No big surprise, Rick Santorum’s stance on Health care with a profit motive is a bit off base, in my opinion.
Believe me folks I am no socialist/communist etc…I believe in free enterprise. However, the health care system (I am not a proponent of Obamacare either! Quite the opposite) as we know it today is broken and we must look at all potential components of this disaster.
In my opinion, the take over of our health care system by Wall Street is a huge factor is why it isn’t working. You can call that profit driven…in my opinion profits are not the culprit, AVARICE IS!
Wall Street doesn’t care about the citizens, only profits. Capitalism with Compassion is a good thing in this case folks…to drive our health care system based solely on the ability to make a ton of dough seems wrong to me as it reflects on who can get health care and the quality of same.
Change is required, period.
Santorum defends drug companies in health care speech
CNN’s Adam Aigner-Treworgy
Woodland Park, Colorado (CNN) – In what his campaign billed as a “major speech on health care,” Rick Santorum found himself Wednesday defending a profit-driven health care system to a woman who said her son requires expensive medication to stay alive.
The former Pennsylvania senator also detailed the deficiencies he sees in his rivals’ health insurance records.
Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
One of the feistiest exchanges came in response to a young child’s question on the cost of medical care in America. Urged on by his mother, a boy asked what Santorum would do to lower medical costs, but before he could finish his question, the candidate said such things should be left up to the market.
“We can make medicine cheaper by using markets,” Santorum said. “That’s how you make medicine cheaper is that you have free people going out there and competing against each other and competition drives up quality and drives down costs.”
As Santorum was outlining his small-government, free-market approach to rising health care costs, another woman chimed in that she can no longer afford medication she desperately needs because the cost has become so exorbitant.
“The only reason new drugs are developed is because Americans actually do pay for the cost of that research,” Santorum said. “And so when you say oh, I’ll go and get my drugs in Canada, that’s great. Go get your drugs in Canada and if everybody did that, you’d have no new drugs. You have that drug and maybe you’re alive today because people have a profit motive to make that drug.”
Using a somewhat confusing metaphor, Santorum tried to explain the need for a profit motive by comparing health care consumption to technology consumption.
“People have no problem going out and buying an iPad for $900,” he said. “But paying $900 for a drug, they have a problem with it. It keeps you alive. Why? Because you have been conditioned to thinking that health care is something that you should get and not have to pay for. Drug companies, health care companies need to have a profit motive, because if they don’t, then how are we going to regulate costs? We are gonna ration care.”
The mother of the original questioner tried once more to plead her case, explaining that she’s paid $1.3 million a year to keep her son alive, and while she’s willing to go bankrupt for her child, it pains her to see his friends die in the hospital because their parents cannot afford the treatment.
Finding himself in the unenviable position of defending oft-derided drug companies, Santorum stuck to his guns.
“He’s alive today because drug companies thought that they would make money in providing that care and if the drug company didn’t think they could make any money by providing that care, I hate to put it in these terms, but that drug wouldn’t be here,” he said, adding that he sympathized with the mother, “we either believe in markets or we don’t.”
Asked by a reporter after the event about what alternatives people in such tough circumstances have, Santorum suggested that charity was a better option than government intervention.
“Even in the tough cases, even at the ones that pull at your heart strings, we’ve got to believe in people and markets and churches and families and charity instead of government, and that’s what I believe” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, while highlighting the similarities between the health care plan Mitt Romney passed in Massachusetts and the controversial plan passed by President Obama, Santorum came out against the widely-popular provision that requires insurance companies to offer plans regardless of preexisting conditions.
“I have family members who have preexisting conditions, and I’m not for preexisting condition clauses,” Santorum said.
To justify his position, he described a hypothetical situation wherein healthy Massachusetts residents opt not to buy insurance, instead paying a fine. Then when they get sick, they purchase insurance, immediately dropping it again once they get better.
“What happens to the cost of health insurance,” Santorum asked the crowd, many of whom answered that costs would rise. “There’s a reason for preexisting conditions clauses. You want people to get insurance, and if they don’t, then they shouldn’t be free riding on everybody else. That’s exactly what’s going to happen with Obamacare.”
Santorum said this similarity between “Obamacare” and “Romneycare” would mean that “Barack Obama, in a debate or in this election, is going to destroy Mitt Romney on the issue of health care.” Both plans are wrong, he argued, because both represent top-down management of an issue that should be left up to families.
I don’t have insurance and haven’t had for many years now and thank God I haven’t really required any for my kids or wife or myself. We try to live a healthier lifestyle from that promoted on TV…junk food, visual garbage and mindless chatter. Organic food, herbal supplements and exercise is a common theme around here.
I don’t deny that there are others that have had the misfortune of falling ill and requiring intensive western medical treatments and they are probably financially ruined, even with insurance. This is just one of the reasons we have to see a rational change in the system, our minds and hearts.
Unfortunately, this vote is largely symbolic of the division in the country…Health Care Reform, a.k.a. Obamacare is set to go down in a house vote but will unlikely survive the Senate nor a Presidential veto…
Too bad in my eyes. As a small business owner I am not welcoming this ‘sick care’ bill. I would rather have gym memberships for each employee and offer them healthy products from EnerHealth Botanicals.
House set for health care repeal vote
By the CNN Wire Staff
Washington (CNN) — The House of Representatives is set to vote on a repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul this week, fulfilling a campaign promise of congressional Republicans and setting up a clash with the White House and Senate Democrats.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has scheduled a floor debate on the measure for Tuesday and a vote on Wednesday. The new GOP majority, in keeping with its “repeal and replace” mantra, will instruct various House committees to craft alternatives to the law.
