WBEZ | Policy http://www.wbez.org/tags/policy Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Manufacturers want national policy to boost their fortunes http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-28/changing-gears-manufacturers-want-national-policy-boost-their-fortunes-9 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-28/RonBloom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This winter, President Obama took the unusual step of naming Ron Bloom his assistant for manufacturing. But Bloom stepped down in August to return to his family in Pittsburgh. He hasn’t been replaced. This comes as manufacturers in our region are clamoring for attention. Many want a sign that manufacturing policy is a priority.</p><p>They say it’s time for a national manufacturing policy.</p><p>Germany has one. So do Japan and China. And, many manufacturers in the US think we need one too: one document that puts all the existing policies together and says manufacturing matters.</p><p>“There needs to be some sort of coordination at the top level that says all of these things add up to something bigger. And, right now we don’t have that,” says Bill Rayl, who heads the Jackson Area Manufacturers Association near Ann Arbor, Michigan.</p><p>He was at a meeting in Lansing the other week where the topic of a national manufacturing policy came up. Rayl says most of his members are eager for a cohesive strategy that says “that manufacturing is important to national defense and our national economy.”</p><p>Jim McGregor agrees. He’s Vice Chairman of McGregor metalworking in Springfield, Ohio.</p><p>He says there’s just too much uncertainty in the manufacturing sector: uncertainty about regulations, legislation, and policy.</p><p>One reason businesses aren’t spending and hiring more is fear. And, he thinks a cohesive national manufacturing policy could help change that.</p><p>“I think there’s a lot of talk and no action,” McGregor says. “And, we’re passed wishing and hoping."</p><p>“For a long time, I think the preponderant view in Washington was that the decline in manufacturing was number 1, inevitable, and number 2, just fine,” says Ron Bloom.</p><p>If there was anyone in government who could have pushed a manufacturing agenda, it’s him. Until August, he was President Obama’s assistant for manufacturing policy. You might know him as one of the key players in the government’s bailout of GM and Chrysler.</p><p>Injecting taxpayer dollars into the auto industry was one of the most aggressive government actions in decades, but what about before companies fail? What about promoting and helping the ones that can succeed?</p><p>“I don’t think we have a formal, capital-P policy in the sense of something you can look up—a bound volume, as it were,” Bloom says. “We did not think it was a good use of our time to try and formalize a capital-P policy.”</p><p>"What we do have," Bloom says, "is an administration that has pushed a number of initiatives that help manufacturing, if not exclusively."</p><p>“The president pushed very hard and hopefully we’re going to get patent reform. Is that a manufacturing policy? Twothirds of all patents are filed by manufacturing companies. Export promotion, infrastructure spending, allowing capital spending to be depreciated, all areas that are not absolutely to manufacturing, but the preponderance of their benefits go to manufacturing,” Bloom says.</p><p>Unlike Japan and China, American leaders tend to be reluctant to get too involved in private industry. That’s a big reason why the administration doesn’t want to create a document that looks like Industrial Policy. To many, even the term reminds them of something like China’s Five Year Plan or suggests the government picking winners and losers. The flap over the taxpayer losses in failed solar company Solyndra shows what happens when the government gets too involved in one company.</p><p>Ron Bloom says, in general, the government’s role is to help where the market won’t. He says actions like the auto bailout should be the rare exception. Instead, he says government should boost research and development on technologies that might not see a payoff for many years to come.</p><p>The closest thing the administration has to a formal policy is its promotion of so-called advanced manufacturing as an engine for innovation and productivity.</p><p>“Now, that does mean that the aggregate number of jobs per se in manufacturing is not going to be huge,” Bloom says. “But that’s the price of a productive sector. That’s not a bad thing.”</p><p>He says the jobs that do remain will have a bigger effect on the overall economy. After all, he says Walmarts follow auto plants. Not the other way around.</p></p> Wed, 28 Sep 2011 14:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-28/changing-gears-manufacturers-want-national-policy-boost-their-fortunes-9 Fla. Court Decision Plunges Federal Health Law Into Limbo http://www.wbez.org/story/health/fla-court-decision-plunges-federal-health-law-limbo <p><p>There's only one thing that seems pretty clear about the constitutionality of the provision of the health law that requires most individuals to either have insurance or pay a penalty starting in the year 2014: The final say is likely to come from the Supreme Court.</p><p>But that's not likely to happen for at least another year or two. In the meantime, Monday's <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/02/01/133395324/Florida-Judge-Strikes-Down-Health-Care-Overhaul">ruling</a> by Federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson in Pensacola, Fla., striking down the entire law has thrown the immediate future of the law into some doubt.