation’s largest college regatta, and expects big returns in what will be spent at local hotels, restaurants, and stores. Every dollar spent in the Monmouth County town will be a buck Philadelphia misses.
The aim of medicine is above all else, to do no harm. But one must wonder if that will be the case with a new medical recommendation on the detection of breast cancer.
For years, experts widely agreed that mammograms beginning at age 40 provided the best way for early detection of breast cancer. But new guidelines released this week by an important federal task force recommend a drastic change and raise new questions about the benefits of testing and exams.
The panel says women don’t need mammograms until they’re 50 and then only every other year, not annually. The potential harm of annual testing outweighs the benefits, the panel found. It was the first breast-cancer reassessment since 2002 by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which typically guides federal policy.