“Repealing the job crushing health care law is critical to boosting small business job creation and growing the economy,” Boehner wrote online Monday.
The health care repeal vote had initially been scheduled for last week, but GOP leaders postponed it after the January 8 shootings in Arizona that killed six people and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona.
The measure is expected to pass the Republican-led House, but is believed to have little chance of clearing the Democratic-controlled Senate or surviving a certain presidential veto.
Republicans have acknowledged the virtual impossibility of an outright repeal, and have indicated there will likely be attempts to defund portions of the measure or eliminate specific provisions in the months ahead.
A couple of key Democrats said Sunday they were prepared to cooperate in the elimination of certain measures considered excessively burdensome to businesses. Leading members of both parties have expressed concern over a rule, scheduled to take effect in 2012, requiring businesses to issue 1099 tax forms to any individual or corporation from which they purchase over $600 in goods or services in a year.
“A lot of our small businesses came to me (after the health care overhaul passed) and said there’s a lot of paperwork I now have to fill out,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, noted Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We can change that. That’s something we can absolutely agree on.”
Promises of a more civil discourse in the wake of the shootings may cause some representatives to tone down their rhetoric over what continues to be a sharply polarizing and emotional issue. Boehner himself appears to have backed away from past assertions that Obama’s overhaul is a job “killing” piece of legislation.
“I think that violent discourse in political life — right, left or center — is wrong and should be rejected,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We, as elected officials, have an obligation to try and tone that down.”
On “Face the Nation,” Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said, “I think that we Republicans, and I think Democrats alike, will realize that if we tone down the rhetoric sometimes our debate is more effective from our own side. It’s better to have a more civil tone and a civil debate. And I think it behooves all of us to do so.”
The health care debate during the last Congress was marked by months of acrimonious partisan exchanges, including a series of angry town hall meetings held by congressional Democrats during the summer of 2009. A number of threats were reported and congressional district offices were vandalized at the time.
Republicans continue to insist that the health care overhaul — Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment — will hamper economic growth while doing little to control skyrocketing medical costs. Democrats have noted, among other things, the increased number of Americans covered by the law. They’ve also seized on a recent analysis from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office noting that a repeal of the overhaul would add $230 billion to the federal debt by 2021.
Democrats argue the analysis undermines Republicans’ emphasis on fiscal responsibility.
GOP leaders, in turn, insist the analysis was based on unrealistic economic and fiscal assumptions originally provided by Democrats.
Nonetheless, Republicans have exempted a repeal of the health care law from new rules prohibiting legislation from adding to the federal debt.
Let’s hope the Senate suddenly gets a severe case of wanting to do what the people desire!
The embedded video here is an excellent discussion of many things and concentrates a lot of time on GMO seeds and Monsanto and how this is tantamount to ‘crack’ for other countries, creating debt and reliance on Monsanto forever for their food. Max terms it another form of fiat currency.
Please listen to this Max Keiser interview and expand your horizons!
I totally agree on many points Max makes here. I am also thumbs up on his Wikileaks views. We have to support this effort to make government more transparent, something which is absolutely lacking at this point…from the FED to Congress to the DOD.
House plans a test vote to repeal Obamacare and not a minute too soon in my opinion. I am totally against forcing anyone to purchase health care insurance. In fact, I am not too fond of the ‘insurance’ industry as a whole, but that is beside the point.
These jokers in Congress need to pay attention to the rights of the People and not big money interests. This was nothing more than a huge windfall for the health insurers, HMOs etc. It just required the transfer of wealth from the People to insurers.
I am personally concerned about the entire medical/caregiving industry and the philosophy it has adopted over the decades. I believe that the time has come for a complete reevaluation of this system from Big Pharma to Medical inc…I am also a realist and don’t think this will ever happen…not under current circumstances.
House takes first step toward health care repeal
WASHINGTON – Confronting President Barack Obama, the new Republican-led House took a first step Friday toward a symbolic vote to repeal his landmark health care overhaul law, which would provide coverage to more than 30 million now uninsured.
The 236-181 largely party-line vote set the stage for what is likely to amount to no more than a political message, since Democrats who still run the Senate have promised to block efforts to scrap the law and Obama has veto power..
The House action set the rules for a debate next week that will culminate in a simple up-or-down vote on repeal, scheduled for Wednesday. The House will also instruct several committees to come up with more modest replacement health care legislation, a process that could take months even if successful.
Obama made history last year when Congress finally passed the law after months of contentious debate, closing in on a goal of coverage for all that Democrats had pursued for generations. Republicans say they changed history by taking back the House in the midterm elections, partly on the strength of their pledge to tea partiers and other conservative backers to undo the divisive law, whose complexities, costs and consequences remain largely unknown.
“Today we are taking the first step in fulfilling a key promise to the American people,” said Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., who led the GOP side in the debate. “We are setting in motion a process to repeal President Obama’s job-killing health care bill and replace it with real solutions.”
During last year’s election campaign, many Democrats kept silent about the health care law. On the House floor, they mounted a full-throated defense, accusing Republicans of trying to take away benefits that many people are already receiving, from lower prescription costs for Medicare recipients to extended coverage for young adults on their parents’ plan and newly available insurance for people with serious medical problems.
“Repeal this bill, and you’re going to find more Americans dying,” said Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif.
Polls show the public remains divided over the underlying law as well as the question of whether it should be repealed, scaled back or added to.
Senate Democrats say what the House does matters little, since they will derail any repeal legislation when it reaches the other side of the Capitol.
That leaves House Republicans with few clear options. They could try to deny the administration money to carry out the law, but that may not work either. Major elements, such as tax credits to help make health insurance more affordable, were written as entitlements, meaning that they will be automatically funded. And if a drive to deny funding threatens to shut down the government, it could backfire politically.
