National Health Insurance – Rwanda

A dirt-poor nation, with a health plan, By Donald G. McNeil, Jr., June 14, 2010, New York Times: “The maternity ward in the Mayange district health center is nothing fancy. It has no running water, and the delivery room is little more than a pair of padded benches with stirrups. But the blue paint on the walls is fairly fresh, and the labor room beds have mosquito nets. Inside, three generations of the Yankulije family are relaxing on one bed: Rachel, 53, her daughter Chantal Mujawimana, 22, and Chantal’s baby boy, too recently arrived in this world to have a name yet. The little prince is the first in his line to be delivered in a clinic rather than on the floor of a mud hut. But he is not the first with health insurance. Both his mother and grandmother have it, which is why he was born here. Rwanda has had national health insurance for 11 years now; 92 percent of the nation is covered, and the premiums are $2 a year…”

Editorial: Exhaustion of Unemployment Benefits

The unemployed held hostage, Editorial, June 14, 2010, New York Times: “Since June 1, when federal unemployment benefits began to expire, an estimated 325,000 jobless workers have been cut off. That number will swell to 1.25 million by the end of the month unless Congress extends the benefits. The Senate, so far, has failed to act. Some senators, including Democrats, have balked at an unrelated provision that would begin to close a tax loophole enjoyed by some of the richest Americans. You heard right. Desperately needed unemployment benefits have been held hostage to a tax break for the rich, and the Senate’s Democratic leadership has had to delay and finagle to get its own caucus in line…”