NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – Will the federal government force people to buy health insurance?
The answer may be yes, depending on the outcome of the debate in Washington over how to fix health care.
It will be awhile before there's any real clarity on how so-called mandates would work. But President Obama and key Democrats appear resolved to try to make health insurance work more like car insurance. If you don't have it, you have to buy in or pay a penalty. Some people would be offered
government subsidies to help.
Proponents point to the 46 million uninsured Americans in 2007. They also argue that the more people who buy insurance, the cheaper it is for everyone.
Forcing everyone to buy in would beef up the pool of the young and old, healthy and sick. That in turn would spread risk and help keep health insurance affordable.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The United States will provide $73 million in aid to Zimbabwe, President Barack Obama announced Friday after meeting with Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the White House.
"I obviously have extraordinary admiration for the courage and tenacity that the prime minister has shown in navigating through some very difficult political times in Zimbabwe," Obama said.
"There was a time when Zimbabwe was the breadbasket of Africa, and (it) continues to have enormous potential. It has gone through a very dark and difficult time politically."
(CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Friday it was a "weak, convenient excuse" for talk show host David Lettermen to claim his controversial joke made earlier this week targeted Palin's older daughter, and not 14-year-old Willow.
"My 14-year-old was there with me at the game. She was the only one there with me," Palin said Friday in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
Letterman joked Tuesday that Palin's "daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez" at a recent Yankees game. He admitted the following night that the joke was in "poor taste," but he insisted the line was in reference to 18-year-old Bristol, who gave birth to a boy in December.
KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (CNN) - Former President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 85th birthday Friday by doing what has become his tradition - making a parachute jump - and commenting on national affairs.
"This is great," the elder Bush said after landing near a church in Kennebunkport, Maine, the Bushes' summer home. "I'm glad to be alive and glad my family's all with me."
Bush made the tandem jump from 10,500 feet harnessed to a member of the U.S. Army parachute team. Jumping with him was Robin Meade, an anchor on CNN sister network HLN, also harnessed to a more experienced jumper.
Back on the ground, Bush was flanked by two of his sons - former president George W. Bush, who left office in January, and Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida.
The elder Bush said he intends to do another jump on his 90th birthday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House of Representatives voted 307-97 Friday to approve a bill that would give the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco.
The House had passed a similar measure in April, but needed to approve the Senate version, which passed Thursday.
The measure will now go to President Barack Obama for his signature.
(CNN) - Sarah Palin told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Friday she's not ready to announce any decision on whether she will seek re-election as governor of Alaska in 2010 or seek the Republcian presidential nomination in 2012.
"I'm not definitely going to do anything yet," said the former Republican vice presidential candidate. "What I'm trying to get done for Alaska right now is to get that Alaska gas line built. We need those energy sources flowing through North America. That's what my focus is."
Pressed if she had made a decision privately about future plans, Palin said "No decision that I'd want to announce today."
In a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released last week, Palin was effectively tied with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as the top pick by Republicans for the party's 2012 presidential nomination.
(CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is pushing back against critics of the proposed $26 billion natural gas pipeline in her state, saying demand for natural gas is on the rise in the United States.
"By probably 2030, we’ll see about a 40 percent increase in demand for natural gas," Palin told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview set to air at 6 p.m. ET on The Situation Room. "Domestically, we have the supply. The resources are up there in Alaska, and it’s time that we build this infrastructure and flow that very valuable resource into hungry markets throughout the U.S."
Palin's comments come in the wake of questions by some critics of the proposal whether there is an adequate demand for the massive expenditure.
The Alaska governor called those views "short sighted" and said the project is "right for our nation’s security and for our environment, for our economy."
The former Republican vice presidential candidate also praised the recent alliance of TransCanada and Exxon Mobil - the two rivals in the years-long battle of who would build the pipeline - and take a stake in the future revenue it generates.
Palin, who has long courted such a deal, was on hand in Texas to announce the joint-project.
"It’s a great venue that we have, a vehicle called AGIA, the Alaska Gas Line Inducement Act, and believe me, Exxon, the largest company in the world, and TransCanada, the best pipeline building company in the world, I’m sure they would not have aligned and committed to building this project had they not crunched the numbers and figured out that for their bottom line," she said.
Watch Sarah Palin's full interview at 4 and 6 p.m. ET on The Situation Room
(CNN) - Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the Rhode Island Democrat who in 2006 checked into a rehabilitation center for drug addiction following a car accident on Capitol Hill, is again seeking medical treatment.
In a statement issued by his office Friday, the son of Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy said, "I have always said that recovery is a life-long process and that I will do whatever it takes to preserve my health."
"In consultation with my doctors, I have decided to temporarily step away from my normal routine to ensure that I am being as vigilant as possible in my recovery," he said. "I hope that in some small way my decision to be proactive and public in my efforts to remain healthy can help remove the stigma that has served as a barrier for many Americans reluctant to get the help they need."
The Providence Journal reported Friday Kennedy has "entered an undisclosed medical facility for treatment."
After crashing his car into a Capitol Hill barricade in 2006, Kennedy admitted to an addiction to prescription medication and spent a month in a rehabilitation center in Minnesota.
- CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report
(CNN) - Hey gang; I’m typing this on my blackberry on the way to airport.
This morning, while I prefer to be thinking about what to ask President Bush 41 on his 85th birthday, I had to mostly think about what to pack. Seriously!
What do you pack for an assignment that has you interviewing a former president in the morning in a casual setting, training with the Army’s Golden Knights, jumping out of a plane with the Knights and Bush 41, and then doing live shots all afternoon after I disrobe from the skydiving jumpsuit?
All while it might rain?
Two words: baseball cap.