Leading proponents of repeal acknowledge it may take the election of a Republican president to accomplish the goal. That means both parties will likely take the major issues in the health care debate to the voters in 2012, when Obama is expected to run for a second term and the House and Senate will again be up for grabs.
The drive to repeal has opened Republicans up to charges that they would increase the federal deficit. The Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan budget referee, says the legislation would increase deficits by $230 billion from 2012 to 2021. That’s because spending cuts and new taxes more than offset the cost of expanding coverage.
Republicans counter that even if that’s technically true, it would save money in the long run to repeal a big new program before it gets off the ground.
The law would provide coverage to more than 30 million now uninsured, expanding Medicaid to pick up more low-income Americans and offering tax credits to help the middle class buy coverage. Most Americans would be required to carry health insurance, either through an employer, a government program or by purchasing their own policy. A legal challenge to that mandate is expected to go all the way to the Supreme Court.
Voting with the Republicans were four Democrats who had opposed the law last year — Reps. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell of North Carolina, and Mike Ross of Arkansas.
Let’s hope this movement gets some momentum and doesn’t remain just a grandstanding effort by the opposition to this bill.
The most visited and trusted medical site on the web is busted again! For those not in the know this site is a sham and not to be trusted. Their funding sources and ‘partners’ look like the who’s who of the criminal cabal that is trying to keep you sick and apathetic to the problems and solutions that this country has before it now.
If you want to be permanently connected to an IV that leads back to Big Pharma and the Government…by all means stay tuned into WebMD.com!!! Take a look at the excerpt below.
If You Weren’t Depressed Before, WebMD’s Test Guarantees You Will Be
Chances are you’ve seen WebMD’s ad on TV recommending you take their free online depression screening test.
But did you know the test was rigged so that no matter how you responded, the answer was always the same: You may be at risk for major depression, and it would probably do you well to discuss it with your doctor…
As it turns out, the test is sponsored by drug giant Eli Lilly, the maker of Cymbalta, and apparently there’s no room for mentally healthy individuals in this scheme.
This is a sad commentary on the current disease paradigm we live in…
Although the test states that it’s sponsored by Eli Lilly, how many people would automatically assume that this publicized test, offered on one of the most visited health sites on the web, would give them an entirely false result, perhaps designed to push even the most well-balanced individual into considering taking an antidepressant?
I’m willing to bet quite a few people have taken WebMD’s test, and based on the result started thinking that perhaps they’re a candidate for a ‘happy pill’ after all…
Senator Charles Grassley believed this was a very real possibility, and demanded the link between WebMD and Eli Lilly be investigated. As a result, minor changes to the test were implemented. However, the WebMD depression screening test still offers NO objective information whatsoever. Writing for BNET, Jim Edwards posted the following update:
“WebMD has changed its Eli Lilly-sponsored depression test so that not every answer results in a diagnosis of potential major depression. BNET noted on Feb. 22 that if you checked the “no” box to all 10 symptoms in the online quiz, the results page said, “You may be at risk for major depression,” and urged users to call a doctor “right away” if they were feeling suicidal.
Now, the result for someone indicating no symptoms of depression says:
You replied that you are feeling four or fewer of the common symptoms of depression. In general, people experiencing depression have five or more common symptoms of the condition. But every individual is unique. If you are concerned about depression, talk with your doctor.
While “lower risk” is certainly an improvement for someone indicating no symptoms of depression, WebMD is still gilding the Lilly.”
I agree. This “screening” test is just a cleverly disguised form of direct-to-consumer marketing.
Selling, or Selling Out?
Sure, WebMD needs to make money just like any other major web site, including mine. They don’t sell products, so therefore they rely on advertising.
In reality WebMD is a marvelous example of the brilliant marketing the drug companies are doing. They seek to provide you with the illusion of an independent objective third party that just so happens to confirm their solution is the best choice for your health issues.
But when you draw back the curtains you will find it is the drug companies themselves that are crafting the message and not an independent entity.
They invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year on WebMD alone, in my opinion to distort reality so they can convince you that it’s perfectly rational to choose their expensive and, in my opinion, sometimes toxic solutions for your health care challenges.
I’ve chosen the opposite path – selling a limited number of well-researched and independently tested products that I personally believe in, in order to remain independent and unbiased; free from the spoken or unspoken demands of advertisers.
However, WebMD does not appear to be particularly objective in the types of advertisers they allow on their site. Prescription drugs for every imaginable problem are listed on virtually every page. Along with plenty of processed foods and snacks.
The revenue generated from this advertising is considerable.
According to a recent WebMD press release, the revenue from advertising and sponsorship for the months of July through September, 2010, topped $113 million, up from $89 million for the same quarter last year.
Beware of Subliminal Sales Tactics!
OpEdNews.com also points out the site’s habit of offering unmarked product placement to various pharmaceutical companies, which is an insidious, sneaky, subliminal sales tactic:
“Lilly is not the only pharma company receiving unmarked product placement on WebMD,” Martha Rosenberg writes for OpEdNews.
“Last summer, a video featured a woman patient confessing she was fearful of life while a voice-over said she needed treatment for “general anxiety disorder” and the camera showed bottles of Forest Pharmaceuticals’ antidepressant Lexapro moving down the manufacturer’s assembly line.
Get it? No disclaimer on the video or “sponsored content” appeared.
Another unsponsored WebMD video last summer urged people on antidepressants to remain on their therapy “despite side effects” and a third suggested women concerned about cancer, heart attack and stroke risks of postmenopausal hormone therapy should continue their treatment at lowered doses. ‘Hang in there, valued customers’…”
The Subsidiaries of WebMD
Furthermore, their partnerships and subsidiaries suggest that WebMD is anything but an independent consumer website offering accurate and independent health advice. (WebMD owns four of the top ten most visited health sites on the web, further extending Big Pharma’s influence.)
