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News Tip: Second Term Expectations for Health Care, Energy

News Tip: Second Term Expectations for Health Care, Energy

Expect controversy over health care reform, some attention to climate change

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The following Duke University experts are available to comment.

Dr. Peter A. Ubel
Professor of business administration and public policy, Duke University 

Ubel is a physician who uses decision psychology and behavioral economics to explore topics such as informed consent, shared decision-making and health care rationing. He blogs at

"As 'Obamacare' rolls out during the president's second term, the law will continue to spark controversy. Watch in particular for claims of rationing and even 'death panels' to accompany the formation of the IPAB, a committee of 15 medical experts given the job of recommending ways to control Medicare expenses if they rise too quickly. 

"Keep an eye out for what this means for fact checking, too. The death panel claim was widely derided as the lie of the year by fact-checking organizations, but is nevertheless believed to be true by almost 40 percent of Americans. 

"Debates over IPAB could also prompt serious discussion about how best to control Medicare expenditures, whether cutting payments to physicians and pharmaceutical companies is the way to go, for example, versus restricting the kind of services Medicare covers. Controlling health care costs is a huge challenge for the country, and one that few people on either side of the aisle believe will be met by Obamacare in its current form."

Tim Profeta
Director, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, associate professor of the practice of public policy, Duke University 

Profeta's areas of expertise include climate change and energy policy, the Clean Air Act, and adaptive use of current environmental laws to address evolving environmental challenges.

"Expectations are low for climate and energy legislation in the second term, although I expect to see a push for a carbon tax as a potentially acceptable revenue-raiser in fiscal cliff negotiations. Without climate and energy legislation, the Obama administration will face pressure to move forward on climate change, particularly in the wake of New York Mayor Bloomberg's endorsement of the president on the issue of climate change after Hurricane Sandy.

"The president's executive authority -- particularly under the Clean Air Act -- presents both the opportunity to develop and implement more clean technology and address global warming, as well as the political peril created by fears of further greenhouse gas regulation across the Midwest."

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