Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dear America, Admit That You’re Stupid! Love, Nancy

The founding fathers debated bills for weeks. They then wrote them, referred them to committee’s of style and prose, brought them back to the floor, debated them again, wrote newspaper articles about them, went home to their districts to discuss them, and finally passed them — or not — after much deliberation.

Today’s Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wants us to just pass a bill so that later we can “find out what is in it.” Here’s what the zombie from San Francisco said about Obamacare yesterday:

“You’ve heard about the controversies within the bill, the process about the bill, one or the other. But I don’t know if you have heard that it is legislation for the future, not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America, where preventive care is not something that you have to pay a deductible for or out of pocket. Prevention, prevention, prevention–it’s about diet, not diabetes. It’s going to be very, very exciting. But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”

Why can’t we know what’s in the bill before you pass it, Nancy? Or are you afraid that once people find out the horrors contained in this abortion of a bill they might not want it passed? In fact, by nearly every accounting the American people don’t want this communist take over of one-sixth of the economy to proceed.

Of course, communists and socialists don’t care what the people have to say about anything. They, after all, know best, right? That’s why Nancy and her coven in D.C. just want us to shut up and let them pass this witch’s brew.

So let this Congress lumber forward like the living dead to pass a bill that will materially alter the relationship that citizen has to government in these great United States. Let Nancy “Fright Night” Pelosi destroy the United States as we know it… On second thought, let’s not. Call your Congressman and Senator today and tell them you do not want this destructive bill passed in your name.


Obama Wants to Exploit Physicians not Listen to Them

Doctors Treated to Abuse at White House and by Democrats in Congress

Americans recall how Obama amazed the nation with his straw-man characterizations of doctors who perform unnecessary amputations and tonsillectomies out of greed. What people don’t know is how doctors have been mistreated behind closed doors by the White House and by Democrats in Congress.

Here are two stories that show the kind of abuse doctors have been subjected to in Obama’s Washington. The first sordid tale was reported by Matt Latimer at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government. I will follow excerpts of that story with an El Marco exclusive peek at how one group of doctors who support Obama was subjected to Rahm Emanuel’s beastly behavior in the White House. But first here’s Latimer’s account of doctors treated badly by congressional Democrats.
Attempting to enact his big-government health care scheme, President Obama and his supporters frequently claimed that a “majority” of doctors supported his health-care plans. When the American Medical Association – which had opposed HillaryCare – signed onto Obama’s plan last year, the organization seemed to make the President’s case. Most people assumed that the AMA represented most of the doctors in the country. But in fact, the AMA represents less than 20 percent of all physicians in the United States. And yet as the organization’s leadership moved more to the left, it held a near monopoly on media attention on issues pertaining to public health. No longer.

As the AMA has become increasingly politicized in recent years – issuing a statement in support of climate change, for example, in 2008 – a new group of doctors has risen to challenge them.

Docs4PaitientCare: Founded by Dr. Hal Scherz, a prominent Atlanta physician, the group of doctors expressed concern that like so many other professional groups, the AMA’s leadership have been thoroughly “Washingtonized” – caring more about the pleadings of other lobbyists on K Street, White House invitations and Capitol Hill committee appearances than the professions they are supposed to represent. As doctors have taken a battering over several decades from insurance companies, HMOS, and government agencies, Scherz says the AMA was a bystander. “As the insurance companies become more and more impossible and government intrusion keeps growing, we’ve seen our delivery of care to our patients compromised and our incomes decrease,” he said. But it was the AMA’s support for ObamaCare that really troubled Scherz and others in his field.

Many doctors run small businesses and by nature are entrepreneurial. Why then, he wondered, would the AMA favor ObamaCare’s regulatory and taxation burden? Why would they want a multitude of government panels interfering with the decisions doctors usually make with their patients about care and treatment? Recognizing that the AMA was compromised, Scherz decided to organize his own group in opposition to the Obama plan.

Wearing their scrubs and white jackets, the doctors drew attention as they walked the halls of congress and spoke at rallies on Capitol Hill. Often just showing up in the offices of members of the House and Senate, they would manage to get appointments with the members themselves or key staff members.

Joyce Lovett MD, an African American female pediatrician, got the doctors into a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus. A debate opened up over the health care plan and soon the doctors were text-messaging their colleagues visiting other offices around the capitol for reinforcements. As the room began filling up, the doctors, doing well in the back and forth of debate, seemed to be changing some minds. At that point, a worried Black Caucus leader and diehard partisan, John Conyers, broke up the meeting, saying the doctors were more interested in embarrassing the first black president than in achieving real reform. Unused to this sort of political attack, the astonished doctors told other caucus members how they felt after taking time from their practices and patients to come all the way to Washington only to hear a member of Congress insinuate they were racists. One caucus member privately dismissed Conyers’ “old ways of thinking,” suggesting that the CBC might be ready for fresh, and more innovative, leadership.