The WebMD Health empire includes the following subsidiaries:
* eMedicine / eMedicine Health
According to Rosenberg, drug giant Eli Lilly was actually one of WebMD’s original partners and investors, along with:
* Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (including his Fox TV networks)
* Silicon Graphics
* Netscape founder Jim Clark
* Eli Lilly
* EDS (computer services company founded by H. Ross Perot)
Just how independent and objective can you be in your health recommendations when one of your investors is a major drug company?
WebMD and most, if not all, of its subsidiaries claim to be “independent.” For example, drugs.com has the following statement at the bottom of every web page:
“Drugs.com provides free, accurate and independent advice on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines & natural products.”
And yet drugs.com is owned by WebMD, which has close ties to Big Pharma, and recommends drugs for their advertisers and pharmaceutical partners…
WebMD is Partnered with the US FDA – What Does that Mean for Impartial Health Advice?
Even more interesting: The first-ever partnership between the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a private company is with, you guessed it, WebMD!
The two partnered up two years ago.
Well, according to WebMD’s own announcement:
“The partnership will enhance the FDA’s ability to get crucial information to the American public, FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, MD, said in a news conference.
… “WebMD has been a leader with regard to innovation in the use of the web as a form of communication and service to the public,” von Eschenbach said.
“What we will do by virtue of this partnership … is to really be able to present online … content material we at FDA feel is extremely important for consumers to be aware of as they are making critically important decisions for themselves and for their families about their health and the products that they use to ensure their health.”
This completes the circle of full-on conflicts of interest.
Never-mind the fact that there might be any number of inexpensive, safe alternatives out there for each and every ailment WebMD presents, what you will learn is what the FDA has approved for your condition. And by default, you will be kept in the dark about the strategies that can make a real and lasting difference, courtesy of WebMD’s financial ties to the drug- and processed food industries.
WebMD and its subsidiary sites are disguised as “independent consumer sites,” when in truth they’re paid by the pharmaceutical industry and exclusively and uniquely partnered with the FDA.
These sites contain mainly Big Pharma and advertising, they recommend specific drugs created by their advertisers, and offer questionnaires and medical screening tests created by pharmaceutical companies to create a false “need” for those drugs…
How can this type of government/big industry conflict of interest lead to “independent and objective” reporting and advice?
And how can this create fair competition?
Personally, I think it’s a pretty deceitful practice to snooker consumers into taking expensive pharmaceutical drugs for every possible ailment!
According to Boston.com:
“A WebMD spokeswoman… [said] the company believes “our internal process ensures our editorial independence in our programs.”
Sure. That process worked so well when devising that depression screening test, which was apparently so good they also spent big money to promote it on TV…
Good for Eli Lilly and their antidepressant Cymbalta, that is. Not for you, the health-conscious consumer. All you got was a sly marketing shtick for the time you invested in answering those questions.
However, that spokeswoman’s statement brings up yet another point to remember when you’re browsing through the content on WebMD, and that is paying close attention to WHO authored the message.
Financial Backers Include Not Just Drug Companies, but Processed Food Industry Too
In various areas you’ll find a small link that says: “From our sponsor.” If you click on that link, it will tell you that:
“Content under this heading is from or created on behalf of the named sponsor. This content is not subject to the WebMD Editorial Policy and is not reviewed by the WebMD Editorial department for accuracy, objectivity or balance.”
The heading I’m looking at right now, at the time of this writing, is for “snacking smarter without the guilt.” So… whatever the sponsor wants to say about “healthful snacking,” that’s the message you’ll get. Obviously.
In this particular case, the sponsor wants you to know that baked potato chips are indeed healthier for you than regular potato chips. Isn’t that great news!
The sponsor of this message is General Mills’ Fiber One cereal – a breakfast cereal that, aside from being loaded with grain carbohydrates, also contains added sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar, AND sucralose.
Folks, in my opinion, this is about the worst breakfast you could possibly eat, unless you’re hell-bent on developing diabetes. And don’t get me started on the potato chips…
Again, WebMD is the second most visited health site on the web and if you add in all their other sites, collectively they are easily number one in the world. They attract tens of millions of readers every day looking for accurate and dependable health advice, but what advice can be trusted?
More Conflict of Interest: Medscape’s Continuing Medical Education Courses
But the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t just target you, they also target your doctor.
Medscape, which is one of WebMD’s subsidiaries, administers highly lucrative continuing medical education courses (CME’s), which doctors must complete to retain their state licenses. And these courses are, of course, ALSO sponsored by drug companies.
Medical students may have attempted to quench Big Pharma’s influence over their medical education, but pharmaceutical companies could easily be considered the number one educators of doctors, in and out of school. Their influence is so significant, broad in scope, persistent, and oftentimes ‘hidden’ from clear view that many physicians don’t even realize where the information is coming from.
And even when they do realize the source, they still oftentimes believe they’re getting accurate and truthful information.
The WebMD matrix is a maddening, vicious circle of conflicts of interest that creates all manner of deceit and deception. But these shenanigans are still easy to identify and avoid.
Just Follow the Money.
It is an easy trap to fall in. Over 50 years ago JI Rodale founded Prevention Magazine and it was one of the top ten most read magazines in the country. Rodale was a leader in promoting natural medicine, a true pioneer and defender of health truth.
Unfortunately he made the typical mistake of leaving the business to his children. I learned from someone who was their health editor at one time, that his children actually shifted the ads from natural medicine to drugs and processed foods because they could earn substantially more profit.