</p><p></p><p>David Rivkin, the attorney representing the individual plaintiffs in the case, has been telling reporters that Vinson's ruling means the Obama administration must <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/31/AR2011013106367.html">stop implementation</a> of the law in all 26 states that were also parties to the lawsuit.</p><p>But that's hardly a universal view. "If it applies to anybody, it applies to Idaho and Utah," said Tim Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University. Those were the two states whom Judge Vinson explicitly granted standing to sue over the insurance requirement portion of the lawsuit, along with two individuals and the National Federation of Independent Business. The remaining 24 states in the lawsuit were largely confined to the count challenging the law's expansion of Medicaid. Judge Vinson <a href="http://pnhp.org/news/2011/january/medicaid-is-constitutional-mandate-isnt">rejected</a> the states' argument that the expansion was "coercive."</p><p>But then he struck down the entire law after finding the insurance requirement unconstitutional, including the Medicaid provisions.</p><p>So what's clear now it that no one seems to know for sure how far the judge's ruling — which did not include an injunction officially stopping the administration from enforcing the law while an appeal goes forward — reaches.</p><p>"It's a great big mess," said <a href="http://law.wfu.edu/faculty/profile/hallma/">Mark Hall</a>, a law professor at North Carolina's Wake Forest University. "There's a lot of open questions." Hall's best advice: "The government would be well-advised to get a stay" of the judge's ruling while pursuing an appeal.</p><p>That's apparently something the administration already has on its to-do list. "We are analyzing this opinion to determine what steps, if any — including seeking a stay — are necessary while the appeal is pending to continue our progress toward ensuring that Americans do not lose out on the important protections this law provides," said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler in a statement Monday.</p><p>Meanwhile, the Obama administration insisted Tuesday via the White House <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/02/01/affordable-care-act-and-courts-what-experts-are-saying/">blog</a>, "Implementation will continue." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1296594125?&gn=Fla.+Court+Decision+Plunges+Federal+Health+Law+Into+Limbo&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=health+overhaul,Public+Health,Policy-ish,Policy,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Health,Health+Care,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=133407849&c7=1001&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1001&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110201&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=133309068,133188449,133188445,126567581,103537970,132733823,132054925,130215202,129913517,129828651,133401448,133401446,133401443,127602855,127602331,103943429,133370727&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 01 Feb 2011 14:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/health/fla-court-decision-plunges-federal-health-law-limbo Fake Blueberries Often Masquerade As Real Fruit http://www.wbez.org/story/children039s-health/fake-blueberries-often-masquerade-real-fruit <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blueberries-1-.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Sure, blueberries are <a href="http://www.npr.org/2010/11/12/131272331/bow-down-to-the-medicinal-power-of-cranberries?ps=cprs">good for you</a>, and they taste terrific. That's why food marketers make blueberry-flavored stuff.</p><p>But why is it OK to list blueberries on a package of something that doesn't have blueberries in it?</p><p>With dramatic sound effects and scary music, a <a href="http://www.foodinvestigations.com/">video</a> produced by <a href="http://www.consumerwellness.org/">natural food advocates</a> at the Consumer Wellness Center points out that this kind of marketing can be deceptive.</p><p></p><p>Instead of using real blueberries, some companies use blueberry "bits" and "particles," which typically consist of various sugars and starches coated with food dye to make them look like blueberries, the documentary shows. A couple are from <a href="http://www2.kelloggs.com/">Kellogg's</a>, which has gotten in trouble with <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2009/11/rice_krispies_claim_immunity_b.html">packaged cereal claims</a> before.</p><p>For example, from the video:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats also come in a Blueberry Muffin variety, with fresh blueberries prominently featured on the front of the package. But inside, there are no actual blueberries to be found. Instead, you get "blueberry flavored crunchlets" — yes, crunchlets — made from sugars, soybean oil, red #40 and blue #2.</p><p></blockquote></p><p>It's true! Here are the <a href="http://www2.kelloggs.com/ProductDetail.aspx?id=13052">blueberry flavored crunchlets</a>, right on the ingredient list.</p><p>Company spokesman Kris Charles says the product is "labeled in compliance with applicable laws and regulations."