tv PBS News Hour PBS April 14, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: congress approved the bipartisan budget compromise today, funding the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. good evening, i'm jim lehrer. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight: kwame holman has the latest on the deal for this year's budget. then, we turn to the debate over curbing long-term deficits with paul krugman and douglas holtz- eakin. >> lehrer: judy woodruff looks at the nation's air traffic system, after reports that at least four controllers fell asleep on the job. >> brown: jeffrey kaye concludes his series of reports from china. tonight, the growing demand for health care.
>> doctors here see over 50 patients a day. it's early in the day and these people are standing in line, waiting for an appointment for tomorrow. >> lehrer: margaret warner talks to a pakistani legislator targeted by extremists. >> brown: and on the anniversary of the day lincoln was assassinated, ray suarez examines the story of the lone woman convicted as a conspirator. now the subject of a new movie. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> okay, listen. somebody has got to get serious. >> i think... >> we need renewable energy. >> ...renewable energy is vital to our planet. >> you hear about alternatives, right? wind, solar, algae. >> i think it's got to work on a big scale. and i think it's got to be affordable. >> so, where are they? >> it has to work in the real world. at chevron, we're investing millions in solar and biofuel technology to make it work. >> we've got to get on this now. >> right now.
and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: congress finally finished work today on the budget for the current fiscal year and then, turned its attention to the coming year.
"newshour" congressional correspondent kwame holman has our report. >> reporter: the vote in the house came six months into the 2011 budget year and only after last friday's late-night compromise prevented a government shutdown. speaker john boehner defended the $38 billion in spending cuts as real progress. >> this bill stops the bleeding. halts the binge and starts us moving back in right direction. does it cut enough, no. some claim spending cuts not real, that they're gimmicks. that's total nonsense. a cut is a cut. >> reporter: in fact, increased defense spending canceled out some of the cuts, and others were spread over multiple years. so, the non-partisan congressional budget office estimated the reduction for the current year works out to just more than $350 million.
that drew fire from some republicans who demanded deeper cuts to begin with and 59 of them voted "no." in the end, republican votes alone would have been insufficient to pass the bill requiring help from 81 democrats. minority whip steny hoyer summed up the choice they made. >> we have a choice to make in a divided house and a divided congress and divided government. that choice is whether we'll come together make best possible agreement and move together. i think american public expects us to do that. >> reporter: the bill then went the vote funding the government this year was only the first skirmish over federal spending. the house today also began
debate on the republican budget proposal for 2012. it calls for deep spending cuts and tax breaks. but in his speech yesterday, president obama said the burden should be shared equally. he reiterated that notion today. the president met at the white house with his deficit commission co-chairs republican alan simpson and democrat erskine bowles. >> it's important that we look at our tax code and find a way to work together to not only simplify and make the tax system fairer, but also that we use it as a tool to help us achieve our deficit targets. and it's also important and i think these gentlemen share the view that we can't exempt anybody from these efforts. >> reporter: on the senate floor, minority leader mitch mcconnell warned again that republicans are not about to accept tax hikes. >> americans know that we face a
fiscal crisis not because we tax too little, but because we spend too much. they do not support the reckless washington spending that has left us with record deficits and debt, and they will not support raising taxes to preserve an unsustainable status quo. >> reporter: the tax divide is just one of the key differences between the two sides. on the overall deficit, house republicans plan $4.4 trillion in reductions over 10 years. the president proposes reducing deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years. on entitlements, house republicans project savings by transforming medicaid into block grants to the states and revamping medicare into a voucher-like program. the president says medicaid can save billions by becoming more flexible and efficient. and he wants to pare medicare spending by reducing excessive outlays on drugs, among other things. the house votes tomorrow on the republican budget.
>> brown: coming up, a debate on how best to deal with the deficit with douglas holtz eakin and paul krugman. plus, changes for air traffic controllers; health care reforms in china; a moderate view from pakistan and a movie about the assassination of president lincoln. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: more americans applied for unemployment benefits last week for the first time in three weeks. and wholesale prices shot higher, fueled by the rising cost of gasoline. on wall street, the economic data held stocks in check. the dow jones industrial average gained 14 points to close at 12,285. the nasdaq fell one point to close at 2,760. japanese police in protective suits searched for bodies today near a disabled nuclear plant. radiation levels have fallen enough to let search teams get within six miles of the site. they're hunting for up to 1,000 earthquake and tsunami victims. meanwhile, japan's emperor and his wife made their first visit to the disaster zone, and met with evacuees. about 140,000 people are still
living in shelters. in libya, the city of misrata came under heavy shelling again from moammar qaddafi's troops. we have a report from emma murphy of "independent television news," who is in libya. >> reporter: they hurry through misrata's devastated streets in search of sanctuary and supply. both are limited. this town is under siege and under relentless attack. reports suggest 13 people were killed in a 90 minute bombardment by qaddafi loyalists close to the port. doctors believe humanitarian boats on their way in were deliberately targeted. the port is the only supply route into misrata and so they are arming their fishing boats in benghazi for the 36-hour journey to smuggle goods in. within a few hours this boat will be en route to misrata taking with it the aid for the people but also the weapons the rebels so desperately need if they're to hold the town against qaddafi's forces. load of weaponry and ammunition is being brought to the port to resupply fighters.
