Tuesday, March 27, 2012

  • Healthcare Debate: As Supreme Court Hears Landmark Case, Does Law Do Enough to Fix Health Crisis?


    As the Supreme Court weighs whether the Affordable Care Act goes too far, we host a debate on whether the law goes far enough. The case is reviving the heated tensions that surrounded the healthcare reform law in the debate leading up to its passage two years ago. Although support for the measure is often equated with backing the expansion of health coverage for all Americans, there are some who maintain it didn’t go far enough in helping the uninsured. We speak to Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, and Dr. John McDonough, who played a key role in shaping Mitt Romney’s healthcare reform law in Massachusetts as well as the Affordable Care Act. The new healthcare law is "going to leave tens of millions of Americans woefully underinsured, with gaps in their coverage like copayments and deductibles, so they’ll still be bankrupted by illness. And it’s not going to control cost," Woolhandler argues. "So we still need single-payer national health insurance regardless of what happens at the Supreme Court." But McDonough notes that "the moment when there would be sufficient political will for the Congress and the president to come together and pass meaningful, near-comprehensive reform, that might take another 20 years." [includes rush transcript]

  • Pentagon Stays Silent on Whether Suspect in Afghan Massacre Took Controversial Anti-Malaria Drug


    As Staff. Sgt. Robert Bales is charged with murdering 17 Afghans, we speak with reporter Mark Benjamin, who revealed the Pentagon recently launched an emergency review of a controversial anti-malaria drug known to induce psychotic behavior. Mefloquine, also called Lariam, is used to protect soldiers from malaria, but has been known to have side effects including paranoia and hallucinations. It has been implicated in a number of suicides and homicides, including within U.S. military ranks. In 2009, the Army decreed that soldiers who’ve suffered traumatic brain injuries should not be given the drug. But this month, just nine days after Bales’ shooting rampage, the Army issued an emergency decree calling for the review to be expedited. "The military announced that this drug should not be given to people who have brain problems like traumatic brain injuries," Benjamin says. "What the military has discovered is that out on the battlefield, those rules aren’t being followed, and some soldiers who do have these kinds of problems are getting this drug." The Pentagon says there’s no connection between its review of mefloquine and the murders, but it’s refused to confirm or deny whether Bales was given the drug. Benjamin reports for the Huffington Post that the Pentagon initially ordered the review of mefloquine in January. [includes rush transcript]

  • Judi Bari Revisited: New Film Exposes FBI Coverup of 1990 Car Bombing of California Environmentalist


    In 1990, a pipe bomb went off under the seat of legendary Earth First! activist Judi Bari as she drove to a demonstration to stop timber companies from clearcutting old-growth redwood trees. Bari was almost killed. After the incident, the FBI arrested Bari and her passenger, Darryl Cherney, for building the bombs themselves, but the pair later sued the FBI and won more than $4 million in damages. To this day, the question remains: Who bombed Judi Bari? That’s the title of a new documentary produced by Cherney, who joins us to discuss Bari’s passionate activism and the history of death threats against her. Bari died from cancer in 1997, but the legal case continues with an ongoing lawsuit against the FBI to prevent it from destroying evidence that could contain the bomber’s DNA. [includes rush transcript]