This Week on Between The Lines

Posted March 28, 2012 for week ending April 6, 2012


"The Affordable Care Act is based on flawed policy that will not achieve the goals of universal, affordable, guaranteed health care. The individual mandate from a policy standpoint is not good policy and we can achieve our goals in this country in a much simpler way."

– Dr. Margaret Flowers, Physicians for a National Health Program, on why she advocates a national single-payer health program, also called Medicare for All.


Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.

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Single-Payer Advocates Favor High Court Overturning Obama Individual Mandate

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Interview with Dr. Margaret Flowers, Maryland pediatrician and member of Physicians for a National Health Program, conducted by Scott Harris


The fate of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act hangs in the balance as the Supreme Court Justices set aside three days, ending on March 28, to hear arguments from opponents of the controversial health insurance reform law. The justices will hear arguments centered on four issues filed in multiple lawsuits by 26 states and other opponents. The first issue was whether the court has jurisdiction to hear the case, given that as no one will pay the new law’s tax penalty until 2015. The second and most important issue deals with the constitutionality of the law's requirement that all U.S. residents either buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. The third issue focuses on whether the law’s expansion of Medicaid unlawfully forces states to participate. And the fourth issue will examine if any part of the health reform law can survive if the individual mandate is struck down.  Story continues

U.S. Peace Movement Regroups to Stop War with Iran

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Interview with Medea Benjamin, co-founder Code Pink and Global Exchange, conducted by Scott Harris


Since the election of Barack Obama as president in November 2008, the U.S. peace movement has remained mostly inactive. Many peace activists were optimistic, or had mixed feelings about then Sen. Obama’s campaign pledge to wind down the war in Iraq and his timeline for escalation and then withdrawal in Afghanistan. But in his third year in office, there is a growing number of progressive activists that are either disappointed or angry about a fairly long list of his administration’s policies. That list includes the president’s increased use of drone attacks, the targeting of U.S. citizens for assassination, support for an indefinite detention of Americans provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, the failure to close down the Guantanamo detention camp in Cuba and continued warrantless surveillance targeting U.S. citizens.  Story continues

Bicyclists Organize to Battle Budget Freeze Out

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Excerpt of speech by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., speaking at the National Bike Summit, recorded and produced by Melinda Tuhus


The League of American Bicyclists held its annual summit in Washington D.C. from March 20 to 22. The theme of this year’s conference was “Save Cycling!” prompted by House transportation legislation, dubbed by former congressman and current Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood as the "worst transportation bill" he'd ever seen. House Republicans wanted to zero out funding for bike trails, all bike and pedestrian enhancements and Safe Routes to School, spending all the billions in the bill instead on roads and highways.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

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Compiled by Bob Nixon

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