Playing the race card against any American, black or white, who criticizes Obama is part of a strategic Democrat/MSM assault on free speech and dissent. This has become a standard Democrat debating tactic, and is but one example of how liberals are unwilling to compete in the arena of ideas.

With a flurry of recent headlines shedding light on Rahm “Dead Fish” Emanuel’s aggressive personality, a conversation I had last week with a doctor in New Jersey took on added relevance. The doctor, whom I have known since the late ’70s, related to me an incident told to him by a medical colleague who is a large financial supporter of Obama. A supporter, that is, until his recent invitation to the White House knocked the lenses out of his rose-colored glasses.

He told how he was invited as part of a group of other Obama stalwarts in the medical profession for what he mistakenly believed was an opportunity to offer input to the President’s ongoing health care initiative.

The colleague related how this group of doctors was seated in the White House and waited patiently as Obama’s TelePrompTers were assembled in front of them. When, after a long wait, Obama finally appeared, he delivered one of his trademark TelePrompTer performances lasting about five minutes. Obama thanked the doctors, via TelePrompTer, for their support, and then left the room. This is where it gets interesting.

Rahm Emanuel was left behind to face the doctors. When the doctors related to Emanuel that they thought they had been invited not merely to support Obama, but to advocate for doctors and patients, Rahm exploded with a verbal tirade. He was described as rude and abusive as he proclaimed that the doctors had been invited for one reason only, to show support for Obamacare. He made it clear that they were expected to be advocates for the administration’s policies.

The entire experience was profoundly disturbing to the doctor who experienced Emanuel’s bullying outburst. When he returned to his home state, he no longer supported Obama, who he now saw in a new light. He now considers Obama to be a “complete phony”. As for Rahm Emanuel, he vehemently described him as “a very dangerous personality” and “a dangerous menace to our country”

So doctors who oppose Obamacare run the risk of being called racists and docs who support Obamacare are told to shut-up and toe the line. Hows that hopey and changey thing going America?

When the Obama White House stages a media event using doctors as props, the intent is to create the illusion of support from the medical profession as a whole. One has to wonder if the doctors story cited above gives us a glimpse of the AstroTurf process for vetting Docs to appear at Obama events.

On Oct 5, 2009 one such Rose Garden event was staged and the NY Post published some embarrassing facts and photos:
President Obama rolled out the red carpet – and handed out doctors’ white coats as well, just so nobody missed his hard-sell health-care message.

In a heavy-handed attempt at reviving support for health-care reform, the White House orchestrated a massive photo op to buttress its claim that front-line physicians support Obama.

A sea of 150 white-coated doctors, all enthusiastically supportive of the president and representing all 50 states, looked as if they were at a costume party as they posed in the Rose Garden before hearing Obama’s pitch for the Democratic overhaul bills moving through Congress.

The physicians, all invited guests, were told to bring their white lab coats to make sure that TV cameras captured the image. But some docs apparently forgot, failing to meet the White House dress code by showing up in business suits or dresses. So the White House rustled up white coats for them and handed them to suited physicians who had taken seats in the sun-splashed lawn area.

All this to provide a visual counter to complaints from doctors that pending legislation is bad news for the medical profession.

What the media won’t tell you is that some of the doctors were former members of the “Doctors for Obama” organization. Oh, but it’s renamed after the election “Doctors for America”, which is part of “Organizing for America”, which was renamed from “Obama for America”, which was/is Obama’s campaign machine.

One of the Obama administrations early accomplishments was making the word AstroTurf a commonly understood term in America. Previously AstroTurf was an obscure term like “teabagger” known mainly by the small number of the liberal-left who were practitioners of it. Long associated with Obama’s chief strategist David Axelrod, AstroTurf as now employed by Obama’s White House is something voters are learning to recognize and reject.

SOURCE (Some good pix at the link)

Silver bullet from U.S. states kills 'mandatory' Obamacare

36 legislatures fight for citizens' rights to opt out of health-coverage demand

At least 36 state legislatures are considering legislation that would allow citizens to opt out of a key component of President Obama's health-care "reform" – an "individual mandate" requiring that all Americans have health insurance.

