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Daily Rounds: Curtain Rises On Health Law Arguments; Mangled Horses Scrutinized; Pink Slime And More

This article is more than 7 years old.

The Health Law And The Supreme Court: A Primer For The Upcoming Oral Arguments (Kaiser Health News) — "How big is the constitutional challenge to the Obama health care law, which the Supreme Court will hear beginning today? For starters, it's big enough for the justices to schedule six hours of arguments — more time than given to any case since 1966. After all, the Affordable Care Act is arguably the most consequential domestic legislation since the creation of Medicare in 1965. It's also big enough to attract more briefs than any other case in history. At least 170, including more than 120 "friend-of-the-court" or amicus briefs, have been filed, many of which are joined by 10, 20 or more groups of every imaginable description. And, finally, it's big enough to cause the justices to postpone until October half of the 12 cases that they would ordinarily hear in April in order to clear time to get started on the health care opinions that they are expected to issue by the late June, or possibly, early July."

Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys (The New York Times) — "On average, 24 horses die each week at racetracks across America. Many are inexpensive horses racing with little regulatory protection in pursuit of bigger and bigger prizes. These deaths often go unexamined, the bodies shipped to rendering plants and landfills rather than to pathologists who might have discovered why the horses broke down. In 2008, after a Kentucky Derby horse, Eight Belles, broke two ankles on national television and was euthanized, Congress extracted promises from the racing industry to make its sport safer. While safety measures like bans on anabolic steroids have been enacted, assessing their impact has been difficult because many tracks do not keep accurate accident figures or will not release them. But an investigation by The New York Times has found that industry practices continue to put animal and rider at risk. A computer analysis of data from more than 150,000 races, along with injury reports, drug test results and interviews, shows an industry still mired in a culture of drugs and lax regulation."

Scientist Who Coined 'Pink Slime' Reluctant Whistleblower (Reuters) — "Every time someone calls former U.S. government scientist Gerald Zirnstein a whistleblower, he cringes a little. When he coined the term "Pink Slime" to describe the unlabeled and unappetizing bits of cartilage and other chemically-treated scrap meat going into U.S. ground beef, Zirnstein was a microbiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He made the slime reference to a fellow scientist in an internal - and he thought private - email. But that email later became public, and with it came an explosion of outrage from consumer groups. Descriptions of a mix of fatty beef by-products and connective tissue, ground up and treated with ammonium hydroxide, then blended with ground beef have led the nation's largest supermarket chains to ban the product."

AP: Mass Health Care Lobbying Topped $51M (AP, via The Boston Globe) — "Hospitals, insurers, doctors and unions are spending tens of millions of dollars trying to make sure their voices are heard on Beacon Hill as Massachusetts lawmakers weigh sweeping changes to the way the state pays for health coverage. In 2011 alone, the health care industry, one of the largest economic sectors in the state, doled out more than $11.6 million on lobbying. And during the five years since the state passed its landmark health care overhaul, from 2007 to 2011, the total amount spent on lobbying by the industry topped $51.6 million, according to a review of state records by The Associated Press."

This program aired on March 26, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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