it's hidden amongst food and water which is also in desperately short supply. >> we support our people by sending food medicine and some kalashnikovs. >> reporter: far away from the violence nato foreign ministers met in berlin. there's still no true agreement on the way forward but there's a clear need for more ground attack aircraft to lead the assault against qaddafi forces. >> sreenivasan: at that nato meeting today, secretary of state hillary clinton appealed for unity. she warned, "qaddafi is testing our determination." meanwhile in tripoli, the libyan leader took to the streets appearing through the sunroof of a car. libyan state television said it took place during air strikes on the city. a mudslide in colombia smashed into a bus late wednesday night, killing at least 20 people. rescue workers searched for bodies at the scene today near the city of manizales. it was the latest tragedy caused by heavy rain from the la nina weather cycle. the downpours have led to hundreds of deaths and forced more than two million people
from their homes. two million babies are stillborn every year, more than all the children killed by malaria and h.i.v. combined. the medical journal "the lancet" reported the numbers today, based on estimates by the world health organization and others. in the united states, there were six still births per 1,000 deliveries, but the rate was nearly double for african american mothers. experts said at least a million of the deaths are preventable with better medical care. ford motor company is recalling nearly 1.2 million f-150 pickup trucks because of airbags that can deploy without warning. nearly 100 injuries have been documented. the company conducted a similar recall on a smaller scale earlier this year. it initially told the national highway traffic safety administration that a larger recall was unjustified. the action includes trucks made between the 2004 and 2006 model years. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn back to the different visions for tackling the deficit. last week, house republicans led by paul ryan offered one path. yesterday, the president put
forward his ideas. we have our own debate now, with paul krugman, nobel-prize winning economist at princeton university and a columnist for the "new york times." and douglas holtz-eakin, former director of the congressional budget office. now president of the american action forum, a policy think tank. i'd like to get both of you, starting with, douglas holtz-eakin, a brief overview on the president's speech yesterday. what did you take from it? >> well, i found it very disappointing. first it's not much of a plan. it's warmed over budget proposals, another commission, and a gimmicky trigger that really won't have much impact, and because it's not much of a plan, it's not going to have much of an impact. in contrast to what the republicans have proposed which would take us from borrowing $58,000 ever second to have no debt, the president's plan runs large deficits in the future. and most disappointing, it's not a path to a plan because rather than being a piece of leadership to allow some
bipartisan negotiations. it was reactive. it was very partisan in tone and personal at times, and didn't give a path to anything, it seemed, other than his personal political--. >> brown: we'll come back to some details. paul krugman. did you hear a path? did you see a plan? >> yes. if you're serious about the deficit there are two things you have to do. you have to reign in health care costs and that means having a process for bringing health care costs down. it relies on independent experts to set a target for medicare costs and look for things-- ways to save money, which is the way it's going to happen. it's not going to happen through some magical process of invoking the free market to solve all our problems. and you also have to get serious about revenue. there's no real way you can do this without having some additional revenue, and the president's proposal was-- had both of those things. i think it relied a little too much on spending cuts and should have had more for revenue, but this was a serious proposal whereas in fact the republican plan released last week was a joke. it was full of unexplained sources of revenue, and
spending cuts that are never going to happen, couldn't happen. so this was actually a much more serious proposal, not ideal, but much more serious than what we've seen from the other side. >> brown: pick up douglas holtz-eakin on the revenue side. on the tax hike. last night, treasury secretary geithner was on the program and he told jim there's no plausible way to tackle the long-term problems without raising taxes. the president made clear that he's going to let the bush-era tax cuts expire. now how do you approach a long-term problem without dealing with the revenues? >> well, i think you first recognize that the tax proposal doesn't solve the problem. it was in his 2012 budget. in that budget, we're still running a deficit of $1.2 trillion 10 years from now. it was widely agreed the president's budget didn't make the grade yet he comes back with the same proposal. this isn't the solution to our deficit»ei]7nñ problem. instead the solution lies with social security, medicare, medicaid, the new affordable care act--. >> brown: why?