Had JI Rodale left his business to a foundation, natural medicine would be much further ahead today. Instead Prevention Magazine is now just another mouthpiece for the drug and food industry and virtually everyone who understands natural medicine ignores it.
Similarly, with WebMD in my opinion, if you follow the money behind much of its advice (and definitely all of its subliminal marketing messages), it leads right back to the coffers of the processed food industry and the pharmaceutical cartel, which also, incidentally, pays WebMD’s government partner, the FDA, to hurry up and approve their poorly tested drugs – so they can advertise them on WebMD, and so on and so forth.
I’m sure by now you can follow the dots and can draw your own circular maps with arrows marking the many conflicts of interest that exist between this unholy alliance of so-called independent health advisors, pharmaceutical companies, processed food companies, and the regulatory agency, the FDA.
Remember, You Can Take Control of Your Health
Folks, it’s time take control of your health, and that includes being able to discern real health advice from shadow marketing machines and propaganda that serves no one but the very industries responsible for much of the ill health in the first place.
For my money I would rather listen to Darren on the radio and read his blogs everyday on www.enerhealthbotanicals.com
In the first decision by a U.S. District Court Judge, OBAMACARE suffers it’s first set back. I am pretty sure they saw the writing on the wall here and all of these cases will consolidate and end up in the Supreme Court…where I don’t expect to see anything really amazing happening.
So for now, a victory and we watch and wait!
Virginia judge rules health care mandate unconstitutional
By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer
CNN) — A Virginia federal judge on Monday found a key part of President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care reform law unconstitutional, setting the stage for a protracted legal struggle likely to wind up in the Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson struck down the “individual mandate” requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014. The Justice Department is expected to challenge the judge’s findings in a federal appeals court.
Hudson’s opinion contradicts other court rulings finding the mandate constitutionally permissible.
“An individual’s personal decision to purchase — or decline purchase — (of) health insurance from a private provider is beyond the historical reach of the U.S. Constitution,” Hudson wrote. “No specifically constitutional authority exists to mandate the purchase of health insurance.”
“Despite the laudable intentions of Congress in enacting a comprehensive and transformative health care regime, the legislative process must still operate within constitutional bounds,” Hudson added. “Salutatory goals and creative drafting have never been sufficient to offset an absence of enumerated powers.”
A federal judge in Virginia ruled in favor of the administration earlier this month over the purchase requirement issue, mirroring conclusions reached by a judge in Michigan back in October.
Virginia officials had argued that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause does not give the government the authority to force Americans to purchase a commercial product — like health insurance — that they may not want or need. They equated such a requirement to a burdensome regulation of “inactivity.”
Virginia is one of the few states in the country with a specific law saying residents cannot be forced to buy insurance.
“I am gratified we prevailed,” said Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a conservative Republican elected in 2009. “This won’t be the final round, as this will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court, but today is a critical milestone in the protection of the Constitution.”
Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, urged Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to request an expedited appeal to the Supreme Court.
“Ultimately, we must ensure that no American will be forced by the federal government to purchase health insurance they may not need, want, or be able to afford,” Cantor said. “In this challenging environment, we must not burden our states, employers, and families with the costs and uncertainty created by this unconstitutional law, and we must take all steps to resolve this issue immediately.”
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters the decision by Hudson — a 2002 George W. Bush appointee — was not “a surprise to anybody.”
What judge’s health care ruling means
“We disagree with the ruling,” he said. Among other things, the provisions requiring everyone to buy insurance allow the government to “finally address the lingering discrimination” against individuals with pre-existing conditions, he said.
“When all the legal wrangling is said and done … this is something that will be upheld,” he predicted. “I think we have a good argument. I think the merits of the case are strong.”
A Justice Department spokeswoman also expressed confidence the administration will eventually win the legal fight.
“We are disappointed in today’s ruling but continue to believe — as other federal courts in Virginia and Michigan have found — that (the law) is constitutional,” Tracy Schmaler said. “There is clear and well-established legal precedent that Congress acted within its constitutional authority in passing this law and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail.”
Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March, after promoting Democratic-led health reform efforts for months after taking office. The law is widely considered to be the signature legislative accomplishment of the president’s first two years in office.
Among other things, the measure was designed to help millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans receive adequate and affordable health care through a series of government-imposed mandates and subsidies. The federal government stated in court briefs that last year, 45 million Americans were without health insurance, roughly 15 percent of the country’s population.
Critics have equated the measure to socialized medicine, fearing that a bloated government bureaucracy will result in higher taxes and diminished health care services. About two dozen challenges have been filed in federal courts nationwide.
On November 8, the Supreme Court rejected the first constitutional challenge to the health care reform effort, resisting a California conservative group’s appeal. The justices refused to get involved at a relatively early stage of the legal process.
The high court rarely accepts cases before they have been thoroughly reviewed by lower courts.
Legal experts say they expect several of the larger issues in the health care debate to ultimately end up before the Supreme Court. A review from the high court may not happen, however, for at least a year or two.
The highest-profile lawsuit may come from Florida. State officials there have objected not only to the individual coverage mandate but also to a requirement forcing states to expand Medicaid. Florida’s litigation is supported by 19 other states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North and South Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington.
Health care reform, a top Democratic priority since the Truman administration, passed the current Congress in a series of virtual party-line votes. Opponents derisively labeled the measure “Obamacare.” Republican leaders, who captured the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, have vowed to overturn or severely trim the law.
“While this court’s decision may set the initial judicial course of this case, it will certainly not be the final word,” the 63-year-old Hudson wrote in October.
The case decided Monday is Virginia v. Sebelius (3:10-cv-00188).
I am hopeful, in the far reaches of my mind, that we will win all the cases and this bad piece of legislation will be thrown out.
