During the Bush years, when abstinence-only education got an unprecedented boost in federal money, many liberal critics pointed to studies showing such programs failed to delay sexual activity among teenagers and had a negative impact on condom use. But a new study released this week seemed to turn this consensus on its head, as Hanna Rosin explains on the XX Factor: The study reported yesterday that shows a certain abstinence curriculum to be effective was, in fact, an excellent study. Unlike previous studies, it looked at the most updated curriculum.
As Democratic leaders scramble to salvage the imperiled reform bill, Congressional liberals seem increasingly wary about a plan that would ask the House to pass the current version of the Senate bill and send the bill directly to Obama’s desk. “The House needs to be very careful about not merely rubber-stamping the Senate bill and sending that to the president… I just don’t think it’s wise policy or wise politics to merely regurgitate [it],” Rep. Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told me this morning.
Politico’s Patrick O’Connor reports that the biotech lobby is threatening to back Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown’s bid for Senate in a last-ditch effort to strengthen in its hand in the health-care negotiations: The state chapter went as far as drafting a press release to endorse Brown, according to multiple people on a Friday conference call that included industry lobbyists. The Bay State has a thriving biotechnology industry, giving the group sway this close to the election. But so far, the group hasn't sent the release or offered an official endorsement.
The pharmaceutical industry is now threatening to jettison the reform bill if Democrats decide to roll back the legislation's 12-year exclusivity period for biologic drugs, as Obama is pushing for in the final negotiations. The Wall Street Journal quotes a letter that PhRMA president Billy Tauzin sent out to the trade groups members: “Mr. Waxman is pushing hard, with the support of the President, to drop our 12-year FOB period down,” wrote Tauzin, referring to Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
As top Democrats wrapped up a marathon meeting with Obama this evening, other signs of their endgame for the bill also began to emerge. CongressDaily’s Anna Edney reports that Democratic leaders are pushing Big Pharma for more than they originally settled upon in the Senate bill: Congressional leaders are asking the pharmaceutical industry to cough up an additional $10 billion to help pay for the healthcare overhaul as they search for revenue to fund what will likely be a more expensive final bill than the one the Senate produced last month.
Barring a last-minute political revolt or disaster, the Democratic health-care bill is still looking likely to pass within the upcoming weeks. But even after that happens, Obama’s work to bring health reform to the country will only have begun. David Leonhardt warns of the immense challenges that surround actually implementing the bill’s sweeping provisions.
Under heavy political fire from left and right for his so-called “Cornhusker Kickback,” Ben Nelson said Thursday that he has begun negotiating with the Senate leadership to expand his Medicaid funding deal to all states.
Though Republicans were among the first to assail Ben Nelson’s Medicaid carve-out for Nebraska, they’ve hardly been the only critics of the deal and the bill’s expansion of the entitlement program. In recent weeks, Blue State governors and other officials have piled on the Democratic leaders of the reform effort for forcing their states to pony up too much for the Medicaid expansion. Even Democratic allies who had previously been supportive of the reform effort – including Mike Bloomberg, David Paterson, and Arnold Schwezenegger – have begun airing their criticisms.
Despite reports yesterday that the White House had reached an agreement with legislators on the immigration provisions in the health-care bill, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus today denied that they had struck such a bargain with the Democratic leadership, and one leading Hispanic Representative said that he had not yet been approached about the matter. "The CHC's position remains the same: It opposes provisions in the Senate health care bill that would negatively impact immigrants," a CHC spokesperson told Ben Smith this afternoon.
Christina Bellantoni has the scoop today on a potential deal between the White House and legislators who oppose the immigration restrictions that are in Senate version of the health care bill: Lawmakers who want to extend health coverage to illegal immigrants will not block the passage of the final health care reform bill so long as the White House offers a substantive promise to start pushing comprehensive immigration legislation this year. The agreement would quell a potential revolt by members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who threatened to vote against reform if unauthorized immigr