why take revenues off the table? >> again, the president's own commission said the route to higher revenues is through tax reform. the president did mention tax reform and i thought that was one of the good pieces of this speech, but the notion that you can somehow take 2% of the americans and solve the largest national problem we have is just not going to add up. >> brown: paul krugman? >> well, look, the proposal called for raising revenue through not-- through allowing those top-end tax cuts to expire and closing of loopholes, the ending of exemptions. that's a little squishy but not remotely as squishy as what we saw last week. last week we saw a plan that not only proposed to make the tax cuts permanent but propose $3 million in more tax cuts. there is a bit of an asterisk in this but it's a tiny one compared to what we saw from the other side. it's much more congressional, much more plausible than what we are getting from the
republicans. >> brown: you think it's still weighted too much on spending cuts over tax revenues? >> that's right. i think in the end-- but i don't think there's an urgency about this-- i think in the end, when we finally do resolve this-- and it's going to be a process that takes a number of years-- we're probably going to have to see some tax hikes on the middle class as well as the rich. it's going to have to be the-- the rich are going to pay mrk a larger share but it's going to be some broad but modest increase in taxes, coupled with very effective controls on health care costs. that's the route. that's the only thing that actually makes sense. >> brown: you don't see that as an inevitable, necessary path? >> we know from the evidence around the dplob that if you find a company that has two problems-- a big budget problem and a growth problem-- and the united states has both of those problems-- that the best route forward is to keep taxes low, cut spending. that boosts the economic growth and the budgetary correction that is most effective. what you're seeing is republicans echoing the evidence from places like
canada and others around the globe that have dealt with this successfully. >> can i weigh in on that. >> brown: okay. >> one of the things that was most nerve-racking or upsetting about that republican report was rolling out discredited research, discredited examples. i mean, canada shows that you can cut spend kpg grow, as long as you also have a large devaluation of your kurnssy and a big cut in interest rates, neither of which we can have. the lessons of international experience are not at all what doug is saying. the lessons of international experience is you have to pay for what you want to have. if you want to have a decent social safety net you probably have to raise some taxes to pay for it and the president is a lot closer, again, to realism than anything we've seen from the other time. >> brown: can we move to medicare and medicaid? >> that's at the heart of it. >> brown: another clear difference that the president brought out yesterday. i'll start with you, doug. he pointed to the ryan plan
as essentially ending a social contract between government and its citizens on these important programs. >> well, i think that to do nothing is to really end the social contract. social security, medicare, medicaid, alm of the key aspects of our social safety net for the aged and poor will not survive the next generation. they are all running in red ink now. none will be solvent when the next generation comes around. so to offer up nothing is simply unacceptable. paul ryan and the republicans have offered up an alternative vision that preserves these programs for the next generation, that solves the budget problem, and most importantly, does not damage the economy with a debt crisis that we can see on the horizon. now, there can be principle disagreement in the specifics will of the proposals but there cannot be just a "no, we're not doing that." that's not a solution. >> brown: paul krugman-- >> that's not what was in the president's plan. the president's plan was to take the measures that we-- that most health care christmases believe are the way to control health care costs to apply them to
settum a set of rules that will make it stort of require congress to overrule specifically cost-saving measures. that's how you do it. the ryan plan does not actually do anything, anything at all to control health care costs. it just says, "well, we're going to hand out these vouchers and people are going to buy insurance and somehow or other, even though the vouchers will be far short of projection of the cost of health insurance, that somehow it will all work out in the end." that's not a solution. that's-- that's a privatization, and belief in magic. >> brown: go ahead. >> the president's plan is to take the affordable care act, which his own actuary says will raise, not lower national health care spending and use it more expensively. it's picking a mechanism that isn't going to work and using it more heavily. it's not really a solution. it's a great speech, but it's not going to take on the fundamental problems of medicare and medicaid. a voucher, envisions something that looks very much like what congress now
uses, the federal employee health benefit plan, which has a great track record of success. you do have to change the trajectory. you can't simply say, "we're going to continue to do this or something we know won't work." >> brown: let me ask because there are so many details and all of these we will be debating over the next months. paul krugman, a broader question here, because criticism from liberals fair while now-- and, still-- is this debate has moved ever right-ward, and that the entire debate now is about cutting the deficit instead of looking specifically at unemployment or stimulating the economy. do you think the president himself is still allowing the debate too far to the center to the right? >> this was-- look, this was a speech about the deficit. and i think there's a separate issue about whether we're over emphasizing the deficit at the expense of the immediate need to create more jobs. but given you're going to go after the deficit, still what obama did was propose a plan that leenz more heavily on spending cuts than revenue increases. and a lot of us would have liked to see the balance