I can only hope that all of us Americans are wising up now. The recent numbers out showing that 46% of us think the new health care plan was a very bad idea and 48% saying that they prefer to vote for anyone with less than 10 years experience in congress is huge, at least in my opinion.
Hopefully the rash of political ads, ad nauseum, will have the undesired effect of wising up all the people to realize that there really isn’t a lick of difference between the candidates…they are all liars and deserve nothing more that the exit sign. I would really rather vote for Mickey Mouse than any of the candidates that are airing ads!
Makes one sick to hear all this garbage, which is why i hit the mute button as fast as i can during the weather!
Two Numbers Behind Voters’ Sour Mood
Understanding this year’s big midterm election isn’t so hard after all.Two numbers from a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll—46 and 48—tell you all you need to know.
The first is the percentage of voters who think the health-care overhaul was a bad idea, which shows how that legislative achievement has never become the asset Democrats hoped. Instead, for some Democrats at least, the milestone has become more of a millstone.
The second number is the percentage of voters who say they would rather elect a congressional candidate with no experience whatsoever than one with 10 years of experience. That sentiment illustrates the rise of the tea-party movement and the general mood of insurrection that marks this year’s campaign.
In their own ways, those two numbers confound both conventional wisdom and what history would lead us to believe. They show why this has become such an unusual year, and underscore that America is in a phase of broad political volatility.
The health-care number has to be particularly perplexing for Democrats, for it illustrates how the issue in which they invested so much capital has played more neatly into the narrative Republicans have built for this year’s campaign than the one Democrats have constructed.
The Democratic narrative holds that the party has finally started to tackle the deep, structural economic problems that Republicans long ignored and that led to the economic catastrophe that hit in 2008.
The Republican narrative holds that the Democrats have led the country on a big-government, big-spending binge that imperils its future.
Democrats knew when the health bill passed, of course, that Republicans would try to write it into their narrative, but they also calculated that the passage of the bill after nearly a year of relentless political pounding from opponents would represent its low point in public acceptance. Once the effects of the scare tactics wore off, and voters started to see the advantages the health overhaul brought them, the public embrace would be warmer.
Instead, the new Journal/NBC News poll suggests that virtually nothing has changed in public attitudes since the legislation passed. In March of this year, when President Barack Obama signed the bill into law, 48% said it was a bad idea. That number now is holding virtually constant at 46%. The share of voters who think it is a good idea stood at 36% in March, and remains at precisely 36% today.
Moreover, those who don’t like the health bill feel more passionately about their opposition than its fans feel about their support. Some 41% say they feel “strongly” that the health overhaul is a bad idea, while just 25% feel strongly that it is a good idea.
Even more important in understanding the dynamics of 2010 is the broader backdrop. That broader dynamic became clear when voters were asked in the poll how they would vote if their choice for electing a member of Congress came down to a candidate who had served 10 years in Congress or one who was running for political office for the first time.
Given that choice, 48% said they’d vote for the political novice, while just 23% said they’d pick the candidate with experience.
That finding captures the throw-’em-out, break-some-crockery mood that produced the tea-party movement, which in turn has done much to define and animate the campaign. Indeed, a striking 68% of those who identify themselves as tea-party supporters said they’d back the political novice, while just 10% would pick the candidate with experience.
But the finding illustrates more than the genesis of the tea party. It shows just how much Americans’ political impulses have changed since the end of the Cold War. For decades, being the experienced candidate usually proved to be an asset in the end. The backdrop of a nuclear standoff with another superpower told voters the stakes were high and the world was complicated, and that they’d better not take chances with novices. Experience was something to tout.
This year, experience has become, for many candidates, something to apologize for. The irony for Democrats is that this attitude actually represents s continuation of the one that made President Obama possible in the first place. At the outset of the 2008 campaign, many wondered whether the country would elect a man just four years removed from the Illinois state senate to be president, but Mr. Obama’s outsider status—his ability to project an image of change—turned out to be an asset.
What benefited Democrats then benefits Republicans now. As Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who co-directs the Journal/NBC News poll, notes, it’s hard to think of a year in which there were more candidates from outside the mainstream. For some voters, that seems to be the point.
I am on the verge of writing in cartoon characters as my choice for all races this election. Probably means as much as a vote you have cast given the electronic voting machine frauds. Our government representatives are not elected they are anointed and appointed!
I am glad to see articles such as the one below. It is about time that politicians wake up and smell the consequences! Unfortunately, at least judging by the political ads, there appears to be a HUGE SHORTAGE of ‘qualified’ candidates. It appears that everyone with any moral fiber and intelligence has just lost hope or interest or both in getting the ship we call America righted again!
Dems find careers threatened by Obamacare votes
By: Michael Barone
Senior Political Analyst
October 15, 2010
Seven months ago Speaker Nancy Pelosi spent a busy week rounding up votes to pass the Senate version of the Democrats’ health care legislation.
It wasn’t easy. She had to get Democrats who had voted no in November to switch to yes in March. And she had to get Democrats who had refused to vote for the bill in November without an anti-abortion amendment to vote for a bill in March that lacked that language.
She took the unusual step of scheduling the roll call for Saturday — so members wouldn’t go back to their districts and be besieged by Obamacare opponents.
Those opponents, according to polls at that time, included most American voters. But Pelosi, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton predicted the bill would become more popular after it was passed (and, Pelosi said, after people had a chance to read it).
National polls indicate that hasn’t happened yet. But what about the districts of the House Democrats who cast the key votes that made Obamacare law? Those Democrats have an interest in persuading constituents of the law’s merits. So how are they doing?
In general, not very well.
