National Journal Online

U.S. Health Care System Losing Ground, Advocacy Group Reports

The U.S. health care system still scores a not-quite-good-enough, failing to save lives that could easily have been saved and racking up enormous bills with little to show for it, according to a report released on Tuesday by an advocacy group.

There are some elements in the 2010 health care law that may eventually improve things, but overall, the United States is not getting better, the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System found.

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 6:40pm

Phone Fund Overhaul Has Companies Scrambling For Money

Go into any home in the American countryside—not matter how remote—­and you are able to make a landline phone call at an affordable price. It’s easy to forget that wouldn’t be the case without the U.S. government.

An $8 billion subsidy fund helps make landline phone service more affordable for low-income and rural households. Congress created the so-called Universal Service Fund (USF) in the 1996 update to the Communications Act for this purpose.  Consumers pay into the fund through a line item on their landline telephone bills.

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 6:40pm

Coalition Urges SupComm To Reform Medicare Spending, Not Cut

In yet another example of groups trying sway the Super Committee, a coalition of advocacy organizations has launched a website and been buying ads in political newspapers urging lawmakers to "fight fraud first" before it makes cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 6:40pm

Unlike in Israel, Missing U.S. Soldiers' Plight Not a National Struggle

In the years since their capture in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and Army Staff Sgt. Ahmed Altaie have been largely forgotten by both Washington and the American public. There have been no protests demanding the government make whatever concessions necessary to win their release. Most Americans don’t even know their names.

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 6:40pm

Today's e-Reads Updated: Apple Sales Falter, And Groupon's Value Drops

Apple failed to set a new sales record and its financial results came in below expectations -- a rare miss for the company, the Washington Post reports.

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 6:40pm

Unlike in Israel, Missing U.S. Soldiers' Plight Not National Struggle

In the years since their capture in Afghanistan and Iraq, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and Army Staff Sgt. Ahmed Altaie have been largely forgotten by both Washington and the American public.  There have been no protests demanding the government make whatever concessions necessary to win their release.  Most Americans don’t even know their names.

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 5:41pm

Avakian Hits the Tea Party in First Ad

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian is out with his first television ad just ahead of next month's 1st District special election. The 30-second spot goes after the Tea Party instead of Avakian's Democratic rivals.
In "Ticked Off," Avakian is blunt, saying he's "ticked off about what's going on. These Tea Party Republicans trying to end Medicare and roll back the clock on women? It's crazy. And you see Congress doing nothing while we struggle."

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 5:41pm

Obama to School Students: Yes, I Know Justin Bieber

President Obama switched gears from policy to pop culture on Tuesday, stopping to answer the question of a high-schooler in Virginia during his swing through Virginia.

"Do you know Justin Bieber," a female student at Bluestone High School in Skipwith, Va., asked the president, according to a pool report. "I do," Obama said, adding later but "I think he's got a girlfriend."

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 5:41pm

Ricardo Sanchez Reports Weak Fundraising Quarter

Seeking to gin up enthusiasm about an expanding the 2012 Senate map, national Democrats touted the candidacy of retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez when he entered the Texas Senate race in the spring. But Sanchez has maintained a low profile so far and his latest fundraising numbers aren't impressive.

In the third quarter, Sanchez brought in just $83,000, spending over $112,000 and finishing the quarter with about $119,000 in the bank. The three major GOP candidates each had over seven-figures in their accounts at the close of the quarter.

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 5:41pm

White House Immigration Message: We’re Tough

It is no accident the Obama administration is touting a record number of deportations for the second year in a row. If Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has one immigration-related mission, it is to remind people as often and as firmly as possible that the United States is tougher than ever on illegal immigration.

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 5:41pm