Sunday, August 12, 2007


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The New York Times

August 12, 2007
World's Best Medical Care?

Many Americans are under the delusion that we have "the best health caresystem in the world," as President Bush sees it, or provide the "bestmedical care in the world," as Rudolph Giuliani declared last week. That maybe true at many top medical centers. But the disturbing truth is that thiscountry lags well behind other advanced nations in delivering timely andeffective care.

Michael Moore struck a nerve in his new documentary, "Sicko," when heextolled the virtues of the government-run health care systems in France,England, Canada and even Cuba while deploring the failures of the largelyprivate insurance system in this country. There is no question that Mr.Moore overstated his case by making foreign systems look almost flawless.But there is a growing body of evidence that, by an array of pertinentyardsticks, the United States is a laggard not a leader in providing goodmedical care.

Seven years ago, the World Health Organization made the first major effortto rank the health systems of 191 nations. France and Italy took the top twospots; the United States was a dismal 37th. More recently, the highlyregarded Commonwealth Fund has pioneered in comparing the United States withother advanced nations through surveys of patients and doctors and analysisof other data. Its latest report, issued in May, ranked the United Stateslast or next-to-last compared with five other nations - Australia, Canada,Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom - on most measures ofperformance, including quality of care and access to it. Other comparativestudies also put the United States in a relatively bad light.


The New York Times

August 12, 2007
Ohio Pushes Added Leave for Maternity

CINCINNATI, Aug. 11 - The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is pushing for abroad expansion of benefits for pregnant workers.

If its proposals are adopted, Ohio would join 18 states that requireemployers to offer maternity leaves that exceed those mandated by thefederal Family and Medical Leave Act. That law offers workers at businesseswith 50 or more employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave for infant care.

Expectant mothers must have worked for a business for a year, or 1,250hours, to be eligible.

The Ohio commission has proposed that businesses with four or more employeesoffer 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave to pregnant employees, regardlessof how long they have worked for the businesses.

Workers not eligible under the federal law would need a doctor's orders toqualify.


The New York Times

Romney Wins Iowa's GOP Poll
Victory Highlights Strategy Difference With Giuliani
By Dan Balz and Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, August 12, 2007; A01

AMES, Iowa, Aug. 11 -- With a convincing victory in the Republican strawpoll here Saturday, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney vaultedhimself into the next phase of a presidential nomination battle pitting histraditional early-state strategy against a more unorthodox approach bynational front-runner Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Romney's win in the nonbinding Ames contest, sealed by his appeals to theparty's conservative base and generous spending all around the state,underscored his attempt to concentrate time and resources on the openingstates of Iowa and New Hampshire, believing that early victories will propelhim to the nomination.

Giuliani, who is at odds with GOP conservatives on abortion and gay rights,skipped the Iowa test run as part of a blueprint for victory that is lessdependent upon winning the first two voting states. Giuliani strategists seea flock of big states holding their contests in late January and on thefirst Tuesday in February as the former New York mayor's best chance tosecure the nomination.


The Washington Post

The Refugee Crisis
Helping Iraqis who helped us
Sunday, August 12, 2007; B06

AS MANY AS 110,000 Iraqis may be targeted as collaborators for helping U.S., coalition or foreign reconstruction efforts. These Iraqis and their familiesare frequently at risk of kidnapping, murder and persecution. At least 257translators have already been killed, according to Human Rights First.

As a result, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has referredmore than 8,000 Iraqis to the United States for resettlement this yearalone. Yet fewer than 200 have been admitted. This embarrassingly slowtrickle of resettled refugees -- Sweden takes more than 1,000 each month --motivated Ryan C. Crocker, the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, to write a cablelast month urging the administration to guarantee visas for all Iraqishelping the United States.

The obstacles Iraqis face to be recommended by the UNHCR make these lowresettlement rates all the more astonishing. Iraqis cannot apply for refugeestatus from within Iraq; they must first brave the dangers of crossing aborder. If they make it, those fleeing violence and persecution may alsofind that because of a broad legal provision disqualifying refugees who haveprovided "material support" to terrorist organizations they can be deniedresettlement in the United States if they have paid ransoms for kidnappedrelatives. According to Human Rights First, in some cases involvingkidnappings the UNHCR has decided not to refer even deserving applicants tothe United States out of concern that the irrational "material support"provision will bar them from entry.


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