The WonkLine: August 4, 2010

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 9:30 a.m. roundup of the latest news about health care, the economy, national security, immigration and climate policy. This is what we’re reading. Tell us what you found in the comments section below. You can also follow The Wonk Room on Twitter.

Health Care

“The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last night estimated that the latest version of the Democrats’ plan to extend emergency Medicaid benefits will reduce the federal deficit by almost $1.4 billion over the next decade.” Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will bring the measure to a vote today.

“There are about 95 medical liability claims filed for every 100 physicians — or almost one per doctor — and nearly 61% of physicians age 55 and older have been sued, according to a report released by the American Medical Association and based on a survey of 5,825 “non-federal patient care physicians” conducted in 2007 and 2008.”


“Health care reform hits another milestone next month, with new provisions that include a coverage expansion for young adults and restrictions on an insurer’s ability to impose annual coverage limits or to reject children with pre-existing medical conditions.”


“Fossil fuel is wrecking the one Earth we’ve got,” Bill McKibben writes, “We definitely will need disciplined, nonviolent but very real anger.”

Russia’s record heat “threatens the burgeoning economy” as the death toll from hundreds of wildfires has reached 40, with wheat prices skyrocketing a “the worst drought in at least 50 years in Russia, persistent dry weather in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and other parts of Europe, and excessive rains in Canada may curb supply from some of the world’s biggest exporters.”

This morning, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “will deliver a statement on the flooding in Pakistan,” which has “killed an estimated 1,500 people and displaced more than 3 million over the past week.”

National Security

“The United Nations peacekeeping force in South Lebanon, Unifil, said on Wednesday it had concluded that Israeli forces were cutting trees that lay within their own territory before a lethal exchange of fire with Lebanese Army troops on Tuesday, largely vindicating Israel’s account of how the fighting started.” “Iran’s state media are denying reports that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was targeted in a grenade attack Wednesday.” “Pakistan issued new flood warnings Tuesday as the country battled to cope with the worst floods in living memory, which have affected 3.2 million people and killed up to 1,500.”


“Local and state governments, as well as some companies, are squeezing their employees to work the same amount for less money in cost-saving measures that are often described as a last-ditch effort to avoid layoffs,” the New York Times reports.


The Government Accountability Office yesterday said that several for-profit colleges “encouraged fraud and engaged in deceptive and questionable marketing practices.”

Is Elizabeth Warren, potential nominee to run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, more of a moderate than she is given credit for?