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Reason Foundation

Reason Alert: Feds Target Sick, Dying

January 26, 2007

Feds Target Cancer, AIDS Patients
In today's Los Angeles Times, Reason Founder and Attorney Manuel S. Klausner writes, "In the fictional world of the hit show 24, federal law enforcement agencies are pouring every last resource into the search for a nuclear terrorist in Los Angeles. In the real world, federal agents apparently have so much free time that they can dress up in bulletproof vests and masks in order to raid clinics that serve patients battling cancer, AIDS and other diseases. That's what happened last week as Drug Enforcement Administration agents stormed 11 medical marijuana dispensaries throughout L.A. and West Hollywood. We can all rest easier knowing that lollipops, cookies, candies and candy bars laced with marijuana are in no danger of reaching seriously ill patients." Klausner looks at why the feds are ignoring California's medical marijuana law and urges Congress to stop the madness: "The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug with 'no medical uses' — making it worse in the eyes of the feds than cocaine, methamphetamine and many other drugs. The arcane classification of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act persists despite the government's own actions and data to the contrary. In 1992, the Food and Drug Administration approved Marinol pills, which use the active ingredient in marijuana (THC) to treat nausea and vomiting. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that 'the evidence is relatively strong for the [marijuana] treatment of pain and, intriguing although less well established, for movement disorders.' So what can be done? Congress must reclassify marijuana in accord with the standards of science and medicine. The law simply needs to be fixed." Klausner's full column is here.

Sunni Arabs Resist Iran's Play for Regional Dominance
In The Wall Street Journal, Reason magazine's Michael Young, opinion editor of the Daily Star in Beirut, examines the Middle East's reaction to Iran's dreams of regional dominance and writes, "Whatever one thinks of the war in Iraq, it will soon become obvious that it was easier for the Americans to enter the country than to leave it. If a departure leads to metastasizing sectarian hostility throughout the Middle East, then the U.S. will have to seriously rethink its strategy. Whatever else happens, the one assured winner of such a fracas would be the Islamists. Only democracy could prepare Arab states to withstand Iran without recourse to sectarianism. But the Bush administration seems to have abandoned that inventive undertaking for the region. A chain of sectarian wars is not inevitable. But the only way to avoid it is for all sides to understand the existential red lines of the other sides. Iran's overconfidence is no easier for the region to stomach than was America's. For the first time in decades, the nationalism, tribalism or regime-sponsored Islamism of the Sunni Arab states seem incapable of steeling them against a resurgent Iran, but also its allies, striving to fill the vacuum of fading Arab power. Only these regimes' Sunni identity, an offended Sunni identity at that, might do so. The problem is that what shields them will likely lead the Middle East into further disarray." Young's full column is here.

Ron Paul for President?
Rep. Ron Paul's (R-TX) consistent "no" votes on pork and spending bills have earned him the nickname "Dr. No." Now Paul is considering another run for the White House and he tells Reason's Brian Doherty, "I think the biggest thing for Republican primary voters is that most Republicans are turned off right now. They’ve had a beating and are reassessing their values. They have to decide what they believe in. The Republican Party has become about big government conservatism, and Republicans need to hear the message they used to hear: that conservatives are supposed to be for small government...Republicans were too determined to support the president rather than thinking things through and standing up to his requests to expand government internationally or to expand entitlement program at home. " The full interview is here.

Consumer-Driven Health Care Reform
In the new Reason Roundtable, Reason's Shikha Dalmia, David Gratzer, a physician and author of The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care, and Greg Scandlen, president of Consumers for Health Care Choices, examine what is driving up the price of health care and why consumer-driven plans may be the fix. At Gratzer writes, "And so we come to a paradox: American health care is so expensive because it's so cheap. That is, with Americans paying just 14 cents out-of-pocket for every health dollar, they have little incentive to economize on health expenses. Americans have access to the most technologically sophisticated system in human history – yet pay pennies on the dollar out of their own pockets. The upshot? A health care system that is heavy in cost but not necessarily strong in satisfaction and uneven in quality." Scandlen says, "The first step in preserving what's good in the American health care system while purging the problems would be by giving patients direct control over their health care dollars. Government-run insurance programs such as Medicaid and Medicare can eliminate the federal bureaucracy that reimburses doctors and hospitals and give the money to the beneficiaries to secure their own coverage. And instead of buying coverage for employees, private employers should give workers the money to buy whatever coverage they want. Should employees opt for relatively less expensive indemnity coverage, they ought to be allowed to keep the balance to cover the out-of-pocket expenses of routine care." The Reason Roundtable on health care reform is here.

Colleges Feel Housing Crunch
Rising enrollment and tight budgets are creating housing shortages at colleges across the country. Many schools are ill-equipped to build new units or renovate aging dormitories and a recent survey finds over half the nation's universities do not have enough housing. A new Reason Foundation study demonstrates how colleges can use the military's highly successful housing privatization model to meet the demands of growing student bodies.
» Press Release
» Full Study (.pdf)
» Reason's Privatization Research and Commentary

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