CBCradio

March 23, 2010

Pt 1: U.S. Health Care - We started this segment with a clip of Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi. On Sunday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that will fundamentally re-invent the American healthcare system. Today US President Obama will sign the bill into law to extend coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and prevent insurers from denying coverage on the basis of existing medical conditions. According to Congressional analysts, it will cost about 940-Billion-dollars over 10 years.

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Pt 2: The Art of Choosing - For a lot of people -- especially here in North America -- choice is a bedrock value. We equate it with freedom, empowerment. But we don't always make good choices. Our choices can be irrational. They can go against what's good for us in the long-term. They can even go against what we actually desire.

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Pt 3: Ice Roads - We started this segment with a clip of Chris Buss. He's a truck-driver. Last week, he drove out of St. Theresa Point in northern Manitoba and headed south for Winnipeg. St. Theresa Point is a remote native community. The only time you can drive in at all is during the winter, when the ice freezes solidly enough to make ice roads.

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It's Tuesday, March 23rd.

Republican Senator John McCain says he is repulsed by all the euphoria over the passage of the health care legislation.

Currently, on the up side, "Repulsed by Euphoria" is a condition covered by the new health care bill.

This is The Current

U.S. Health Care - Jay Bhattacharya

We started this segment with a clip of Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi. On Sunday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that will fundamentally re-invent the American healthcare system. Today US President Obama will sign the bill into law to extend coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and prevent insurers from denying coverage on the basis of existing medical conditions. According to Congressional analysts, it will cost about 940-Billion-dollars over 10 years.

To help understand what the new healthcare bill means, we were joined by Jay Bhattacharya. He's a medical doctor. He's also a professor of medicine and a health economist with the Center for Health Policy at Stanford University. He was in Los Altos, California.

U.S. Health Care - Panel

President Obama's health care reform is most certainly the product of lofty ideas. But it is also the result of very pragmatic political wrangling. In order to get the bill passed, President Obama had to promise to sign an executive order saying that no federal funds will be used for abortions. That would go against the stance he had taken on the issue previously. To some, that's just the cost of doing politics. But to others, it's a compromise that goes too far.

For their thoughts on the issue, we were joined by Frances Kissling. She is a visiting scholar at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. She's also the former President of Catholics for a Free Choice. She was in Washington. And Toby Moffett is a former Democratic Congressperson for Connecticut. He's now the chairman of the Moffett Group, a political consulting firm. He was also in Washington.



The Art of Choosing

For a lot of people -- especially here in North America -- choice is a bedrock value. We equate it with freedom, empowerment. But we don't always make good choices. Our choices can be irrational. They can go against what's good for us in the long-term. They can even go against what we actually desire.

Sheena Iyengar has been thinking a lot about why we place such a premium on something we can be so bad at. She's a professor of business at Columbia University. Her new book is called The Art of Choosing and she was in our Toronto studio.



Ice Roads - Chief Ron Evans

We started this segment with a clip of Chris Buss. He's a truck-driver. Last week, he drove out of St. Theresa Point in northern Manitoba and headed south for Winnipeg. St. Theresa Point is a remote native community. The only time you can drive in at all is during the winter, when the ice freezes solidly enough to make ice roads.

But last week, the weather warmed up, the ice turned to mush and drivers such as Chris Buss were left stranded for days until rescuers -- including Chris' brother Shawn -- could get to them.They're now safely back in Winnipeg where they spoke to the CBC's Arthie Pole.

About 30,000 Manitobans in 20 communities depend exclusively on ice roads. Normally, the ice road system is open for about eight weeks. And in that time, trucks haul about 2,500 shipments of fuel, groceries and construction materials up from the south.

Ron Evans says that's just not good enough. He is the Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and he was in Winnipeg.

Ice Roads - Ernie Gilroy

We started this segment with Chris and Shawn Buss describing what passes for roads in some parts of northern Manitoba. As we mentioned, the Manitoba Government has begun a project to build some all-season roads into communities that are now served only by ice roads. The project is overseen by a government agency called the Eastside Road Authority. Ernie Gilroy is the authority's CEO and he was in Winnipeg.

Ice Roads - Barry Prentice

Now a system of permanent roads is certainly one option for the remote communities in Northern Manitoba. But Barry Prentice thinks he has a better one. He's a transportation economist at the University of Manitoba. He's also a member of ISO Polar, a not-for-profit group promoting the use of airships in the North. Barry Prentice was in Winnipeg.

Music Bridge

Artist: Five Stone
Cd: Five Stone
Cut: 1, You Do Some Crazy
Label: November Dixteen Publishing

Last Word - Stupak

We gave the last word to Bart Stupak. He's a Democrat from Michigan and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He started out opposing the health care bill because he believed it would allow federal funding to be used for abortions in cases that went beyond the current limits. But he switched sides once President Obama pledged to leave the existing limits in place.

Bart Stupak stood to speak in the House of Representatives shortly after the vote on Sunday. But he was interrupted by shouts from the floor. Among them, the words "baby killer." We aired his speech in defence of the health care bill.


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