NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE Right after New Year's Day, just over a week after his colleagues elected him Senate majority leader, Bill Frist again popped up in the news, not for any political deed but for trying to save the lives of those injured in a gruesome Florida car crash. It sounded too good to be true--except to anyone who knows Frist here in Nashville. The thing that first strikes you when you start talking to friends and former colleagues of the surgeon-turned-senator is that everyone has a different story about his penchant for small acts of kindness.
You didn't have to be a fortune-teller to see that the October meeting of the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention was going to be more controversial than usual. The panel, which advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), had been gearing up for a few months to consider whether the federal standard for lead poisoning, set in 1991, should be even tougher.
LOS ANGELES The women's clinic at the Hubert Humphrey Health Center may not be posh, but it's not unpleasant, either. The exam rooms are clean and reasonably well- equipped; a few even feature their own computer consoles. Attractive pink wallpaper lines the walls, except in the children's waiting area, which beckons youngsters with primary colors and a colorful bead and wire maze. Patients sit quietly as a receptionist calls out names, one every few minutes, without resorting to a loudspeaker.
FLINT, MICHIGAN It's nearly 5 o'clock on a Friday afternoon, and inside a cavernous auditorium at Mott Community College the air is thick with testosterone. Stout men in work boots and jeans file in, many of them fresh off the assembly line at the nearby General Motors truck plant, swelling the crowd to around 300 people. This is the heart of automobile country: Baseball hats advertise the GM product line, while T-shirts promote two loyalties--nation ("LET FREEDOM RING") and union ("FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS CROSS PICKET LINES").
Uh oh. I am standing in the doorway of a hotel banquet hall, searching the room for Howard Dean, the governor of Vermont and Democratic presidential hopeful. He's here to attend a local Greek Independence Day celebration--to give a few remarks, to march in a parade, and, perhaps, to make some political contacts that might help in the 2004 New Hampshire primary. It's an informal gathering, and when I called Dean's press secretary a few days ago, she suggested I just show up as the luncheon was winding down and pull him aside to chat.
The last time anyone in American politics spoke seriously of a health care "crisis" was during the recession of the early 1990s. At the time, unemployment was rising just as high medical costs were driving insurance premiums to unprecedented levels. As a result, millions of people lost their coverage and millions more worried they might be next.Newspapers captured the situation: Hard Times Leave More Uninsured" (The Hartford Courant); "Possibility of Losing Coverage Worries Caregivers, Parents" (Houston Chronicle); "Need Health Insurance? Good Luck" (USA Today).
At first blush, it seemed like one of those town meetings staged for Dateline: about 35 people, sitting at neatly arranged desks, explaining how they first reacted to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The answers were somber and heartfelt. The emotions--rage, fear, sadness--were familiar. Except that these weren't generic middle Americans. They were left-wing activists, meeting in a classroom at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And when they talked about rage and fear, they weren't only referring to the terrorists. They were also referring to their rage at the U.S.
This week, after months of congressional wrangling, President Obama signed historic health care reform into law. For the last ten years, TNR’s resident health care expert Jonathan Cohn has been writing about the big structural problems in our health care system and what can be done to fix them. This week’s archive piece is a Cohn classic: a 2001 examination of why America’s best hospitals were suffering under the existing health care system.
Here are some of the things for which Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson is best known: He opposes abortion rights and signed into law a measure so restrictive the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. He fights with teachers' unions and helped bring a school-voucher pilot program to Milwaukee. Finally, and most famously, he despises welfare, having signed one of the first laws requiring single mothers to work in order to receive government assistance. So it's no wonder conservatives are so gleeful that President-elect George W.
Is the phrase "Dingell-Norwood" as intrinsically funny as, say, "Buttafuoco"? Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts seem to think so. On ABC's "This Week," the pair yukked it up over Al Gore's charge in the final presidential debate that George W. Bush doesn't support the "Dingell-Norwood bill." Dingell-Norwood is an HMO-reform bill currently before Congress, and Gore's reference to it by its proper name struck ABC's Sunday-morning twosome as hysterical.