President Barack Obama on Monday pledged up to $5 billion in funding to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria internationally, and to redirect $100 million to the National Institutes of Health for research toward a cure for HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS.
Speaking at the White House to mark World AIDS Day, which was Sunday, Obama celebrated the progress that has been made toward "achieving an AIDS-free nation."
"[T]his is a moment to reflect on how far we've come since the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Those of you who lived through it remember all too well the fear and the stigma and how hard people with HIV had to fight to be seen or heard, or treated with basic compassion," Obama commented. more >>
For as long as anyone can remember, teachers at Brooklet Elementary School have posted Christmas cards in the hallways outside their classrooms – until Monday.
When boys and girls returned from Thanksgiving break, they discovered that their teachers' Christmas cards had been removed – under orders from the Georgia school's administration.
Robb Kicklighter's wife is a third grade teacher at the school. He said many teachers are disgruntled by the school's decision to confiscate the Christmas cards. more >>
America is home to 21.2 million veterans -- men and women who were willing to risk their lives for our country.
Unfortunately, many of these veterans face a daunting personal battle here at home: finding work. According to the labor department, more than 700,000 U.S. veterans are currently unemployed. This simply isn't acceptable. Our veterans have earned the opportunity to earn a living and take part in the very society they fought to defend.
The most effective way to help them succeed in post-military life is through targeted efforts to extend educational opportunity. more >>
A Star Ledger headline reads: "ObamaCare fuels applicant boom for NJ Medicaid-Advocate hails 35 percent increase in October." Almost 22,000 new applications were filed in October, up from 16,000 in September. Is this a triumph? Was a 990-page law needed to accomplish this? The taxpayers will have to fork over $5,000 per applicant to a Medicaid HMO-that's $110 million-and what will the patients get?
I am a physician who volunteers at the Zarephath Health Center, a non-government charity clinic in central NJ, where volunteers care for the poor and uninsured. We see Medicaid patients who cannot find a Medicaid doctor. The other day I saw a 35-year-old mother with severe asthma. She is on Medicaid and had gone to the emergency room a few days earlier. She was instructed to find a physician for follow-up treatment. Unable to find a doctor who takes Medicaid, she was welcomed at our clinic. I saw her, spent time hearing her story, and was happy to give her prescriptions to keep her asthma in check.
The next day she returned with the odd complaint that no pharmacy would fill her prescriptions. Since I had not enrolled as a "non-billing Medicaid provider," the pharmacies were told they would not be paid if they filled my prescriptions. I have a license, am board certified in internal medicine, and pay each year to keep my controlled substances licenses updated, so why would they not honor my prescriptions? more >>
The "Joint Plan of Action" signed with Iran by the so-called P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S.) on Nov. 24 in Geneva caused Shiite Arabs to celebrate, Sunni Arabs to worry, and Saudis to panic. The Saudi response will have far-reaching and unpredictable consequences.
As Iran's chief negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, brought home a deal worth about US $23 billion to Iran, Arab Shiites fell into step with Tehran. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq expressed his "full support for this step." President Bashar al-Assad of Syria welcomed the agreement as "the best path for securing peace and stability." Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri of Lebanon called it the "deal of the century." And Hezbollah considered the agreement a "great victory for Iran."
Among Sunni Arabic-speakers, in contrast, responses ranged from politely supportive to displeased to alarmed. Perhaps most enthusiastic was the Egyptian governmental newspaper Al-Ahram, which called the deal "historic." Most states stayed mum. Saudis expressed the most worry. Yes, the government cabinet officially stated that "If there is goodwill, then this agreement could be an initial step toward reaching a comprehensive solution to Iran's nuclear program," but note the skepticism conveyed in the first four words. more >>
While some users have experienced difficulty logging onto Healthcare.gov, also known as the "Obamacare website," the White House explained that users are not getting an error page as they did before, but are being placed in a queue. Critics say the website is not working as well as the White House claims.
Healthcare.gov has met its goal of having a functioning website by Nov. 1, the White House announced over the weekend. The administration earlier said the website would be considered a success if 80 percent of users were able to sign on and complete the process.