America's healthcare costs are rising faster than any place else in the world, but Americans are not getting healthier. We hear about doctors, patients, insurance companies and the promises of presidential candidates. Also, Congress lets the electronic wiretaping shield expire, and between primaries, Obama and Clinton are battling for super-delegates who could finally decide the Democratic nomination.
FROM THIS EPISODE
The Congress has gone on a twelve-day recess without the House agreeing with the Senate to make permanent an electronic surveillance law that expires tomorrow at midnight. President Bush says Democratic leaders are putting the country in danger. Jim Oliphant is national legal affairs correspondent for the Chicago Tribune.
James Oliphant, Chicago Tribune
The cost of healthcare is rising all over the world, but nowhere faster than in the United States, even though more spending does not mean better health. In five years, the cost of health insurance premiums rose 87% in the US, four times faster than the growth in wages. Law enforcement officials in New York and California are investigating claims that insurance companies rig what they pay providers and dump patients after they get sick. But insurance, which is 25% of the cost, isn't the only thing that's driving up costs. Will the broader coverage promised by political candidates lead to better results? Are doctors and their patients helping to drive up costs by demanding more healthcare than they really need?
Uwe Reinhardt, Princeton University (@uwejreinhardt)
Jon Kingsdale, Executive Director, Commonwealth Connector
Shannon Brownlee, New America Foundation (@shannonbrownlee)
N. Thomas Connally, retired doctor of internal medicine
The Service Employees International Union, which represents two million public employees all over the US, endorsed Barack Obama today. Its president, Andy Stern, says, since union leaders met with the candidates last fall, "The excitement has been building for Obama." Meantime, the battle continues over super delegates, including the much-admired civil rights veteran John Lewis, a Congressman from Atlanta. Shailagh Murray is covering the Obama campaign for the Washington Post.
Shailagh Murray, Congressional Correspondent, Washington Post