shifted to a more equal burden sharing on that respect. but, look, there was a fundamental-- the thing that was gratifying about obama's speech was he did say, look, this community, this national, a wealthy nation ought to be able to take care of its own. maybe it won't be able to take care of its own quite as lavishly as we've been doing in the past but we're going to be able to do it. we need to look for more efficient, more khost effective ways of doing it but not to give up and just hand people vouchers-- and, yes, they are vouchers-- not to privatize and say you're on your own. that's very gratifying. the specifics in some ways were less important than the tone. the president stood up for the values of his party, and i think, ultimately, the value of this country. >> brown: in the last minute, the broad charge on the conservative side is this whole thing really is not about deficit cutting. it is more an ideological, fundamental changing that-- making government smaller, changing that exact with its citizens. >> the-- the ryan plan, paul
has clearly said, is about what is the appropriate role of government and what is it the appropriate role of the private sector. it is built on a set of principles that have served this country very well. it is a center-right country. it deserves a government m its values. and this doesn't does it in ways that preserves the social safety net that the people expect the government to provide, that preserves and enhances economic growth, and takes off the table what the president's commission said is a national moment of truth it's threat of a crisis in debt that would damage not just our economy but our social fabric. >> brown: all right, all right, this debate will certainly continue. douglas holtz-eakin, paul krugman, thank you both very much. >> lehrer: a top official with the federal aviation administration resigned today, following the latest incident involving an air traffic controller sleeping on the job. judy woodruff has the story.
>> woodruff: the resignation came one day after a small plane transporting an ill patient was unable to reach the control tower at nevada's reno-tahoe international airport. the plane was forced to circle overhead. >> woodruff: controllers in sacramento, some 120 miles away, tried to help the pilot reach reno. >> woodruff: 16 minutes passed as the pilot continued to circle. >> woodruff: the plane landed safely. but secretary of transporation ray lahood responded that lapses in control towers will not be tolerated. >> i am totally outraged that a controller would be sleeping in a control tower when a plane is
trying to land with a patient that is sick or anybody that is trying to land an airplane. this is ridiculous. >> woodruff: the problem in reno tops off a string of similar cases this year involving sleeping or unresponsive controllers disclosed by the f.a.a., including one earlier this week in seattle and one last month at reagan national airport in washington, d.c. last month, a controller at as investigations continue, the f.a.a. has ordered that an additional controller be added to the midnight shift at 27 control towers around the nation currently staffed with only one worker. and for more on concerns about these safety questions in the sky, we turn to alan levin, who covers aviation for "usa today." alan levin, thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> just to clarify, these 27
towers that just have had one person on duty overnight, what kind of towers are those? >> they're at medium and smaller commercial airports. so in other words, your chicago o'hares or your atlanta hartsfield, they have multiple people on duty all night long. >> woodruff: but you had the incident in washington, regan national, was that unusual? >> that an airport of that size would have that--. >> woodruff: right. >> no, it was not, and the issue at reagan is there was virtually no traffic due to noise restriction after 1:00 a.m. and before 5:00 a.m. so the f.a.a. felt there wasn't a lot to do for more than one person. >> woodruff: help us understand how common these incidents are. is this something we're seeing more of now or it's been going on for a long time and we just haven't heard about it? >> on the one hand i've been covering this beat a long time and this is the first time i've seen a spate of
incidents like this, anything close to this. but what everybody i've talked to-- you know, people who actually work in the air traffic world and the nation's best sleep and fatigue experts say-- is that this is a sign of not something new but of a phenomenon that's been going on for years. and that's because, at least several thousand people in any given week or pay period at the f.a.a., are working midnight shifts, and the body is simply incapable of adapting to working overnight. and with the f.a.a., it's even worse than that. they have a shift that's many krorlz work called the "rattler." it's given that name because it rattles the brain so much. when you work a midnight shift and a day shift in a 24-hour period. it's virtually impossible, the experts say, to get a decent amount of sleep while you do that. >> woodruff: if they're having these kinds of shifts,
