Author Archives: Rachel Friedlander
C-SPAN and Congress are celebrating their 30th anniversary!Â C-SPAN first aired from the House on March 19, 1979, and according to Roll Call, “Tennessee Democratic Rep. Al Gore was first to speak live on the House floor.”
C-SPAN 2 went on the air on June 2, 1986, and the two channels have been vital in giving the public greater access to their government.
- Former Bush Administration Officials Karl Rove and Harriet Miers have agreed to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee.Â Congressman Conyers (D-MI), as the chairman of the committee, has attepmted to subpoena both officials multiple times, which they dodged by claiming “executive privelege.”Â The Congressman called their appearance “a victory for the separation of powers and congressional oversight.Â It is…a vindication of the search for truth.”
- Dr. Sanjay Gupta withdrew as a candidate for the Surgeon General position.Â Congressman Conyers, a staunch single-payer health reform advocate, was intensely opposed to Dr. Gupta’s nomination because of his ambivalence towards a single-payer system.Â In January, Conyers made his concerns known publicly (on his blog), and these charges tainted his candidacy.
- Congressman Conyers was invited to the White House Health Care Summit.
After 99 days in jail, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was released from the Wayne County Jail on “good behavior” at 12:30 am.Â According to the Detroit Free Press:
Although Kilpatrick is due to join his wife, Carlita, and their three sons in Texas as early as today, his first stop was apparently at the home of his mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Detroit. His sister, Ayanna, lives next door to the congresswomanâ€™s home just west of the New Center.
According to Willie Gary, Kwame’s newest attorney, he emerged from jail in good spirits, and 25 pounds lighter.Â He wishes the city of Detroit well–no hard feelings.
Although much of the public debate around the stimulus has focused on contraceptives and resodding the National Mall, there are hidden elements of the package that would have big effects on our daily lives.Â One aspect that has been largely overlooked is a provision that would increase funding andÂ access to Medicaid services, which is especially important in Michigan, as unemployment reached 10.6% in December.Â The stimulus package would pump $2.2 billion to the state’s Medicaid program–money that is desperately needed for our most vulnerable residents.
According to the Detroit Free Press:
Another provision could vastly extend Medicaid coverage by allowing states to provide coverage to anyone currently receiving unemployment benefits or having exhausted them on or after July 1, 2008.
States also could choose to provide Medicaid to anyone losing a job — whether they receive unemployment or not — and making up to twice the federal poverty limit, which is $44,100 for a family of four. Anyone receiving food stamps also could get Medicaid, if a state allowed it.
The federal government would cover the Medicaid costs through the end of 2010.
With the rising unemployment rate in our state, these provisions, coupled with the potential passage of SCHIP, could create an important safety net to ensure that Michigan’s families have consistent access to health care.
Throughout this campaign season, Democrats up and down the ticket generally agreed about the need for drastic reform of the health care insurance and delivery system in the United States.Â Â Â From the get-go, President Obama has expressed his commitment to health care reform as a major priority in his administration, but now that he has taken office, it remains to be seen what that reform will look like, and the debate is already heating up.
Many members of Congress, such as Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), have been vocal supporters of national health insurance, each introducing their own comprehensive bills in the past few years.Â But there are other members that prefer a more incremental shift.Â Â House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) appeared on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” yesterday, stating that:
“If you take what we’ve done with [the State Children's Health Insurance Program bill] and then you follow with [more spending] on community health centers, you would have gone a long way to building a foundation upon which to build a universal access healthcare program.Â I would much rather see it done that way, incrementally, than to go out and just bite something you can’t chew. We’ve been down that road. I still remember 1994.”
There is also another major proposal, a voucher system, which has been strongly supported by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Chair of the Department of Bioethics at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (and brother of White House Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel), which gained significant traction with the release of his book this summer, “Healthcare, Guaranteed.”
All three main proposals have strong support among members of Congress, but it remains to be seen what the compromise between the administration and Congress will look like.Â One thing is for sure: the fight is on.
Although former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer was expected to announce his candidacy for governor in 2010 this morning, he actually confirmed that he will not be running. According to the Free Press, Archer said that “he’s not willing to make the personal and professional sacrifices that a run for governor would require.”
But, the Detroit Mayoral race kicked off today with a candidate’s forum featuring the 7 major candidates. Quote of the day (also from the Free Press) courtesy of Sharon McPhail, the only female to participate in today’s forum: “This is an eight-month term that youâ€™re voting for. Give a girl a chance.”