The Monitor

News Analysis and Expert Interviews — Understand Your World

Show Details for the week of April 4th, 2012

Posted by themonitor on April 2, 2012


  • A couple of weeks ago we talked on air about the MEK and various political figures here in the US who have come under investigation as a result of their relationship with the MEK. Tonight we talk to Jeremiah Goulka about the topic in detail.
  • With nearly half the Supreme Court justices who will pass judgment on the 2010 healthcare law beyond the age where they have to worry about their access to basic care, a leading voice for nurses is saying that “all Americans should have the same level of security about their health.” We talk to Karen Higgins about health care treatment, mandates, costs and Medicare.

More information about our guests this week:

Jeremiah Goulka

ImageJeremiah Goulka is an independent writer and public policy analyst who comments on the politics and policy of U.S. national and homeland security.  From 2007 to 2010, he was an analyst at the RAND Corporation, where he conducted research for the U.S. military.  He was the lead author of “The Mujahedin-e Khalq in Iraq: A Policy Conundrum”, a member of the RAND team that helped end “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” and a staffer on the Congressionally-mandated Military Leadership Diversity Commission.  Previously, he worked on Hurricane Katrina recovery, served as an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, and was a law clerk to a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  He studied history at Bowdoin College and the Sorbonne and has law degrees from the universities of Chicago and Edinburgh.

One of the people whose work I often recommend on the show is Glenn Greenwald. He has been on The Monitor and writes for Salon.com One of his recent pieces features Jeremiah’s work. Says Greenwald: “Jeremiah Goulka worked as a lawyer in the Bush Justice Department, and then went to work as an analyst with the RAND Corporation, where he was sent to Iraq to analyze, among other things, the Iranian dissident group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), publishing an oft-cited study on the group. MEK has been in the news of late because a high-powered bipartisan cast of former Washington officials have established close ties with the group and have been vocally advocating on its behalf, often in exchange for large payments, despite MEK’s having been formally designated by the U.S. Government as a Terrorist organization. That close association on the part of numerous Washington officials with a Terrorist organization has led to a formal federal investigation of those officials.

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Karen Higgins

Karen Higgins is a staff nurse at Boston Medical Center and a past president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association. She has been actively involved with the  MNA for nearly twenty years, and has been a key player in all of its important advocacy and legislative initiatives—from safe staffing to single-payer healthcare. Karen has also served as the MNA Board’s secretary and on its Cabinet for Labor Relations as both chair and vice chair. In addition, she was the co-chair of the MNA’s Statewide Campaign for Safe Care, the chairperson of the MNA’s Nursing Shortage Task Force, and a founding member of the Task Force on Workplace Violence. Karen is a fiercely loyal union sister and she has been a leading voice at the MNA for the need for a strong national union by and for front line nurses. Her commitment to nursing and her leadership role in the creation of National Nurses United were key factors in the MNA memberships’ endorsement of her position as one of three co-presidents of the new organization.
National Nurses United is the country’s largest union and professional organization of registered nurses, with more than 150,000 members nationwide.

Quote:
“For these judges, that means no concerns about being bankrupted by medical bills, denied needed treatment because some insurance agent deemed it ‘experimental’ or ‘not medically necessary,’ barred from choosing the provider of their choice because they were ‘out of network’ or forced to keep an unwanted job to maintain their present employer-paid coverage.”

“That guarantee could be achieved by extending Medicare, for which four of the nine judges already qualify, to everyone, without raising constitutional questions posed by the individual mandate that forces everyone without coverage to buy private, commercial health insurance” said the 170,000-member National Nurses United in a statement today.

Higgins added: “The Obama administration and Congress could have pre-empted the legal fight over their law by instead just expanding Medicare, a more humane, cost effective system which has no constitutional questions, to everyone under 65.

“Even now, Congress and the President could pre-empt an adverse court ruling by passing Medicare-for-all legislation currently in Congress, S 915 and HR 1200, and end our healthcare nightmare once and for all.”

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