Both the House and Senate health-care bills require Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. The House bill establishes a fine based on percentage of a person's income, while the Senate version creates a penalty as a flat fee or percentage of income, whichever is higher. Those refusing to get insurance could be found guilty of a misdemeanor crime, punishable by another fine or even jail time.

Join nearly 100 members of Congress and 13,000 Americans in rejecting federal government health-care mandates on patients, employers, individuals and states – sign on to the Declaration of Health Care Independence.

"The president's proposal adopts the Senate approach but lowers the flat dollar assessments, and raises the percent of income assessment that individuals pay if they choose not to become insured," a White House plan released in February states.

States rejecting 'individual mandate'

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, formal resolutions or bills have been filed in opposition to the individual mandate in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Also, as of March 4, Virginia became the first state to enact a new statute section titled, "Health insurance coverage not required." In Arizona, voters will cast ballots on a constitutional amendment in November 2010 that would "preserve the freedom of all residents of the state to provide for their own health care."

Lawmakers suggest approval of the legislation may spark a legal battle over states' rights versus the federal government's reach of power. The Boston Globe reported the measures could set the stage for "one of the greatest tests of federal power over the states since the civil rights era."

"The administration is trying to shift from a government by social compact, agreement between elected officials and citizens, to a government where the leaders tell the subjects what to do," Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, chief sponsor of the measure in his state, told the Globe. "That is not what the American Revolution was about."

The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, has sparked nationwide interest with its model "Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act: How Your State Can Block Single-Payer and Protect Patients' Rights." ALEC warns that forcing patients to enroll in one-size-fits-all plans would cause massive increases in spending and force policymakers to ration care as a cost-containment measure.

Is mandatory insurance constitutional?

Minnesota State Rep. Tom Emmer told the New York Times in September 2009 that lawmakers in his state have proposed a state constitutional amendment to protect citizens from government interference in their private health decisions. "All I'm trying to do is protect the individual's right to make health-care decisions," Emmer said. "I just don't want the government getting between my decisions with my doctors." He said an amendment wouldn't prohibit anyone from participating in a federal health program. It would simply prevent them from being forced to enroll. "[T]ell me where in the U.S. Constitution it says the federal government has the right to provide health care," Emmer said. "This is the essence of the debate."

During the Democratic presidential primary, Obama took a jab at Hillary Clinton over the individual mandate. "The main difference between my plan and Sen. Clinton's plan," he said, "is that she'd require the government to force you to buy health insurance and she said she'd 'go after' your wages if you don't."

According to the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, the federal government has never mandated that Americans purchase any good or service. In 1994, the CBO studied the individual mandate in Clinton's universal health-care plan and found that it was an unprecedented requirement. "A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action," the CBO report stated. "The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government."

Opponents say the individual mandate is unconstitutional because the Constitution doesn't grant the federal government power to fine citizens for refusing to purchase goods and services. Ken Klukowski, senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union, explained in a Politico commentary why there is no constitutional basis for the individual mandate. "People who decline coverage are not receiving federal money, so that mandate can't fall under the spending part of the Tax and Spending Clause," he wrote.

Article I of the Constitution authorizes excise and capitation taxes, and the 16th Amendment created the income tax. However, Klukowski contends that government health insurance cannot be considered an excise, capitation or income tax. "It can't be an excise tax because that's a surcharge on a purchase, and here people are not buying anything," he explained. "It can't be a capitation (or 'direct') tax because that is a tax on every person in a state and must be equal for every person in the state; this would be a levy that some people would pay and others would not. And it can't be an income tax because that must be based on personal income, not purchase decisions."

He added, "All that's left is the Commerce Clause. And the people who declined to purchase government-mandated insurance would not be engaging in commercial activity, so there's no interstate commerce. That, in fact, is the government's problem with them: Those people refuse to take the money or play the game."

Likewise, the Congressional Research Service recently reported that determining whether an individual mandate is constitutional under the Commerce Clause "is perhaps the most challenging question posed by such a proposal, as it is a novel issue whether Congress may use this clause to require an individual to purchase a good or service."

Klukowski wrote that if Obama wants a plan that forces Americans to purchase insurance, he will need to "persuade the nation to adopt a constitutional amendment creating a right to health care." He added, "You might have better odds of getting struck by lightning."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and outspoken critic of the individual mandate, told CNS News that if Congress can force Americans to buy health care, or mandate the purchase of anything, "we've lost our freedoms, and that means the federal government can do anything it wants to do to us."


