Tag Archives: Henry Waxman

Little recent progress on foodborne illnesses

The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report contains some early numbers on foodborne illness rates in 2009. The data, NPR health blogger Scott Hensley writes, aren’t promising, and it looks like most infection rates haven’t really improved since 2004. A transcript and audio of the April 15 media briefing is available.

The report comes with data for the 10 states monitored by the CDC’s Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network; they’re also broken down by age. To demonstrate just how variable the infection rate is, we’ve pulled numbers for two of the most common foodborne illnesses, salmonella and campylobacter.

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Dingell jockeys to chair health subcommittee

John Dingell may have been ousted as chairman of the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee, but he may already be angling to retain some clout. In fact, the Michigan Democrat, who lost his throne in a powerplay with Henry Waxman last week, may make a bid for another, albeit less prestigious position, according to The Hill.

John Dinggell

John Dingell

Dingell’s supporters on the committee are said to be encouraging the 82-year-old congressman to take the chairmanship of the panel’s Health subcommittee, which would give him a platform to introduce his version of univerisal healthcare. In every Congress since being elected in 1955, Dingell has introduced universal healthcare reform legislation, The Hill points out.

“Healthcare has been his passion since he was elected,” according to a top aide to one of the lawmakers who pitched Dingell on the idea. “National healthcare is his life’s dream.”

Presumably, this does not thrill Frank Pallone Jr., the New Jersey Democrat who chairs the Health panel. A spokesman tells The Hill that he had not heard about the possibility of Dingell taking the gavel, and adds that Pallone doesn’t want to give it up. Pallone supported Waxman over Dingell, by the way. Meanwhile, a Dingell spokesman did not comment.

The musical chairs occur against a backdrop of confused maneuvering among committee staffers who are jostling for jobs amid the regime change.