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Daily Archives: April 22, 2007
April 22, 20071:04 a.m.
Senate Republicans blocked a bill last week that would have allowed Medicare to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies. But as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., noted: “HMOs can negotiate. Wal-Mart can negotiate. Why in the world shouldn’t Medicare be able to do that?”
The House passed a similar bill in January, which President Bush threatening to veto. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., helped block the legislation. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., was not present for the voting but supported the block.
Republicans, who tend to receive large donations from pharmaceutical companies, have argued that, because of its size, Medicare could in effect be able to impose price controls if it were able to negotiate. And that might hurt the ability of pharmaceutical companies to cover their research and development costs. But it should be possible to build those costs into the pricing.
Posted by Ross Stewart
April 22, 20071:02 a.m.
To their credit, legislative leaders in both chambers last week offered some substantive — if insufficient — proposals for how to fix the $727 million maintenance backlog at the state universities. The problem will only get worse the longer it goes unaddressed, so some action is called for during the wrap-up session that starts Wednesday. But the $152 million House plan’s local sales-tax component ought to be a nonstarter, because it would off-load the Legislature’s responsibility onto locals. As Sedgwick County Commissioner Tim Norton said, “If it’s called a state university, why are we putting this burden on the six counties that have the universities?”
Posted by Rhonda Holman
April 22, 20071:01 a.m.
The U.S. Census Bureau had calculated the official 2005 poverty rate to be 12.6 percent, or almost 37 million Americans. But the official parameters used –enough pretax income, plus cash benefits from the government, to pay for bare necessities — did not paint an accurate picture. So the bureau recently published 12 alternative measures of poverty, all but one showing higher poverty rates.
According to more realistic measures, such as those suggested by the National Academy of Sciences, the number of Americans living below the poverty level in 2005 was 41.3 million.
Though we will always have the poor among us, we should try to make it easier for those Americans who are trying to climb out of poverty.
Posted by Patrice Hein
April 22, 20071:00 a.m.
Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays, was profoundly moved by a visit to Africa early this month, and he has been vocal since about the need for more attention to the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Asked by The Eagle editorial board whether he thinks the Kansas House should advance the bill to divest the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System from Sudan-linked companies, Moran said through his spokeswoman that he considers it a state issue but that, knowing what he knows now, he’d support divestiture if he were still a state lawmaker. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., also supports divestiture.
The Kansas Senate agreed in a unanimous vote last month. How can the Kansas House sit back and do nothing?
Posted by Rhonda Holman