In today's On the News segment: One giant pharmaceutical company just got busted for putting profits ahead of peoples' lives, more than one-third of all the new regulation created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law of 2010 have yet to even be written, a new government sponsored-study shows that the Drug Enforcement Agency just doesn't understand marijuana, scientists may have found evidence of the Higgs Boson, and More.
Karl Frisch here in for Thom Hartmann – on the news...
You need to know this. Now as many as 15 Governors around the nation have indicated they will not participate in Obamacare – and will refuse to take billions of dollars to extend Medicaid health insurance to more poor people in their states. Medicaid expansion is a critical component of President Obama's health reform law – and if executed could extend health insurance coverage to more than 17 million low-income Americans across the nation, at no cost to state governments for the first few years. But rather than taking the money, which hospitals in the states desperately need, more than a dozen Republican Governors are making a political calculation to oppose Obamacare rather than find ways to cover the uninsured. Meanwhile, Democratic Governors do plan to take the money and extend Medicaid coverage – setting up a possible future scenario where masses of poor people may soon be flooding into blue states to get health insurance that was unavailable to them in red states. President Obama hoped the debate over health reform would end after the Supreme Court's ruling last week. However, it looks like it's just beginning.
In screwed news...one giant pharmaceutical company just got busted for putting profits ahead of peoples' lives. In the largest healthcare fraud settlement in U.S. history, British drug maker GlaxSmithKline was slapped with $3 billion in fines after pleading guilty to a number of criminal and civil violations related to 10 drugs the company produces that are taken by millions of Americans. The company illegally promoted the use of anti-depressants like Paxil and Wellbutrin for unapproved uses. It also failed to report safety problems with its drug Avandia after it was discovered it could substantially increase the risk of heart attacks. On top of that, the company defrauded taxpayers by over-charging Medicaid programs for drugs – and routinely gave kickbacks to doctors who prescribed their medicines. Glaxo's CEO apologized for the crimes and claimed his company learn from its mistakes. But how long until the American people learn that profiteers and hucksters have no place in our nation's healthcare system?
In the best of the rest of the news...
Is it a tax or isn't it? Republicans were caught off-message by the Supreme Court's ruling last week, which defined the individual mandate as a tax. Republicans were quick to pounce that the ruling proves President Obama is a tax-raiser – even though CBO calculation project that only 2% to 5% of the population will actually pay the tax rather than buy health insurance. But what Republicans failed to consider is that if President Obama's individual mandate is a tax, then so was their nominee for President Mitt Romney's mandate in Massachusetts. That's created a schism in the Party – with Republican Chairman Reince Preibus declaring the mandate a tax, while the Mitt Romney campaign calls it a penalty. So Republicans have 4 months to figure out just what the heck it is. On the bright side, they've temporarily gotten off their bogus argument that Obamacare is socialism.
Five years after Wall Street started melting down; key regulations to prevent another financial crisis are being delayed or scrapped altogether. More than one-third of all the new regulation created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law of 2010 have yet to even be written. On top of that, the Securities and Exchange Commission has missed the implementation deadlines on 71% of its new rules. One reason why new regulations are being delayed is that Republicans in the House have slashed funding for critical Wall Street watchdogs – and are threatening to defund the Dodd-Frank reform law altogether – giving banksters a chance to turn Wall Street into a casino again.
A new government sponsored-study shows that the Drug Enforcement Agency just doesn't understand marijuana. The study, sponsored by the state of California, and conducted by University of California researchers found that marijuana has numerous medicinal benefits – in particular reducing pain, with only mild side effects. However, the DEA still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug – alongside other drugs that are the most inebriating and have no medical value whatsoever, like ecstasy and heroin. As the authors of the study noted, "Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking...The continuing conflict between scientific evidence and political ideology will hopefully be reconciled in a judicious manner." Based on the mountains of scientific evidence – it seems like this misguided war on marijuana can only last so long.
And finally...in his book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglass Addams reveals the answer to life, the universe, and everything. And that answer is...42. But brushing aside satire for a moment, researchers at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research – or CERN – are expected to announce today that they may have actually found the answer to the universe – a sub-atomic particle known as the Higgs Boson – or the God Particle. After years of smashing together particles underneath Switzerland in a massive $10 billion particle accelerator known as the Large Hadron Collider – scientists may have found evidence of the Higgs Boson – the missing links of the standard model of physics. Scientists have theorized since the 1960's that such a particle exists – and that it is the basis of all other particles – the thing that gives everything we see mass. And I might add, it's far more satisfying answer than the number 42.
And that's the way it is today – Tuesday, July 03, 2012. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.