For far too long, conservatives have failed to coalesce around a long-term vision of what a free-market healthcare system should look like. Republican attention to healthcare, in turn, has only arisen sporadically, in response to Democratic initiatives.
DEVELOPING: GlaxoSmithKline Plc has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $3 billion to settle the largest case of healthcare fraud in U.S. history, according to court filings and prosecutors.
The settlement includes $1 billion in criminal fines and $2 billion in civil fines in connection with the sale of the drug company’s Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia products.
Religious leaders lay on the ground and pray over a bible and a copy of the verdict on President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare overhaul law outside the Supreme Court in Washington June 28, 2012.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama’s healthcare law on Thursday in an election-year triumph for him and fellow Democrats and a stinging setback for Republican opponents of the most sweeping overhaul of the unwieldy U.S. healthcare system in about a half century. [REUTERS/Jason Reed]
A sharply divided Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare overhaul law that requires that most Americans get insurance by 2014 or pay a financial penalty.
“The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court’s majority in the opinion.
“Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” he concluded. The vote was 5-4.
READ MORE: Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act
A new Reuters/Ipsos online poll of 1,143 adults from May 7 to 10 captures some of the prejudicial attitudes. Asked to identify the main cause of the epidemic, 61 percent chose “personal choices about eating and exercising”; 19 percent chose the actions of food manufacturers and the fast-food industry. The poll is accurate to within 3.6 percentage points. Because of the methods used to collect the data, accuracy is measured using a statistical measure called a credibility interval.
Reflecting the belief that the obese have only themselves to blame, 49 percent of respondents favored allowing insurers to charge obese people more for health insurance.
Poll respondents also showed broad support for efforts that target the food industry: 56 percent wanted to limit advertising of unhealthy food or taxing sugared soda, 77 percent were in favor of calorie counts at restaurants and sport arenas. But an all-out ban on fast-food restaurants? America loves its Big Macs: Only 21 percent said yes.
READ MORE: America’s hatred of fat hurts obesity fight
The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives defied a White House veto threat on Friday and voted to take money from President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare overhaul to pay for an extension of low-interest federal student loans.
Democrats and Republicans have until July to find an election-year compromise. That’s when the rate is set to double on Stafford loans to 6.8 percent for more 7 million students, who represent an important voting bloc.
On a mostly party-line vote of 215-195, the House sent the measure to the Senate where Obama’s Democrats are certain to reject it.
Like Obama, Senate Democrats want to renew the low interest rate for students, but favor covering the $6 billion cost for one year by ending a tax break for the rich.
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