No Republicans voted for it, but Obama pushes through healthcare reform; Google may reveal plans to close Chinese search engine this week; Iraq election commission will not do recount; food security for Africa; Iran gets censured for jamming satellites; and more
Top of the Agenda: U.S. House Passes Healthcare Reform
The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor (WSJ) of a Senate bill to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, with major implications for the U.S. economic recovery. The House voted 219 to 212. No Republicans voted for the bill, and thirty-four Democrats voted no. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the package will lower the federal budget deficit by $143 billion over ten years, which Republicans say is unrealistic. Many businesses criticized the legislation for its tax implications compared to other countries, noting that fees on insurers, drug makers, and medical-device companies would increase by $108 billion over ten years.
Republicans hope to use the health overhaul to reverse their minority position (NYT) in upcoming congressional elections.
In the Washington Post, constitutional law professor Randy Barnett says healthcare reform will end up in the courts, since Congress has never before used its commerce power to require that an individual make a purchase from a private company.
In the Huffington Post, Robert Kuttner says the passage of the healthcare bill will have lasting damage on Republicans "as a party that tried and failed to block a beneficial reform that citizens will come to value."
David Frum says Republican lawmakers committed a major political blunder by rejecting opportunities to compromise on the bill even though "the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big."
The Economist, meanwhile, says while ObamaCare does much to expand coverage, it does too little to rein in health inflation. The most meaningful proposals to "bend the cost curve" have been watered down or delayed.
A Wall Street Journal editorial says, "We have studied government healthcare in other countries, and the results include much higher taxes, slower economic growth, and worse medical care."
This CFR Backgrounder examines the impact of healthcare costs on U.S. competitiveness.
PACIFIC RIM: Rio Tinto Executives Plead Guilty in China
Australia's Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu and a colleague pleaded guilty to allegations of bribery (WSJ) in a Shanghai court.
China: Google could reveal plans for the closure of its Chinese search engine and its China operations as early as Monday, the Financial Times reports.