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Health and austerity: When budget cuts cost lives

Public HealthJul 05 10

European leaders slicing away at national budgets are keen to persuade voters that healthcare is sacrosanct, but they will struggle to escape the truth that cutting spending elsewhere also eventually costs lives.

If a government’s first priority is to protect the lives of its people, then ringfencing health spending while cutting other budgets and trying to drive down the cost of medicines—policies being pursued in Europe—seem sensible options.

Yet experts say the planned cuts in welfare and other state programmes will hit everything from pensions to housing to playgrounds, all of which also affect the health of nations.

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Virginia, government square off over healthcare

Public HealthJul 05 10

The state of Virginia and the government were pitched in a legal battle in a federal courtroom on Thursday that could lead to the undoing of the massive healthcare reform law passed three months ago.

Judge Henry Hudson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Richmond heard the federal government’s arguments to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Virginia that contends the healthcare law’s requirement that all Americans have health insurance is unconstitutional.

Before President Barack Obama signed the radical overhaul of the multibillion dollar health insurance industry into law, Virginia’s legislature passed its own law that took effect on Thursday that says no one could be mandated to buy health insurance.

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