Take Betsy Markey of Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, who in 2008 beat a Republican who seemed fixated on the same-sex marriage issue. Markey cast a late-in-the-roll-call no in November, then publicly switched to yes in the week before the March 21 roll call. She’s currently trailing Republican Cory Gardiner by an average of 44 to 39 percent in three polls. Her Web site links to a video she cut the week after the vote saying she had “the honor” to vote for the bill. But otherwise it seems to be silent on the issue.
Or consider John Boccieri of Ohio’s 16th District, who switched from no to yes in a TV press conference in which he said the bill would do great things for his constituents. Boccieri’s district was represented by Republicans for 58 years until he was elected in 2008.
It looks like it will be again next year. In three polls Republican Jim Renacci leads Boccieri by an average of 46 to 36 percent. Boccieri’s Web site links to a recent interview in which he defends Obamacare and challenges opponents to say which provisions they’d give up.
Then there is Suzanne Kosmas, a longtime real estate agent who beat a Republican with an ethics issue in 2008 for Florida’s 24th District seat. She announced her switch from no to yes late in the week before the roll call. She’s now running behind Republican Sandy Adams by an average of 47 to 40 percent in three recent polls.
To put these numbers in perspective, it’s highly unusual for an incumbent House member to trail a challenger in any poll or to run significantly below 50 percent. But these three Democrats are running 5 to 10 points behind Republican challengers and none tops 40 percent.
At least they’re running, which is more than can be said for Bart Stupak of Michigan’s 1st District, the chief sponsor of the anti-abortion amendment that he forced onto the House bill in November. Just hours before the March roll call he was persuaded that an executive order, which he was assured Obama would sign, would have the same effect.
Legal experts and strong abortion opponents disagreed. But Stupak cast a critical vote for the bill, as did five other Democrats widely referred to as “the Stupak five” who flanked him at his press conference. If these six votes had gone the other way, Obama would have been defeated.
Stupak promptly announced he was retiring after 18 years. Republican Dan Benishek is currently leading there by an average of 44 to 27 percent in five polls.
Two of the Stupak five, freshmen Steve Driehaus of Ohio 1 and Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania 3, are in dreadful shape. Driehaus trails by an average 51 to 41 percent in his Cincinnati area district; Dahlkemper trails by an average of 45 to 37 percent in her Erie area seat.
Another two are from West Virginia. Alan Mollohan, first elected in 1982, lost in the May primary; Nick Joe Rahall, first elected in 1976, won his primary and seems well ahead for November.
Doing best is Marcy Kaptur of Ohio 9, first elected in 1982. Her Republican opponent reportedly wears Nazi uniforms in World War II re-enactments.
But that’s an exception. The rule seems to be that casting a decisive vote for Obamacare tends to be a career-ender.
Michael Barone,The Examiner’s senior political analyst, can be contacted at email@example.com. His column appears Wednesday and Sunday, and his stories and blog posts appear on ExaminerPolitics.com.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Dems-find-careers-threatened-by-Obamacare-votes-1228371-105059824.html#ixzz12q4LtD13
We can only hope that we see better people come forward to lead in this time of crisis!
The mob is alive and well. Instead of ‘protecting’ you from unfortunate events they have increasingly turned to white collar crimes that generate much more money. Take health care fraud and the last savings and loan scandal for example where there are billions of dollars at stake and they take there 100 or 200 million dollar cut every year…or so it seems.
This article highlights some of the more salient points on health care fraud that is organized by the ‘mob’. There are other 100’s of millions that the system is defrauded out of organized by doctors, clinics and hospitals. Everyone has learned how to play the system.
To think that any ‘reform’ of this system, short of throwing it out and starting over, will save anyone any money is ludicrous. The bureaucracy will get bigger, costing us more, and the fraud will continue and perhaps get bigger as ‘new’ ‘reform’ opportunities present themselves!
Multimillion dollar health care fraud highlights sophistication of Armenian mobsterss
By Thomas Watkins (CP) – 2 days ago
GLENDALE, Calif. — Endeavour Diagnostics billed itself as a thriving medical laboratory that performed more than $1 million of work for Medicare patients .
When two FBI agents went to inspect it, they found an empty San Fernando Valley office with only a desk and a fax machine. There were no workers, no patients and no biological samples.
Behind the door of the facade were signs tying the operation to a sprawling network of phantom enterprises allegedly set up by Armenian mobsters to try to defraud Medicare of $163 million for services never provided. Medicare is the government-funded program that provides health care coverage to the elderly.
Dozens of arrests around the country Wednesday highlighted a criminal demographic rarely seen, but one that officials say is rooted in California and growing in reach and sophistication.
“They are victimizing our systems, they are victimizing business, they are victimizing private citizens,” said Glendale police Lt. Steve Davey, who heads up a task force tackling Eurasian crime. “Their ultimate goal is oligarchy — to see if they can infiltrate government.”
Few criminal groups can match the sophistication of Armenian scammers, who developed an uncanny savvy for probing weaknesses in government systems and were hailed as heroes when they exploited their Soviet republic homeland, authorities said. They have been known for devising complex white collar schemes such as credit card fraud, identity theft and mortgage fraud.
Indictments released Wednesday in Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere show how various cells, largely working on their own but often sharing techniques, set up fraudulent medical businesses using stolen physician identities.
After becoming licensed Medicare providers and submitting claims, the fake office billed the government, which would pay money to fraudulent bank accounts. Many claims were bogus but sometimes criminals would provide a small service then submit an inflated bill.
In Los Angeles, for example, they would provide a scooter worth about $1,000, but profit after billing Medicare for a top-end electric wheelchair worth six times as much, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Matt McLaughlin said.
The groups have been known to recruit people with a nominal sum to become a fake patient, then bill Medicare for services supposedly rendered.
