ThinkFast: September 8, 2009

The Washington Post documents the health insurance industry’s use of rescission — “the technical term for canceling coverage on grounds that the company was misled.” Insurers defend the practice, claiming that they “need to be able to cancel policies to control fraud.” If health reform legislation bars companies from screening for preexisting conditions, rescissions should no longer be an issue.

Several House liberals tell Roll Call that “they could support” a health care reform bill that would only include a public option as a fallback plan “depending on how it was structured.” “This is a way to get a bill,” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) said. “I believe it’s worth listening to because I want legislation that is going to, in some shape or form, expand coverage and bring down the cost of health care.”

Although Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was an ardent opponent of the stimulus, he has made federal “crime grants to local law enforcement agencies” an “integral part” of his “political machine.” Perry has made it sound like the money was his idea, saying that Texas “remains dedicated to equipping our law enforcement with the resources necessary to protect our citizens.”

Military observers, soldiers on the ground “and some top Pentagon officials are warning that dispatching even tens of thousands more soldiers and Marines” to Afghanistan “might not ensure success.” The skeptics say that “the heart of the problem” is that “neither Barack Obama’s White House nor the Pentagon has clearly defined America’s mission in Afghanistan.”


The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, a charity organization that provides health services to Afghans, on Monday accused American soldiers of illegally raiding one of their hospitals, damaging property and tying up patients and staff in the process. Anders Fange, the Committee’s country director, told the press, “This is a clear violation of internationally recognized rules and principles.”

Afghanistan’s U.N.-backed Election Complaints Commission “has ordered a number of recounts and audits of votes from last month’s presidential election,” concluding that there was “clear and convincing evidence of fraud.” The Aug. 20 election has been plagued by “claims of mass fraud and ballot-box stuffing against all the main candidates.”

President Obama’s global warming agenda stands in limbo as the administration makes an all-out push to pass health care legislation. “Senate Democrats originally intended to roll out their version of a cap-and-trade climate bill this week, but they have since delayed that schedule until later this month in part because of the brewing battle over health care.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a $2 million ad campaign aimed at defeating the creation of the Obama administration’s proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which would “tightly regulate consumer products including mortgages and credit cards.” Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)’s office called the campaign nothing more than “scare tactics from the likes of big business.”

And finally: Sarah and Todd Palin are up for auction. Dinner with the Palins is one of the items in the 10-day charity auction on eBay for Ride2Recovery, with the opening bid set at $25,000. However, “dinner will be in Palin’s home town, Wasilla, deepest Alaska, and the successful bidder will have to get themselves there at their own expense.”

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