Democratic lawmakers opposed to federal funding for abortions said Tuesday the House leadership's health care bill contains a "hidden mandate" that would allow taxpayer dollars to be used to end pregnancies.
God, that's a hard question. (Though first of all, I'd call it a loophole rather than a mandate--the bill just doesn't say anything about abortion, which means that insurers that already cover it will continue to do so, possibly funded by the public subsidies of low-income subscribers.)
I've hashed this out before--I'm pro-birth control and sex education and extremely anti-abortion, but I'm more or less reluctantly pro-choice because data says that if it's illegal, it'll still be done, just criminally and unregulated and people will die. (Like pot.) I take a more practical aproach to the whole issue--reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and soon abortion won't be an issue. (Kay, that's really optimistic, but we can reduce the need for it drastically.)
If we change something, that's government interference with private companies, which people scream about. (Mostly the Republicans, which is probably why the article I read talked about how it's Senate Democrats making a fuss about closing the hole, LOL.) 90% of private insurers cover abortions (which flabbergasted me until I realized that they probably just cover it some minimal percentage that they cover any gynecological surgical procedure by an approved provider), so the government just steps in and is all "Umm, sorry. Change your practice. You don't get to cover that anymore, even if you have no publicly-subsidized clients, because, you know, how can we tell that you have no subsidized folk?"
And on the other hand, I'm way
not comfortable with my tax money (that I pay way goddamn too much of for a kid who's only income is a freaking scholarship--I'll bitch about this again; I've got a full ride, room/board monies included, and all of that went straight back to the school, but because they didn't, idk, waive my tuition or something, they actually deposited money into my account, I had to pull some > $600 out of my savings to pay the taxes on it) going to abortions. And since the money goes to people who can then use it for whatever insurance provider they want, the only way to ensure that I'm not contributing to this is to stop all of them from covering it.
Huh. Legally, infringing the right to an abortion is a no-no, so they're just going to end up having to not do anything and leave the loophole or whatever in, but it might be yet another interesting fight to derail the healthcare bill (that I'm not paying nearly enough attention to considering I'll prolly have to buy into it when I age out of my parents' plans and still have mounting education debt).
Also interesting, a study from the Department of Transportation
that was blocked from release in 2003 and just gotten under the Freedom of Information Act says that your driving sucks just as bad whether you're talking on a regular cell phone or a bluetoooth, handsfree thing. Makes sense--I mean, most of the distraction is cognitive. More so if you're a business type person or taking important calls, it says, because you've got to pay a lot more attention to that. At first, I was like "Okay, so places with cellphone bans move to banning even hands free stuff, but then isn't having a conversation with somebody in the car going to be just as bad? How about listening to NPR or other high-brow talk radio? Ban that too?" But you really can see how
It's funny, because most of the time when they talk about cellphone driving laws, it seems directed towards the stupid teenagers, when according to this, it's businessfolk that are the problem. Except for texting, natch. But it's not like you can really get caught texting like you can get pulled over when they see you with a phone in your ear, so that's rather impossible to enforce.
Moar news.Prometheus Laboratories
v. Mayo Collaborative Services et al.
is heading for the federal circuit in early August
. Hells yes. I've long been of the opinion that medical patenting has gone WAY too far. For instance, what this case is about: testing for metabolites of a drug to see how well the drug is working in somebody's system. Sure, patent your little kit for doing so, whatever, but if a lay person can walk up and say "Oh, because if there's lots, it means there's lots of drug being metabolized!" and get it just like that, it's way too common sense to patent the process.
If Prometheus wins, I kinda want Obama to step in there and be all "Dude. Judge-types. We're over here trying to make healthcare less expensive and you're on the other side of the beltway screwing us over by making sure that every one of this whole category of tests has to be run through your company. WTF. See if I put any of you
on the Supreme Court now." I can see it coming out as sort of a compromise decision--the company gets the patent on testing for this drug because Mayo's simply changing the threshold numbers the test looks for is too derivative, but. . . I don't know. Mayo's kinda been a sneaky little bitch by trying to avoid the patent like that, but in my world, that kind of a patent is invalid anyway. I mean, what, can only one company in the word do a CBC too? Counting eosinophils, we did that in microbiology, should we have to have licensed that process first? No way.
And finally? Interesting food fact. I tried this out when we had a fire in the backyard a couple of times this week (it's been unseasonably cool and wonderful lately) and didn't feel like pigging out on s'mores but also didn't want to lose the opportunity to make them for later, so I made a bunch, wrapped them up (some in foil, some in wax paper--the latter first just because I couldn't find the foil at first, but then switched when I did because I had to tape the wax paper to get it to stay, and the tape didn't stick well) and froze them. I made the mistake of trying to eat the first two when they were still frozen, and then the graham cracker just turns to powder in your first bite, though the innards are good, but the other two I'm eating right now, and I let them thaw first and it's marvelous. So. Has discovered that that works. I mean, you lose out on the warm and gooey, but I can still taste that campfirey-marshmallow flavor. Win.