is anybody arguing they shouldn't? >> well the national transportation safety board for many years has issued recommendations and has argued that they shouldn't. the most recent series of recommendations came in 2007. but it's-- the f.a.a. to date has been unable to do anything about it. i do have to say there's an effort under way right now to change that, but in some ways, all the bad publicity about this has undercut that effort to some extent. >> woodruff: what are they saying is the reason they can't change this? >> well, they're not saying anything officially. but what we hear is that one of the key proposals is to allow people working overnight shifts to nap. now, we're not talking about sacking out for the whole shift, but, you know, a very carefully monitored nap for half an hour, an hour, and then going back to work. and this dramatically improves your alertness and reduces roars. but, unfortunately, i think there's a feeling in the
administration this would not pass what they call the jay leno test. in other words, it week ridiculed and joked about so they're kind of afraid to go and do that. >> woodruff: while they figure that out. how much-- what sort of safety concerns are we + i mean, so far, we haven't seen anything-- at least not these most recent incidentses-- fortunately nothing's happened, but there have to be concerns that something could happen. >> well, it's always important to keep your eye on the broader picture on safety, and, you know, we have very few fatal accidents in this country involving airlines number one, and secondly, accidents involving air traffic controllers are even rarer. but having said that, the national transportation safety board has been very concerned about this because there have been several very dramatic near misses of planes nearly hitting each other on the runway, and when they go back and do their investigation, they
find that the controller did not have a good night's sleep the night before, and, therefore, made an error. so it's, clearly, a safety issue that people have their eyes on. >> woodruff: is any parent of the issue not having enough air traffic controllers? how much is that a factor here? >> that's a very tricky debate. it get into politics on the hill about the budget. it gets into union debate, and that sort of thing. i think there's a case to be made that with more controllers, you could have these carefully monitored naps more easily. but i know there are a lot of people who say that's nonsense. indeed, chairman mica of the house transportation chiti issued a press release yesterday, attacking the addition of these controllers, saying that it was wasteful spending. >> woodruff: well, this is clearly something a lot of people have their eye on, and alan levin, we thank you very much for giving us some insights.
>> my pleasure, thank you. >> brown: the united states isn't the only country struggling with healthcare reform. special correspondent jeffrey kaye reports for our "global health unit" about china's efforts to improve care for more than a billion people. >> reporter: when westerners think about chinese medicine, what often comes to mind is acupuncture, herbal treatments and massage, all of which are still common. but, in fact, since the 1990s, the more remarkable aspect of healthcare in communist china has been capitalism and the development of a profit-driven, fee for service medical field, heavily reliant on sales of expensive pharmaceuticals. chinese officials now say the market-oriented approach hasn't worked. it produced huge disparities which left many people without
access to care. so two years ago the government embarked on a massive scheme to reform the system-- to make it more affordable and accessible and to make people healthier. minister of health dr. chen zhu is overseeing the plan. one major goal is to provide universal health insurance. >> and we have already made some significant progress. >> reporter: what changes do you think the average person at this point, can see in the healthcare system? >> first of all, the insurance system, nowadays, 94% of the chinese people are in the coverage of the insurance. >> reporter: 94%? >> 94%, yeah. >> reporter: that's a three-fold increase in health insurance coverage since 2005. even so, there are major gaps. patients still have to
pay out of pocket fees and large deductibles. and, with separate plans for rural and urban residents, many migrant workers from the countryside are not covered in the cities. altogether, the government hasj pledged to invest as much as $200 billion on health care between 2009 and the end of this year. expanding health insurance program has led to a problem: an increased demand for services that the system is hard-pressed to accommodate. according to gordon liu, an architect of china's health reforms and an economics professor at peking university. >> that's why most chinese people feel very difficult to get into a hospital even if they have insurance programs, even if they have money in their pocket, they... they cannot easily get into the hospital for diagnosis or beds if they need it.
>> reporter: that's because so many people prefer to seek treatment at prestigious hospitals instead of local health centers for even minor complaints such as headaches and colds. at this beijing hospital, doctors see as many as 50 patients a day. emergency services are so overcrowded that the staff has set up beds in the corridor. people start lining up early in the morning to obtain appointments for the following day. many patients travel long distances to get to the hospital. >> ( translated ): every day there are so many people waiting in line, i can't even find out where to start. >> reporter: what time did you get here this morning? >> ( translated ): i came at 7:00. i stayed at my relatives house last night nearby to make sure i would get here early.
