Welcome to 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.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will meet with President Obama today before addressing Congress tomorrow. Brown has called for a “global new deal,” a concerted international effort to deal with the global financial crisis.
President Obama sent a letter to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev suggesting that the U.S. might halt the deployment of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe in exchange for Russian help in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.
The Washington Times reports that “the U.S. Defense Department thinks Mexico’s two most deadly drug cartels together have fielded more than 100,000 foot soldiers — an army that rivals Mexico’s armed forces and threatens to turn the country into a narco-state.”
An independent survey confirms that “half of U.S. hospitals are losing money,” suggesting that the recession may have “serious implications for the willingness of hospitals to invest in health information technology.”
On Friday, MedPac released “several recommendations for Medicare spending in 2010.” Echoing President Obama’s health initiatives, the group reiterated its support for increasing “payments to primary care providers and decrease payments to private insurers in Medicare Advantage.”
A new group “led by the former owner of the Hospital Corporation of America is beginning a multimillion-dollar campaign Tuesday in opposition” to Obama’s health care plan.
According to state and federal data, “criminal correction spending is outpacing [state] budget growth in education, transportation and public assistance”; corrections spending quadrupled in the last two decades.
The value of college savings plans “fell 21 percent last year, a loss of $23.4 billion, as the bear market left American families with less money for tuition and put pressure on schools to increase financial aid.”
Citigroup has announced a new program that “will temporarily lower mortgage payments to an average of $500 a month for certain borrowers who have recently lost their jobs and are at least 60 days behind on their mortgage payments.”
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is blocking President Obama’s top science picks, Dr. John Holdren and Dr. Jane Lubchenco, “as leverage to get Senate leaders’ attention for a matter related to Cuba.”
“Scottish birds could be wiped out” as global warming drives up temperatures, scientists report: from the Scottish crossbill, the common snow bunting, the ptarmigan and the dotterel in the Highlands, to the common scoter and the red-necked pharalope in the lochs.
The Supreme Court hears arguments today about Massey Coal executive Don Blankenship’s “brazen” effort to overturn damages by spending millions to elect a personal friend to the West Virginia Supreme Court.