</p><p>Now, this isn't the first time the food industry's been a little loose with food definitions. Earlier this week, things got sticky for McDonald's because the state of Vermont objected to the company's "Fruit and Maple Oatmeal." It <a href="http://consumerist.com/2011/01/vermont-has-a-problem-with-the-lack-of-maple-in-mcdonalds-maple-oatmeal.html">doesn't contain real maple</a> as that state defines it.</p><p>Apparently, the company just <a href="http://www.necn.com/01/20/11/Vt-announces-maple-settlement-with-McDon/landing.html?&blockID=3&apID=b849a39aa23442fb9c766e5ca6893d40">settled</a>, agreeing to offer real maple syrup on the side to customers in Vermont.</p><p>A spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration said the agency would have to review the blueberry-pushing products to determine whether they violate any laws. That could take a while.</p><p>So what's a consumer to do now? Turn the box over and read the fine print on the ingredients list to see if there's any real fruit in there before buying.</p><p>Better yet, buy a box of fresh blueberries and top your plain old cereal with them. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1295632928?&gn=Fake+Blueberries+Often+Masquerade+As+Real+Fruit&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Fitness+%26+Nutrition,Policy,Your+Health,Children%27s+Health,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Health,Food,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=133089144&c7=1001&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1001&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110121&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Fri, 21 Jan 2011 11:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/children039s-health/fake-blueberries-often-masquerade-real-fruit Dems Sharpen Health Message As Repeal Efforts Go Forward http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/dems-sharpen-health-message-repeal-efforts-go-forward <p><p>On NBC’s <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41078415/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts"><em>Meet the Press</em></a> on Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats actually welcomed the GOP effort to try to repeal the new health law "because it gives us a second chance to make a first impression."</p><p>And so far, at least, Democrats seem to be taking that task seriously.</p><p>Rather than filling the airwaves with complicated policy-speak about what the law does and doesn’t do, Democrats are finally listening to the experts about how best to sell the health law. They spent the day Tuesday trotting out “real people” who are benefiting from the law and would be harmed by its repeal.</p><p></p><p>The day began with “Cathy’s Story,” posted on the White House <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/issues/Health-Care">blog</a>. It told how small business owner Cathy Lynn Howell Allen from Marblehead, Ohio was able to get insurance for the first time in years thanks to the new high-risk pools created under the law. She has <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lupus/DS00115">Lupus</a>.</p><p>Next, there was a conference call held by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, featuring Dawn Josephson. Recently, Josephson was able to get insurance <a href="http://www.momsrising.org/blog/author/dawn-josephson/">coverage</a> for her son, who has an eye condition, because the law bans discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions.</p><p>Then, in the early afternoon, House Democratic leaders brought out a series of people who are getting some of the early benefits of the law. Among them was Edward Burke, a hemophiliac from Palm Harbor, Florida. Burke has grappled with lifetime limits on his health insurance policies; limits that are now illegal. He was profiled in a story on this very issue on <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129849468">Morning Edition</a> last September.</p><p>So it seems Dems are listening to a series of <a href="http://herndonalliance.org/resources/what-s-new/post-passage-messaging-guide.html">recommendations</a> made by a group of top polling and PR professionals last summer:</p><p>“Tell simple personal stories,” said the experts. Avoid things like “listing off benefits outside of any personal context.” Check out our story on yesterday’s <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/01/17/132946659/democrats-seek-right-message-to-boost-health-law"><em>All Things Considered</em>.</a></p><p>Meanwhile, Republicans are hardly giving up their fight to repeal the law.</p><p>This morning, the American Action Forum, a GOP think tank headed by former Congressional Budget Office Director and John McCain economic advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin, issued a <a href="http://americanactionforum.org/sites/default/files/Final%20Open%20Letter_Impact%20of%20Healthcare%20Repeal_1182010.pdf">letter</a> signed by 200 economists and other experts arguing that repealing the law would “promote job growth and help to restore the federal government to fiscal balance.”</p><p>That letter directly contradicts a <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/12/21/economists-to-sen-reid-we-urge-enactment-of-your-healthcare-reform-bill/">letter</a> signed by two dozen more left-leaning economists last March. That one said that the then about-to-be law included “important elements of fiscal sustainability.”