By Kate Clark
When it comes to funding, Planned Parenthood may have won the recent battle in Congress, but the war is far from over. The agency has been under fire since a pro-life activist group released videos of employees negotiating fetal tissue sales in July. In August and September, Congress gave the nation a scare as Republicans threatened to shutdown the government and refused to vote for any budget that continued Planned Parenthood’s funding. Republicans conceded before the deadline, and federal funding to Planned Parenthood continued.
Planned Parenthood receives federal funding from both Medicaid, allocated from the states, and Title X, a federal program for comprehensive family planning and preventative health services for low-income Americans. Nevertheless, there are considerable regulations that ensure federal funds do not directly fund abortions. The Consolidated and Further Appropriations Act(s) from each of the past several years have prohibited the use of Title X for abortions and for financing clinics that direct clients to abortion in their family planning. Furthermore, the Hyde Amendment prohibits Medicaid spending from going to abortions, except for in the case of rape, incest, or life-threatening danger to the mother.
By Ben Paul
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, continues to be the most controversial policy intervention in recent history. The public remains evenly split on the law, and its detractors continue to obstruct its implementation at every turn. Yet, we’ve overlooked one central achievement of the law. Obamacare has led to a dramatic reduction in preventable adverse events (PAEs). This revolution has saved tens of thousands of lives and billions in unnecessary health care costs.
A preventable adverse event is any medical condition or complication acquired in a hospital that better care could have prevented. Examples of PAEs include infections acquired while at the hospital, patient falls, and incorrect drug dosages. One misnomer people have about PAEs is that they are usually a consequence of neglect. In reality, they are typically due to poorly designed care systems that set up health care providers for failure. For example, there might not be standardized medical devices across or within hospitals, physician and nursing teams may be working together for the first time, or medical records may be poorly written and organized.
By Grady Brown
The nation’s budget has taken center stage on Capitol Hill, but one issue area that is gaining momentum outside the spotlight is education. The Federal Government’s two large pieces of education legislation – the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Higher Education Act (HEA) – are both up for reauthorization and Congress has been busy crafting new, reformed legislation. While the reauthorization of both pieces of legislation is long overdue, Congress finally has the impetus it needs to potentially reshape the federal role in education.
There is no better time for a revamped and refocused approach to higher education. The average student debt in the United States is $28,000. In Virginia, nearly 60 percent of students have student debt, averaging around $25,750.
The notion that college is becoming increasingly expensive isn’t new. An alarming 80 percent of Gallup Poll respondents said college was not affordable. With an economy that increasingly demands higher education, Congress can act in a number of ways to increase access to higher education through reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.