The Wonkline: May 28, 2009

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, and subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, you can now follow The Wonk Room on Twitter.



Health Care

Responding to the economic recession, “some employees choose not to receive health treatment to save money on out-of-pocket costs, [but] large percentages of workers are trying to lose weight and live healthier lifestyles to improve their health bottom lines.”

A new study has finds that while “Massachusetts continued to measure gains in the share of residents who reported having a steady source of health care in 2008,” residents are having a hard time using that care, “with growing numbers saying they could not afford needed treatments and many reporting shortages of primary care physicians.”

Yesterday, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said that “an overhaul of the health care system won’t pass the U.S. House of Representatives unless it includes a government-financed insurance plan for consumers.”


The US Energy Information Administration said “global energy demand would leap 44 percent between 2006 and 2030, fueled by a 73-percent rise in demand from non-developed countries,” with carbon dioxide emissions reaching “40.4 billion metric tons by 2030, up from 29 billion in 2006.”

“Sea levels off the northeast coast of North America could rise by 12 to 20 inches more than other coastal areas if the Greenland glacier-melt continues to accelerate at its present pace,” researchers reported.

Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) and Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) repeat the $3,100 MIT tax lie as they scaremonger against the Waxman-Markey green economy legislation in their home districts, saying, “First, American families can’t afford this and second, American businesses can’t afford it.”

National Security

The New York Times reports that “one day after North Korea warned of a possible attack against the South, the United States and South Korea ordered their forces here to their highest alert for three years, increasing surveillance flights and satellite reconnaissance to counter what officials termed a ‘grave threat.’”

A day after a major attack in Lahore, “twin motorbike bombs ripped through crowded markets in northwest Pakistan’s Peshawar, killing five people and wounding 100 others on Thursday in the latest deadly attack in the city.”

Amnesty International says that the global economic crisis is negatively impacting human rights. “In its annual report, the group said the downturn had distracted attention from abuses and created new problems.”


USA Today reports that “states hit hardest by the recession received only a few of the government’s first stimulus contracts, even though the glut of new federal spending was meant to target places where the economic pain has been particularly severe.”

The Obama administration is considering creating “a single agency to regulate the banking industry, replacing a patchwork of agencies that failed to prevent banks from falling.”

“With budget deficits soaring and President Obama pushing a trillion-dollar-plus expansion of health coverage, some Washington policymakers are taking a fresh look at a money-making idea long considered politically taboo: a national sales tax.”