$287 billion -- that is how much the U.S. spent
on pharmaceuticals in 2007, representing a significant driver of health
care costs. While spending on hospital and physician care surpass
spending on prescriptions, drugs still account for 14% of all health care expenditures. Combine this with polls that show 70% of Americans believe the drug industry puts profits ahead of people, and it's no wonder that in 2008, at least 540 bills
and resolutions are being considered by states across the country to
reduce prescription drug prices, ensure the quality of medications
covered by public and private health plans, and reduce the undue
influence of pharmaceutical industry marketing - which itself tops out
at $30 billion each year.
The New Hampshire primary voter turnout set
a new record with over 500,000 residents participating in the
Republication and Democratic primaries. While candidates worked hard to
get voters turned out, residents of New Hampshire have an added
advantage: New Hampshire is one of a select number of states that allow voters
to register and vote on election day. Voter registration does close 10
days before the election, but voters that miss the deadline can register and vote on election day.
In the age of Google, citizens expect to be able to find core
information on the Internet about government operations, but as a major
new report being released today highlights, most states are failing on
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared this
year's Nobel Peace Prize with Al
Gore, recently released a
report detailing the negative environmental changes that will result from
climate change, including higher temperatures leading to increased deaths
from more severe heat waves, increased incidence of infectious
diseases, and severe damage to ecosystems. The IPCC report
warned that there were only eight years left to act to prevent the
worst effects of global warming.
On April 3rd, Iowa Governor Chet Culver signed into law HF 653, which provides
Iowans with the opportunity to register and vote on Election Day. Governor
Here in Iowa , we want to make it as easy as possible for Iowans to be
involved in the democratic process. This bill achieves this goal. I strongly
believe getting more people to vote is good for democracy and good for the
future of this state.
This week, an Arkansas bill to ban gay adoption
collapsed in the
House, after passing the state Senate earlier this month. In New
Hampshire, the state House
passed a bill affirming the right of gay couples to jointly adopt
children. Earlier this month, the Colorado House
approved a similar
adoption" bill in a bipartisan vote.
spend $11.4 billion each year on marketing. Much of that is spent on
salespeople, known as "detailers", who visit doctor's offices to pitch
the latest drugs, in order to increase prescriptions for their
company's products-- usually at the expense of older, cheaper, and
often more effective drugs.
One of the most politically challenging, and politically assailable,
decisions a legislator can make is a vote increasing legislative pay.
Yet, with legislative pay a mere pittance in most states, increasing it
is necessary to prevent wealth from becoming a prerequisite to
hold public office.