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Republicans have put Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress; state legislatures are missing people from working-class jobs, and FDA has advice for formulating the next COVID vaccine for a new strain.

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House Republicans vote to hold AG Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress. The Senate battles it out over federal protections for in vitro fertilization. North Dakota becomes the first state to impose an age cutoff to run for Congress.

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Rural America's job growth is up, but still hasn't recovered from the pandemic, about one in five rural Americans lives in a town with a prison, rural women seeking birth control have a new option, and dark skies beckon as summer arrives.

VA Organizing Project: Everyone Has A Right to Health Care

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Monday, March 9, 2009   

Washington - A consumer watchdog group is reporting that health insurance companies have given $2.2 million to top lawmakers in the U.S. Congress, and pharmaceutical companies have contributed more than $3.3 million. Consumer Watchdog, a California-based advocacy group, reviewed federal election data from 2005 to 2008 to write the report. The group's announcement comes as lawmakers, unions and policy makers hold closed-door meetings this week on reforming health care.

Liz Riggin of the Virginia Organizing Project says it's too easy for those at the top to lose sight of the more than 45 million Americans who go without care.

"The concept is relatively simple: People in America should not be going without health care. Children should not have to wait until they have to go to the emergency room because things have gotten so bad."

Riggin is publishing an open letter to Virginians this week based on her work as a social worker in a high-risk obstetrics unit. Riggin fears it's far too easy for decisionmakers to overlook basic health care for all Americans.

"In a dream world, I would like to see that everybody - no matter what their socioeconomic status is, no matter what job they have or don't have - has access to basic health care."

Riggin notes that the cost for treating many health problems would be greatly reduced if the right preventative care were available.

In the political haggling over health care, the biggest stumbling block is government sponsorship of a plan to compete with private insurers. Some Republican senators warn that forcing insurers to compete with the government would doom true competition, while two labor unions - the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union - dropped out of the discussions, charging that the President's plan is far too conservative.






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