>> reporter: to address the problem, the government is constructing or improving thousands of smaller neighborhood medical centers. at the fangzhuang community clinic in beijing, construction workers were putting the finishing touches on new rooms that will be dedicated to maternal and child care. so this is a whole new wing that you're building here? dr. wu hao, the clinics director, says as a result of the reforms, his facility is paying greater attention to preventive care. >> ( translated ): this clinic will be used for shots for children and health check-ups for newborn baby and also check- ups for pregnant women. we have also built a new psychological center for those people who need psychology, psychologists. >> reporter: wu says his clinic at the same time, authorities have promised to narrow the vast disparity in health care between urban and rural residents by improving facilities in the
countryside and making sure every village has a clinic by the end of this year. for this small rural clinic, healthcare reform hasn't meant a lot physically. it's still in need of quite a lot of repair. but for the people who come here, they're much more able to afford the care they need. the doctor at the clinic, gong yong sheng,aid that since the reform, clinics like his have received an extra $6,000 a year for new equipment. but he says he's spent the money on additional checkups for villagers and for education. gong says rural patients who previously had no insurance can now afford medical care. li shuean, who was receiving an i.v. drip for high blood pressure said each treatment costs her four and a half dollars-- less than half what she used to pay. >> ( translated ): that's a big difference. before i had to pay everything by myself. now the government pays 55%. >> reporter: in the cities, among the more tangible signs of
the increased government spending on health care is new hospital equipment. at the shenzhen people's hospital in southern china, government subsidies have quadrupled in four years: there were 18 dialysis machines before the reforms. now there are 38 and more on the way. 81-year old zhang guan sheng, who suffers from renal disease, says his treatments are more efficient. >> ( translated ): before, they only had a few machines here and now they've brought in a lot of new equipment. and they've improved the environment here. >> reporter: one big problem that china's health officials have to tackle is how to finance big public hospitals. under the current system, hospitals earn most of their money not only by charging for costly equipment, but by prescribing medications. the more drugs they dispense,
the more they make, as roberta lipson explains. >> there was under-investment in hospitals that meant the hospitals had to earn their keep themselves. so while they were called public facilities and their price was kept artificially low, the hospitals needed to find ways to pay their doctors. >> reporter: lipson is president and c.e.o. of chindex, a private health care company in china, which serves mostly foreign nationals and wealthy chinese. >> and so there were all kinds of moral hazards that came out of that including an over- prescription of pharmaceuticals. hospitals were making 60% of their revenue, and still to this day actually, hospitals make about 60% of their revenue through the sale of pharmaceuticals. >> reporter: in many respects the reforms have not yet taken hold. drug profits remain an important part of hospital revenues. a billboard in the lobby of this hospital even advertises the prices of prescription drugs.
sales at pharmacies are bustling. and everywhere it seems, patients are on intravenous drips-- the delivery method of choice in china, which leads the world in per capita bottles of9ñ i.v. fluids. to address the perverse incentives to over-prescribe medication, the chinese government recently slashed the maximum price on about 1,200 commonly-used drugs. it has also told hospitals that no more than half their income can come from prescription medications. gordon liu says china still has a long way to go in reforming its healthcare system. >> ( translated ): i have not seen much changes in this task which is the reform from hospitals, but i am still hoping that more changes will be made. >> reporter: liu wants to see the government invest more funds and expand health insurance by
stepping up reimbursement for outpatient services. and while the government is pumping money into the public sector for lower and middle class patients, it is also encouraging the development of private health care for wealthier individuals who can afford to pay more. >> lehrer: standing up to extremists in pakistan. margaret warner has that story. >> warner: to some in pakistan, he's a popular as a rock star. is rose petals as he arrived at court, yet cadre is an admitted killer, a body guard who in november shot and kiltd governor he was supposed to protect. tasir, the forever of pakistan's pun japrovince,
was a moderate politician who called for ending the lawmaking blasphemy a capitol offense. another figure shabaz bhatti, met a similar fate, gunned down as he left his mother's home. both men had been inspired to try to change the law by the case of a christian woman sentenced to death after neighbors accused her of insulting the prophet mohammed during a dispute. she is still alive in prison. also under threat for proposing to reform the law, parliament aryan sherry rehman. she's been burned in effigy at islamic rallies and denounced by conservative imams. the u.s.-educated rehman, a former journalist and magazine editor, briefly served as information minister under former president pervez musharraf. she was close to former prime minister benazir bhutto, who encouraged her to get into politics. she was injured when bhutto's motorcade was bombed by would-be asassins
