The swine flu tested the public health system this week as new cases emerged across the country. P.J. Crowley and Andy Grotto noted the Centers for Disease Control’s response was swift and strong, but more could still be done to improve preparedness for pandemics in the future. One CDC recommendation, to stay home if you feel sick, is not an option for many American workers who don’t get paid sick days, wrote Heather Boushey. This is true for 86 percent of food service workers, increasing the chances they will pass it on to customers in the event of a pandemic.
Health reform also continued to be an issue on Capitol Hill, and comparative effectiveness research provisions in particular have come under attack. Ellen-Marie Whelan explains why this research, which compares the effectiveness of different treatments for the same illness, will actually lead to better health care.
Faith and Progressive Policy
In March President Barack Obama announced plans to rescind former President George W. Bush’s midnight regulation that dramatically expanded conscience clauses in health care. It would allow providers to refuse services based on religious or ethical grounds. Sally Steenland explained the problems of conscience clauses in a video and CAP issued guidelines for resolving conflicts of conscience. An event at CAP also provided a lively discussion of the topic.
The economy continues to shrink, but consumption is expanding thanks to the stimulus, wrote Christian E. Weller. Heather Boushey explained with an interactive graphic how the economic crisis is specifically affecting women: Job losses are disproportionately targeting male-dominated fields, meaning more women are becoming the primary breadwinners. This puts families under even more economic strain as women, on average, only make 78 cents to the male dollar, just one of many persistent trends documented in CAP’s equal pay fact sheet .
Energy and the environment
In light of the Major Economies Forum this week, Andrew Light and Nina Hachigian reflected on the importance of making China a partner in climate change policy. While China might be the largest carbon emitter now, historically the United States held this role. Kari Manlove wrote that this status means we have a responsibility to help vulnerable countries adapt to global warming.
And advancing America’s use of alternative energy sources will not only reduce emissions but will also help secure America’s energy independence, wrote Shiyong Park, Winny Chen, and Rudy deLeon.