</p><p>Don’t despair, however, if you think there is no bipartisanship to be found anywhere in the health debate. The Bipartisan Policy Center, founded by four former Senate Majority leaders, two Democratic and two Republicans, announced today a new <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/12/21/economists-to-sen-reid-we-urge-enactment-of-your-healthcare-reform-bill/">effort</a> to help states implement the new health overhaul law.</p><p>It's not the bill that I would have drafted,” said former GOP Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee. “But it is the law of the land, and it is the platform, the fundamental platform, upon which all future efforts to make this system better for that patient, for that family, for that community, will be based.”</p><p>In fact, added Frist, “the law contains many…strong elements. And those elements -- well, whatever happens -- need to be preserved, need to be cuddled, need to be snuggled, need to be promoted and need to be implemented.”</p><p>In case you don't believe us, you can hear Frist here, in his own words… Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1295388434?&gn=Dems+Sharpen+Health+Message+As+Repeal+Efforts+Go+Forward&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Policy,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Health,Around+the+Nation,Health+Care,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=133026370&c7=1001&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1001&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110118&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 18 Jan 2011 15:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/dems-sharpen-health-message-repeal-efforts-go-forward EPA Moves To Ban Pesticide That Leaves Fluoride Behind http://www.wbez.org/story/children039s-health/epa-moves-ban-pesticide-leaves-fluoride-behind <p><p>After years of <a href="http://www.fluoridealert.org/sf/index.html">pressure</a> from environmental groups, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to <a href="http://epa.gov/pesticides/sulfuryl-fluoride/Sulfuryl-Fluoride-PrepublicationCopy.pdf">ban sulfuryl fluoride</a> by 2014.</p><p>Sulfuryl fluoride is used to <a href="http://epa.gov/pesticides/sulfuryl-fluoride/questions.html">fumigate</a> places where food is stored, and the stuff gets sprayed on grains, dried fruit, coffee, cocoa beans and nuts.</p><p></p><p>The problem with sulfuryl fluoride is that it leaves fluoride behind as it degrades. A little fluoride is good for teeth, but too much causes staining and pitting.</p><p>Although EPA says the pesticide is responsible for less than 3 percent of fluoride exposure, the government's been on a <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/01/07/132743634/Officials-Say-Kids-Getting-Too-Much-Fluoride">bit of a tear</a> lately to reduce kids' exposure. It recently proposed <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/01/07/132735857/feds-lowering-fluoride-limits-in-water-to-avoid-damaging-kids-teeth">reducing fluoride</a> in drinking water.</p><p>So if the chemical is banned, what will food companies do instead?</p><p>Environmental groups see the EPA's proposed ban as an opportunity. "We need to shift our emphasis in food production away from chemicals that we know to be harmful... This is what this decision does," said Jay Feldman, executive director of the group <a href="http://www.beyondpesticides.org/about/staff.htm">Beyond Pesticides</a>, on a conference call with reporters today.</p><p>Food facilities in Canada and Europe rely on temperature controls and tighter, cleaner storage containers, rather than the pesticide, Chris Neurath of the <a href="http://www.fluoridealert.org/">Fluoride Action Network</a> said.</p><p>But challenges remain. Dow Chemicals, which makes, sulfuryl fluoride has promoted it as a "<a href="http://msdssearch.dow.com/PublishedLiteratureDAS/dh_0061/0901b803800618fb.pdf?filepath=profume_uk/pdfs/noreg/011-01270.pdf&fromPage=GetDoc">viable alternative</a>" to the ozone-depleting pesticide <a href="http://www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr/qa.html">methyl bromide</a> when there weren't many other chemical options.</p><p>Methyl bromide was phased out of use in 2004 under an international agreement known as the Montreal Protocol.</p><p>Dow didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1294777328?&gn=EPA+Moves+To+Ban+Pesticide+That+Leaves+Fluoride+Behind&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Policy,Your+Health,Public+Health+%26+Prevention,Children%27s+Health,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Health,Environment,Science,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=132834956&c7=1001&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1001&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110111&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=126567581,126567525,126567402,126567378,103537970,132836810,132836808,132836806,132836789,132836785,132783213,132769262,127602855,127602446,103943429,102920358,132833940,132783213,132764894,127602855,127602446,103943429,126570862,126567887,126567816,126567633,126567441,126567402,103537970,132833131,127602971,127602855,126916928,126916924,125099593,103943429,132831947,132831945,132783213,127602855,127602446,103943429,132783213,132830331,132830329,132830327,127747535,127602971,127602855,126916928,103943429,132829546,132829527,132799546,132783213,132764894,127602855,127602446,103943429&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 11 Jan 2011 13:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/children039s-health/epa-moves-ban-pesticide-leaves-fluoride-behind