Headlines: February 8, 2010
by Meg Larkin
In the world of politics, President Obama is planning a bipartisan summit on health care. While the Democrats are hoping that certain provisions that both the House and the Senate agree on may be passed, Republicans insist that the current health care reform proposals must be put to the side. President Obama is calling on Republican lawmakers to offer substantive recommendations for expanding health care coverage at the February 25th meeting.
Many policy aides who were involved in the Clinton health reform attempt are now working to save President Obama’s health reform proposal. Some of the Clinton era aides believe that if the Obama plan fails, America will not see meaningful health reform. According to the Washington Post, “Hillary Clinton has been giving advice, as requested, to lawmakers in Congress and administration officials, and says she's still hopeful.” The Obama plan is more moderate and centrist than the Clinton proposals were, and focuses more on incentives than “command and control.”
In an effort to improve the health of school children, President Obama is launching an initiative to ban junk food in schools. First Lady Michelle Obama will lead the initiative to reduce childhood obesity, which is to be announced by the Secretary of Agriculture today at the National Press Club. While the initiative has broad political support in some areas, the response from schools has been lukewarm. “The legislation would require that all school offerings comply with strict new nutritional guidelines.” While some schools have already changed the food they offer, the new guidelines would be more burdensome, particularly for school lunch programs.
A new survey has raised concerns about the illicit drug abuse habits of aging baby boomers. Researchers are concerned that as the baby boomers age, drug abuse could lead to problems in diagnosing conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Additionally, older people take longer to process drugs, and so the illegal substances remain in the body longer. The authors of the study hope it will encourage primary care doctors to talk to their older patients about their drug usage.
As the winter Olympics approach, anti-doping officials are doing their best to find new tests to combat performance enhancing drug use by athletes. With methods that increase red blood cells or muscle becoming more numerous, many doping prevention methods focus on establishing an individual athlete’s baseline red blood cell count. While establishing a baseline or “biological passport,” has some logistical difficulties, it is currently the preferred method for identifying doping.
Meg Larkin is a second year student at Boston University School of Law. Please feel free to email her with any comments, questions, suggestions, or concerns.