The WonkLine: January 26, 2009

This morning, the Wonk Room introduces The WonkLine, a daily 10 a.m. roundup of the latest news about health care, the economy, national security and climate policy. This is what we’re reading. Tell us what you found in the comments section below.



Health Care

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) said he will pursue tax reform only after overhauling the health-care system and said “there’s no question” both can be completed by the end of 2010.

As the economy worsens, “hospitals across Iowa are seeing higher numbers of uninsured patients seeking free care.”

The pharmaceutical industry wants to set a new standard at the World Trade Organization that would limit governments’ ability to set limits on what they will pay for prescription drugs.

National Security

The Washington Post reports on Palestinian children traumatized by the Gaza war.

The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer reports on the Obama team’s meetings with the CIA, noting that waterboarding “has gone the way of the rack.”

McClatchy reports that two Bahamian politicians and a paramedic are in custody in the Bahamas in connection with an alleged plot to extort money from American national treasure John Travolta after the sudden death of his 16-year-old son there earlier this month.


Business groups are “ramping up lobbying efforts ” to expand industry tax cuts in the economic recovery package.

Robert Reich: Boost the purchasing power of the middle class by expanding unions.

Former Treasury Secretary Paulson’s “inability to restore confidence in the financial system” may have an unanticipated benefit for his successor.


Scientists report unchecked global warming could increase oceanic dead zones by ten times or more.

An internal memo reveals the Tennessee Valley Authority attempted to minimize the Kingston coal ash spill with “risk assessment talking points.”

A provision inserted into the House economic recovery package restricts smart-grid funding to Internet-based protocols, even though experts believe “it’s premature to pick a winner for smart grid technologies.”