Real competition among health plans

The flash point of last year’s health care debate was the public option. The proposal, which calls for a government-created health insurer to compete with private insurers, was praised by President Barack Obama and its liberal supporters as a way of “keeping insurance companies honest.” Conservatives criticized it as a slippery slope to a government-run single-payer system.

The public option appeared to be dead when Senate leaders decided not to include it in their health care reform bill. But prominent liberals have recently called for the Senate to add it to the new reform proposal. More than 100 House Democrats, 37 Senate Democrats and major progressive groups like and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have urged that the public option be added through reconciliation. The public option now has “a new pulse,” says the liberal website Talking Points Memo.

So far, arguments have been largely theoretical. Or they refer — positively or negatively — to government-run health care systems in foreign countries. A better comparison, however, might be to a “public option” Washington created in another part of the insurance industry.

Since September 2008, the government has infused billions into an insurer that provides coverage for cars, homes and business assets. Once this insurer got government funding, it began slashing premiums for many of the insurance policies it sells. Its private-sector competitors have cried foul, but new customers keep signing up.

Chances are that most readers have heard of this insurer — just not referred to as a “public option.” Rather, it is known by its initials: AIG. Though the primary argument for the government to pour more than $180 billion into American International Group’s coffers was to save the financial system from the company’s bad mortgage bets, the infusions have given the company an advantage over its rivals in its daily businesses. In the months after the bailout, The Wall Street Journal reported, “AIG at times has slashed insurance prices — by more than 30 percent in some cases — to fend off rivals and to keep or win contracts.”

AIG cut premiums by 34 percent, for example, to underbid three other firms and win renewal of a policy with the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Journal reported. It pried away a rival’s contract covering the city-owned airport in Mesa, Ariz., by bidding about 30 percent less. The company assuaged concerns about safety and soundness by pointing directly to the government infusion that, it says, “strengthens [AIG’s] capital positions.”

Rival insurers have complained loudly. So have trade groups like the American Insurance Association. But AIG’s competitors aren’t the only ones concerned. The Government Accountability Office and the insurance department of Pennsylvania are investigating whether the company has been charging inadequate amounts for the risks involved in its policies since it received bailout money. In a preliminary report, the GAO said it had not “drawn any final conclusions about how the assistance has impacted the overall competitiveness” of the market but did find that “AIG’s insurance companies have likely received some indirect benefit” from not having the parent company’s credit rating downgraded.

On the liberal website The Huffington Post, Don McNay, a personal finance columnist, decried AIG’s apparent use of its subsidies to distort the insurance market. “Undercutting the market,” he wrote, “is a bigger issue than the $165 million in bonuses. If AIG loses millions, or billions, in the future due to its ‘overly aggressive pricing,’ we are going to be picking up the tab.”

Indeed, liberals often complain about companies that use an advantage to allegedly engage in “predatory pricing,” even if it results in short-term benefits for consumers. They claim that airlines, discount retailers and other businesses that slash prices will drive out smaller competitors.

Though the Supreme Court concluded, in 1986, that “there is a consensus among commentators that predatory pricing schemes are rarely tried, and even more rarely successful,” it is a different story when the government gives one firm a direct subsidy or regulatory advantage.

Yet liberals have abandoned their fears of underpricing driving out competitors when it comes to a public option in health insurance. Another Huffington Post contributor, Sahil Kapur, argued that “if private insurers don’t survive” competition from the government plan, “it’s because they were ripping off customers or operating inefficiently.” A concern about unfair competition, he declared, “implicitly prioritizes the well-being of providers over consumers.”

Yet everyone eventually loses when the game is rigged through a subsidized insurance competitor — whether it’s AIG or the public option. Private insurers folding or leaving the market for a particular type of insurance means less innovation in pricing and risk prevention, leading to fewer options and higher costs for most consumers.

And if a price war engendered by subsidized competition meant premiums were inadequate to cover risk, the government might be faced with a bigger insurance tab. The quality of coverage could also suffer. Choice, in turn, would be limited even more.

Of course, competition isn’t the end goal of some public option advocates, who most likely see the public option as a way station for a single-payer system like Canada’s. But if that’s the case, why not have an honest debate, as Washington Post economist Robert Samuelson suggests, between single payer and “genuine competition among health plans over price and quality”?

To bring real competition, let customers buy health insurance across state lines and remove provisions of the tax code favoring employer-based health insurance. But let’s not bring the “too big to fail” model, which proved such a disaster for the financial industry, into our health care system, under the guise of the public option.