in october 2007. rehman responded to the most recent threats by isolating herself fair time in her family well-guard home in karachi, but she remains in parliament. this week, she emerged from her isolation to take part in a u.s.-islamic world fornumb washington. i spoke with her there. sherry rehman, thank you for joining us. what's life been like for you these last three or four months as these two other figures, voices of moderation, were asagsinated? >> oh, it's been difficult, to say the least. it's been dramatically different from the way we lived before in pakistan. we campaigned openly, went amongst all crowd, like all politicians tend to. but after these two assass narkz we've all had to kind of reel back and withdraw behind closed doors for a while, one, to take stock, and, two, to figure out how
we are anything to approach this kind of changed security environment, at least for myself. >> warner: the interior minister told parliament that he and you were the next targets. did you feel the crosshairs? >> yes, certainly, i felt i was in the crosshairs of a much larger political game. this was not really about religion or extremism. this was about politics, which i felt that the religious right played very adroitly, and to tip the bbs of political forces against a fairly noncontroversial-- what could have been a fairly noncontroversial law. >> warner: you want to reform the anti-blasphemy laws. why? >> the blasphemy laws have been used, or rather misused, to target innocent civilians, minorities, vulnerable muslim communities, women, for all sorts of alleged crimes and misdemeanors that have very little to do with religion. a little-known, you know, suggesting anything against
the prophet. so, really, we had to consider amending the law simply to remove something like a death penalty, which i argued not just for the sake of the constitution, but was not available even in the koran for this particular offense. >> warner: president zardari first supported amending these lawses. in fact he called for it, and then he pulled back. why? >> what really triggeredly the retreat from a commitment to amend was the deliberate conflation of this law, and the amendments to all kinds of political issues, such as anti-americanism, such as-- all issues that radicalized the right today in pakistan. and this unfortunate-- and i feel very deliberate conflation-- led to a situation where the streets were roiling, lightning
laws. >> warner: bhatti having been assassinated. >> bhatti no longer with us. >> warner: have they been appeasing the radical right? >> appeasement has been traditionally in pakistan the response, especially by moderate governments, to this kind of roiling on the streets, and amassing of numbers against progressive forces, against the progressive narrative. but i think that there will have to be a regrouping and reconsideration and coming back to this whole issue because it hasn't gone away. >> warner: so is there space for moderate voices in pakistan today? >> of course there is. it may not seem like that, you know, from a vantage such as yours. we have a fair amount of moderates now speaking up. they saw this as a kind of
tipping point, if you like. these two high-profile assassinations. and we see now a new generation of people, a much younger phalanx, if you like, organizing, almost on a daily basis, to declare to everybody that there is a moderate pakistan and that most of us are-- we may be the silent majority and certainly thought silent, but there's a majority that's silent, that votes out religious parties that votes in progress ones and stands up for what it believes in. >> warner: in what way are the forces of moderation fighting back? >> i live in a city called karachi. it's the largest city-- so we are affected, if you like, by proximity to afghanistan, the war over there, the extremism, and militancy that has come into pakistan
that we've seen over the last 15 years. and that very city is yielding up this whole new movement of young people. they're called citizens for democracy. there are many other groups, but there are over 80 groups involved. what they're trying to do is approach the conservative middle class that has now emerged in pakistan, and they're finding that once the voice of-- some rational voices are raised, and a logical argument is made, people sign on. >> warner: now we're out and about here in the u.s. do you feel safe? >> safety is a state of mind, really. you have to be brave but not foolish. so i have, obviously, radically altered the way i move about in pakistan. the state is providing security. i do go out now and try to participate in events, be seen and heard. i don't want to be silenced. i think that is exactly what they would have wanted. >> warner: so you're going
back. >> of course i am. it's my country, and my identity, everything flows from that. >> warner: sherry rehman, thank you so much. >> brown: finally tonight, a new movie about the assassination of abraham lincoln and some provocative questions about military tribunals then and now. ray suarez has our look. >> sreenivasan: on april 14, 1865, five days after general robert e. lee surrendered, and with the civil war drawing to a close, president abraham lincoln was shot at ford's theater in washington. he died the next morning.z1ywñu the assassin, john wilkes booth, had not worked alone. he and his accomplices plotted and skeemd at the boarding house of mary sarat, just blocks from the theater. weeks later, sarat and seven other alleged conspirators
were tried before a military commission. the normal strictures of american justice did not apply. sarat was convicted and sentenced to hang despite the recommendation of five of the nine members of military commission that she be shown mercy. on july 7, 1865 air, parasol shielding her from the son, sarat and three others were led to the gallows. sheechs the first woman to be executed by the united states government. the story of her trial is the subject of the new film "the conspirator" directed by robert redford, starring robin wright as mary sarat, and james mack voi as frederic aiken, the young union army captain given the task of defending her. here to talk with me about the film are james solman and retired u.s. army colonel fred bork a consultant to the film, who served as chief prosecutor for the military commissions at guantanamo bay, cuba, in 2003 and 2004.
