Weekly Roundup 1/24/2012

Polarized news market has altered the political process in South Carolina primar
Marc Fisher, The Washington Post, Jan. 21, 2012

Synopsis: On the eve of the South Carolina primary, veteran Washington Post reporter-columnist Marc Fisher critically analyzes voters’ increased reliance on news sources that reinforce their political views. “There’s more campaign news and commentary out there than ever before, but more and more citizens are tucking themselves inside information silos where they see mainly what they already agree with,” Fisher writes.

Takeaway: Fisher writes: “The result, according to voters, campaign strategists and a raft of studies that track users’ news choices, is an electorate in which conservatives and liberals often have not only their own opinions but also their own sets of facts, making it harder than ever to approach common ground.”

For CQ Researcher coverage, see Tom Price, “Journalism Standards in the Internet Age,” Oct. 8, 2010; Tom Price, “Future of Journalism,” March 27, 2009, updated Sept. 3, 2010; Marcia Clemmitt, “Internet Accuracy,” Aug. 1, 2008.

--Kenneth Jost, Associate Editor


Why a President Romney Would Find It Hard to Repeal 'Obamacare'
Brian Beutler, Talking Points Memo, Jan. 18, 2012

Obamacare Reform Lags in Many States
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Associated Press in Bangor (Maine) Daily News, Jan. 22, 2012

Synopsis: The health-care system is adjusting to health-reform-law changes that are already under way, potentially making repeal a dicey proposition that could trigger pushback from hospitals and some patients. Meanwhile, however, three out of four uninsured people live in states that have made little to no progress implementing the insurance-coverage portions of the law, leaving the federal government with a much harder job than anticipated to cover the uninsured by 2014.

Takeaway: Spurred by the law, providers "have been moving away from a paradigm in which they’re reimbursed for the volume of treatment...toward one that rewards good outcomes — a shift that will...cut deeply into per-patient profits," writes TPM's Beutler. "They bought into the law...because it also guarantees them millions of new patients — enough to keep them economically viable despite the payment reforms...If a GOP President tells hospitals, 'Surprise! Those new patients aren’t coming!' there will be hell to pay."

However, states were expected to be partners in implementing the law, setting up "exchanges" in which people can buy coverage, and only 13 states have implementation plans in place, writes AP's Alonso-Zaldivar. Many Republican governors and lawmakers say they won't cooperate because they oppose the law on ideological grounds.

For more, see Nellie Bristol's Jan. 6 report on Preventing Disease and my June 11, 2010, report (updated May 24, 2011) on Health Care Reform.

--Marcia Clemmitt, Staff Writer


How U.S. Lost Out On iPhone Work
Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher, The New York Times, Jan. 21, 2012

Synopsis: Apple boasted not long ago that its products were American made. Now, almost all of apple’s tens of millions of iPhones, iPads and other products are manufactured overseas.

Takeaway: The overseas jobs created by Apple and many of its high-tech peers are not likely to return to the U.S. In addition to finding cheaper labor overseas, the authors write, “Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have [vastly] outpaced their American counterparts.”

For background, see the following CQ Researcher reports: “U.S.-China Relations” (May 7, 2010; updated May 24, 2011); “Emerging China” (Nov. 11, 2005); and “Future of GlobalizationCQ Global Researcher, September 2009.

--Thomas J. Colin, Contributing Editor