British toddler died of meningitis after five doctors failed to spot symptoms

A toddler who died of meningitis after five doctors failed to spot he was suffering from the disease was "completely failed by the medical profession", his family said.

An inquest heard 21-month-old Oliver Martin was rushed to hospital by his mother, a district nurse, when he fell seriously ill at home. He was displaying several of the major symptoms of meningitis, including a rash that disappeared when pressed, high temperature, pale complexion and lethargy. But the hearing was told the illness was "at the back of the mind" of the first doctor to examine Oliver who thought he was suffering from chicken pox.

He was subsequently seen by a further four other doctors - but was not given antibiotics until eight and a half hours after his arrival at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. By then it was too late, and Oliver, of Welford, Northants, died of meningococcal septicaemia, a type of blood poisoning caused by the same bacteria as meningitis, a short time later.

Oliver's mother, Louise Martin, 27, was too upset to attend the inquest at Leicester Town Hall. But speaking afterwards, his aunt, Susan Wilson, who sat through the evidence, said: "He was failed from the moment we walked through the door. "His treatment was disgusting. The medical profession let him down. I'm very, very angry. "The Government tells us through their leaflets to trust our instincts and not take any chances, to get children to hospital and get antibiotics. "And Oliver did - but eight-and-a-half hours later, and by then it was too late.

"If his mum had kept him at home and given him a dose of Nurofen, which is basically what the hospital did, she would be on a child neglect and manslaughter charge now. "But what have the Leicester Royal Infirmary got? Nothing. We've not even had an apology. "If this inquest prevents this happening again, then it will have been worthwhile."

Leicester City Coroner Catherine Mason, who recorded a narrative verdict, criticised "poor" communication between staff at the hospital which meant vital information about Oliver's condition and symptoms was not passed on when his case was handed over. She added: "Had earlier treatment been given Oliver may still have died, but on the balance of probabilities his chances of survival would have been better."

The inquest heard Oliver was taken to the hospital by his mother at around 10am on May 13 last year, and first seen by Accident and Emergency doctor Kalmjit Kaur. She noted a number of possible diagnoses, including meningitis, but suspected it was more likely he was suffering from chicken pox. Crucially, she chose not to administer antibiotics - and instead decided Oliver's condition should simply be monitored.

He was later moved to the children's ward, where concerned nurses tried to get the duty paediatric registrar, Dr Manjith Narayanan, to re-examine him. But he failed to do so for over an hour because he had been told at the start of his evening shift that Oliver's condition was "not serious". He said: "If I had been given all of the information I would've come out of the hand-over, gone to see him straight away and given him antibiotics." Doctors eventually suspected meningococcal septicaemia and ordered a course of the anti-viral drugs at 6.30pm. But Oliver died at around 10pm.

Kevin Harris, the acting medical director at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said: "We accept the coroner's verdict following the inquest into Oliver Martin's death. "We would like to express our sincere condolences to his family for the upset and distress caused. "If Oliver's family have any questions following the verdict we would welcome the opportunity to discuss these with them." [In other words: So sad, too bad]


Australia: Widow sues government over faulty ambulance equipment -- equipment KNOWN to be faulty

A woman is suing the Queensland government for $1.62 million over claims faulty ambulance equipment contributed to her husband's death. In a statement of claim filed this week in the Brisbane Supreme Court registry, Carmal Corsie and her three children allege the government was negligent in failing to ensure crucial equipment was working properly when an ambulance came to collect Iain Corsie on March 23, 2007.

According to the claim, the ambulance was called to the family's Mitchelton home after Mr Corsie, 38, suffered pains in his chest and arm. Mrs Corsie claims ambulance officers checked his condition and determined he was having a heart attack. They used a Heartstart 4000 monitor/defibrillator to conduct an ECG before he was allowed to walk to the ambulance.

Court documents claim the defibrillator malfunctioned while en route to the hospital, and that the paramedics elected to divert to the ambulance station to find a replacement piece of equipment. Shortly afterwards Mr Corsie lost consciousness and died.

The Corsie family claims it later learned the defibrillator had malfunctioned in late February and then failed to pass an equipment check the day before Mr Corsie's death. Court documents allege the machine was not serviced or taken out of use.

The family is suing the government for $1.62 million, claiming it was negligent in failing to ensure proper, working equipment was available to treat Mr Corsie. They also allege the ambulance took an unacceptable 19 minutes to arrive at their address after being called, and then should have travelled directly to hospital instead of making a detour to the station. "If the defendant had not been negligent, the deceased would not have died," the claim states.


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