james solman, why is this an important story to tell in 2011? >> it was a good story to tell, i think, in 1993, when i began this. i think it's one of the great american stories not told. i like many people didn't know there were multiple attacks. i think everyone thinks they know the story of the lincoln assassination. it turns out most of us don't. there were multiple attacks. didn't know there were hundreds rounded up. didn't know there was a military trial, eight civilians put on trirblg a mother who ran a boarding house, didn't know any of that and found that fascinating and she was on trial likely for crimes committed by her own son and at the center was this extraordinary mother-son story about a mother abandon by her own son, and a surrogate son, a union colonel, played by james mack voi, as you said, who comes to the rescue of a southern woman. that, i thought was an extraordinary story and i think it's a timeless story. >> suarez: are you proposing another theory of how it really happened, or seeking
to right a historical wrong, or retell a story that perhaps isn't well understood? what's the main thrust here? >> well, the main thrust was at the center was this extraordinary mother-son story. and human story. there happened to be parallels to the present never intended. i wrote this in the first few months of the clinton presidency, and president bush the not even yet the governor of the texas. >> suarez: were there ecoafs mary surratt's military commission trial in the work you were doing in wreel life, in 2003 and 2004? >> that's an easy answer because the military commission that tried mary surratt was totally different from the military commission i was involved in and what we have today. and what the government was trying to accomplish in 1865 was very different as well. you've seen the movie. you know that stanton, the
war secretary, holt, the judge advocate general, and president johnson, are determined to get quick convictions and hangings to deter any sort of future attacks. and so that's very different. the military commission that i was involved in was really about still having a full and fair trial. and this was not a fair trial. the civil war commission. >> suarez: but were some of the frustrations faced by frederic aiken echoed in some of the things that you heard uniformed jags talking about coming away from the early years of this process? well, i think they were. having been a defense counsel, i think you're always frustrated. but i think this movie is not an allegorry for guantanamo and jim has told you he wrote it before, but there certainly are echoes. there are the issues in the movie do resonate today, i
think, because it's a time of stress and stress on the government and how the government reacts, and that's what i think is most interesting about the film. >> ray, when i first wrote it, people would say, "fascinating story. hi no idea this took place." and nicely told, but "what's its relevance to today?" i heard that over and over again the first eight years. after september 11 2001 i never heard that. >> suarez: the issue of whether justice is done, whether it's seen to be done, and the public's own desires was taken on head-on in the movie, though, and in one scene we see johnson, the former attorney general of the united states, senator from maryland, arguing with the secretary of war over whether the letter of the law or the need to protect public order and the public interest is really the master here. let's take a look. >> this is a frightened country, ed. you don't need to scare us any more. >> and whose to say none of these things could happen?
the unspeakable already has. our president assassinated, 600,000 dead. the world has changed. >> abandoning the constitution is not the answer. >> suarez: well, that could have been, as they say, torn from the headlines. that really distills some of the arguments being had around the world in the war against terrorism. >> and i think this is really why the movie will appeal to people today because on april 14and when lincoln died on april 15, 1865, the government was afraid, people were afraid that this was a confederate attack to decapitate the union, accepted it into chaos. we're going to kill the president. we're going to try to kill the secretary of state, and-- and perhaps, also attack ulysses s. grant. it's the same thing.
we were all afraid on september 11 and september 12. is this the beginning of a new kind of attack? is this a new form of war? so what resonates is what stanton and president johnson and the judge advocate general joe holt did in the aftermath of the lincoln assassination when the government was under incredible stress, how they balanced safety, national security with freedom is exactly what we wrestled with after 9/11. >> it's also important, i think, to keep in mind that the trial took place just one month after the assassination, and the execution took place in july. so the compression of time is an extraordinarily important part of this story, and i think part of the reason probably so few of us are familiar with it is that stanton was about making sure these assassins or alleged assassins were dead
and buried and forgotten, and in a sense, accomplished that. and to the historical record, so few of us know this story, we all just think of booth and ford's theater and lincoln, end of story. and i think that may be part of the reason. >> stanton wants to deter the confederates from doing anything like this in the future. >> suarez: the film is "the conspirator." james solman, fred bork, thank you. >> thank you for having us. >> it's a pleasure. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day: the house approved government funding for the rest of the fiscal year, including $38 billion in spending cuts. the senate then moved to follow suit. and the federal official who oversees air traffic controllers, resigned, after several incidents of controllers sleeping on the job. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the "newshour" online. hari? >> sreenivasan: you can watch all of jeff kaye's reports from china and read more about his 11-day reporting trip on our world page. and we talk to filmmaker sebastian copeland about his documentary "into the cold." it chronicles a journey across the arctic, timed to the centennial of the first ever successful expedition to the north pole.
all that and more is on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. jeff? >> brown: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm jeffrey brown. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> okay, listen. somebody has got to get serious. >> i think... >> we need renewable energy. >> ...renewable energy is vital to our planet. >> you hear about alternatives, right? wind, solar, algae. >> i think it's got to work on a big scale. and i think it's got to be affordable. >> so, where are they? >> it has to work in the real world. at chevron, we're investing millions in solar and biofuel technology to make it work. >> we've got to get on this now. >> right now.
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