Tagged: health care

The Rundown: Obama, Romney and the issues

By Hilary Ribons, Staff Writer
@hilaryalexisr

It’s almost election time. And with a few televised political debates under our belts, it’s time to start considering who we are going to vote for.

Though it’s truly entertaining to watch two politicians verbally duke it out, I was left at the end of the debates still seriously wondering what each candidate’s stance was on some key issues.

Even after watching the debate, it’s easy to be confused as to where both presidential candidates really stand. In an effort to fully understand the candidates, I looked up their stances on some key issues and put them side by side for an easy comparison. Most of the information below was pulled from their websites, which are obviously not objective, but still state their stances. The information that I got was my understanding of each candidate’s stance, and hopefully will help you on your way to looking over the policies that the candidates are endorsing.

Remember, we are voting into office the president who will be making decisions that shape the same country that we’re graduating into soon. Hopefully my preliminary research, complete with a few websites I found helpful, will inspire you to vote as a truly informed citizen.

Obama

Romney

Education 

- Placed a cap on federal student loan repayments at 10 percent of income
- Offer incentives to keep qualified, successful teachers in the classroom
- Allow the states to create their own plans for education reform, instead of abiding by No Child Left Behind
- Offer incentives to public schools by rewarding innovation and reform
- Reformed/expanded post-Sept. 11 G.I. Bill to include more G.I.’s eligible for education benefits.
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- Allow low income and special needs students to decide what school they would like to attend
- Provide incentives for states to increase choices and alternatives for parents
- Make charter and digital schools more effective
- Make report cards public as part of an effort to improve “No Child Left Behind”
- Offer teachers incentives through greater job flexibility and rewards and through cutting down on certification requirements.
- Strengthen and simplify Financial Aid System
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Energy

- Double fuel efficiency standards
- Increase natural gas production within the United States
- Open more land for development
-  Increase oil production, increase safety measures
- Increase wind and solar energy
- Invest government money in researching clean coal technology
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- Put control of energy within state lines (excluding those that are off-limits by law) into the hands of state government
- Open offshore areas within the United States for energy development and set minimum production targets for these areas
- Pursue a North American Energy partnership with Canada and Mexico
- Attempt to slightly strengthen environmental laws and regulations and “streamline” limitations on “red tape,” or oppositions, surrounding new developments
- Put money into private-sector research and development of new energy technologies
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Health Care

- Affordable Care Act:
- Prevents insurance companies from putting a cap on coverage, or dropping coverage when you become sick
- Provides those with Medicare free preventative services and lower costs on prescription drugs and monthly premiums
- Stop health insurance companies from charging women more than men for their coverage
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- Putting states in charge of medical insurance and caring for the poor, uninsured and chronically ill
- Promote competition in the healthcare system.
- Cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits
- Allow individuals/small businesses to form purchasing pools
- Prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage
- Facilitate IT interoperability
- Allowing people to choose what kind of healthcare plan they want, giving them options and information
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Taxes

- Those who make more than $1 million a year will pay an equal or higher percentage of their income in taxes than middle- and lower-class citizens
- No plans to cut taxes: money will go to education, manufacturing, infrastructure
- Plans cut discretionary spending
- A plan of spending cuts and revenue increases over the next decade to reduce the national deficit of $4 trillion
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- Twenty percent cut in individual taxes for everyone
- Current tax rates on interest, dividends and capital gains stay the same
- Eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for those who make below $200,000 a year
- Eliminate the Death Tax
- Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax
- For corporate taxes: cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, strengthen and make permanent R&D tax credit, switch to territorial tax system, repeal the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax
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Jobs

- In short, Obama plans to cut unemployment through
- Looks to revive manufacturing
- Looks to eliminate tax breaks for companies that outsource their jobs overseas, create incentives to bring business back to America
- Looks to implement Wall Street reform, keeping Americans from paying to bail out large banks
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- In short, Romney plans to cut unemployment
- Supports free enterprise, hard work, innovation
- Looks to reduce taxes, spending, regulation and government programs
- Looks to increase trade, energy production, human capital and labor flexibility
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Gay Marriage

- In support
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- Against it
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National Defense

- Focus on ending wars and building national economy through more investments in industry
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- Put money into improving the military
- Maintain a presence in the Middle East
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Immigration

- In his first term, Obama upped deportations of undocumented immigrants
- Upped border patrols
- Passed DREAM act, which grants a path to citizenship of children of undocumented immigrants who attended college or served in the military. In 2012, he announced that the Department of Homeland Security would no longer seek to deport young illegal immigrants if they were brought to the U.S. by their parents before 16, and are currently under the age of thirty.
- Focuses on the deportation of criminals
- Proposes plans of a “start-up visa” that allows foreign investors to open businesses in the U.S.
- Backs AgJobs Act, which allows farms to legally hire foreign workers
- Supports reform of H1B visas, vaguely
- Supports path to legalization for estimated 10.8 million undocumented immigrants already in the country
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- Unclear on stance about the deportation of minors
- Does not agree with granting amnesty– wants to keep and enforce legal pathway to citizenship
- Permanent immigration reform by offering those who serve in the military the opportunity to become legal and permanent residents
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Abortion

- Does not believe abortion should be covered by Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan except in cases of incest, rape or where the life of the woman would be endangered
- Supports the decision of Roe v. Wade
- Disagrees with parental notification
- Supports Planned Parenthood
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- Looks to overturn Roe v. Wade, giving power to chose legality of abortion back to individual states
- Supports Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood
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There’s an app for *that*?

By Kimberly Clark, Daily Free Press Staff Writer

Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure that you, or at least someone you know, owns a smartphone. We love our smartphones; they are a cellphone, computer, ipod, GPS system and PDA all rolled into one compact device. Let’s not forget about those apps. From work-related applications to boredom cures (Angry Birds, anyone?), there is an app for practically everything.  And by everything, I mean everything. What’s that you say? What about promoting public health? Yes, there’s an app for that, too.

UCLA Engineering Professor Aydgogan Ozcan has been researching and developing a lens-free computational microscope application for smartphones. The goal of this telemedicine research is to provide health care workers in developing countries with convenient tools that can be used to diagnose infectious diseases, such as HIV, TB and malaria.

The lens-free microscope functions by using computational algorithms to produce an image of a cell from its shadow. Unlike us and our shadows, cells are semi-transparent to light and their shadows have unique textures. The algorithms, based on optical principles of light, can take these textured shadows and produce high resolution images of the cells, just like the images from a standard microscope.

This new technology will greatly increase the efficiency of health care workers in remote areas. Instead of manually transporting blood samples to a hospital to be tested, a blood sample could be transmitted back and forth electronically.

The device can also look at a couple thousand of cells quickly, a feat unachieved by a standard lens microscope. Malaria, widespread in developing African countries, affects only 1 percent of cells. A pathologist must look at about a thousand cells to confidently diagnose malaria. Not only will the lens-free microscope accelerate that process, it can also mark potentially infected cells to enable faster treatment.

Even with all those capabilities, the entire device only weights about 30-40 grams.

Did you hear that? That’s the sound of health care workers all over the world dropping their heavy backpacks of standard medical equipment.

Researchers think that the lens-free microscope will be extremely cost-effective. There is no need to develop a new type of smartphone. The ideal smartphone for the application would be an android, but any device with a camera module, even a recycled phone, would suffice.

The lens-free microscopes are only the beginning. Researchers hope to develop many other medical devices which will operate around the smartphone.  And you thought Siri was cool. Just you wait.