“It’s great camouflage,” McLaughlin said. “We have to deconstruct each element to prove a fraud.”
Prosecutors also allege that conspirators paid corrupt doctors to carry out unnecessary testing on purported accident victims, then charged the government for the treatment.
In all, $163 million in fraudulent bills were submitted, with Medicare actually paying out $35 million, according to the documents.
The complex operation was allegedly overseen by Armen Kazarian, who melded into Glendale’s large Armenian population after arriving as an asylum seeker in 1996 and mostly stayed out of view of the police.
Kazarian, 46, who is in custody in Los Angeles, is known by the Soviet term “thief in law,” which is the rough equivalent of a “godfather.” Authorities say it is only the second time such a figure, known in Russian as a “vor v zakone,” has been arrested in the U.S.
Nearly half of Glendale’s 200,000 residents have an Armenian background. Following the 1915 massacre of Armenians in Turkey, a diaspora spread around the globe, with many arriving in Fresno and the East Coast.
Successive waves of immigrants followed major geopolitical upheavals, including the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, and a small Armenian community in Hollywood quickly expanded to Glendale and the surrounding areas.
In the mid-1980s, sons of Armenian immigrants from the Hollywood area banded together to form a gang called Armenian Power to protect themselves against Hispanic gangs. The community initially saw members as vigilante protectors but the group soon morphed into a street gang like any other, carrying out drive-by shootings and other crimes such as kidnappings, drug deals and burglaries, Glendale Officer Rafael Quintero said.
But most crime in the Armenian community is carried out quietly and centres on sophisticated identity theft schemes. Police started picking up on these activities at the end of the 1990s and Glendale’s task force was established in 2000, Davey said.
Several police agencies have task forces focused on Eurasian crime but Los Angeles police Lt. Stephen Margolis said this operation illustrates how the law enforcement community overall should pay closer attention.
“The sophistication and the pervasiveness of this type of criminal activity is years in the making,” Margolis said. “Hopefully this will serve as a wake up to the extent of the seriousness this problem presents at a national level.”
Zaven Kazazian, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Armenian-American Chamber of Commerce, said much of the crime in the community is carried out by people raised under communist rule in the former Soviet republic of Armenia, where exploiting a corrupt government was seen as fair game.
“It is a different cultural background,” Kazazian said. “Everybody was out for themselves.”
Kazazian stressed that only a handful of Armenians are engaged in criminal enterprises and cautioned against making generalizations.
“We are embarrassed by it and we do not have any affiliation with them. They do not represent the true Armenian people,” he said. “It’s like saying all Italians are part of the Mafia. That’s just stupid.”
Prosecutors say the crime ring was known as the Mirzoyan-Terdjanian Organization, named after its principal leaders Davit Mirzoyan, 34, of Glendale and Robert Terdjanian, 35, of Brooklyn.
Most of the 44 people charged are from the Los Angeles area and New York but arrests were also made in Georgia, New Mexico and Ohio.
The seven defendants named in the Los Angeles indictment have all pleaded not guilty. Defendants named in the New York portion of the case had either pleaded not guilty or were due to be arraigned Monday.
A call to Kazarian’s defence attorney, Vicken Hagopian, was not immediately returned Friday.
As the “thief-in-law” of the operation, Kazarian was touted by authorities as the big catch. But the role of such “vor v zakones” is more subtle than that of a Mafia boss, Lt. Davey said.
Armenian crime bosses typically are nominated by other criminals and their main task is to mediate disputes between groups.
Though they describe no actual violence, authorities allege Kazarian helped the Mirzoyan-Terdjanian Organization and would use threats to resolve disputes in the U.S., Armenia and other places.
Armenia has said it will co-operate with the U.S. in its investigation and Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan has said his nation was sorry.
Copyright © 2010 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.
The Canadian Press
Get ready for some really creative shenanigans with the new reform bill! Assuming that it goes into effect.
I believe that provisions of this law are clearly unconstitutional and that the judge in Florida is on the right track. Unfortunately the MN judge didn’t see it the same way. Of course, the FL suit and the MN suit were filed on different grounds.
If the strategy is to pick apart the bill in all the states, each state focusing on specific issues then this process will take a very long time. I am hoping that the issue is settled before this crazy bill goes into effect!
I would rather have no insurance than participate in what i feel is unconstitutional. Take to the extreme I would probably have to vacate the country though considering how that glorious work has been trashed over the past several decades.
Judge rejects motion to dismiss 20 states’ lawsuit against health care law
(CNN) — A federal judge in Florida on Thursday rejected a motion by the government to dismiss some counts of a multistate challenge to the sweeping health care reform signed into law by President Barack Obama earlier this year.
The ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson means the lawsuit filed by attorneys general from Florida and 19 other states can proceed on questions of whether the health care law is constitutional in requiring citizens to obtain health care coverage or face financial penalties, as well as forcing states to expand Medicaid.
Vinson threw out four other counts of the lawsuit.
“At this stage of the case, the plaintiffs have most definitely stated a plausible claim,” Vinson’s ruling said of the challenge to whether the health coverage mandate is constitutional.
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who filed the constitutional challenge, and officials from some of the other states that joined him applauded the judge’s decision.
“It is the first step to having the individual mandate declared unconstitutional and upholding state sovereignty in our federal system,” McCollum said in a statement.
The liberal Constitutional Accountability Center noted that Vinson dismissed four of the six counts in the lawsuit.
“We are happy that Judge Vinson narrowed this lawsuit today, but what he really should have done is dismiss it altogether,” CAC President Doug Kendall said in a statement.
Last week, a federal judge in Michigan ruled in a similar lawsuit that the controversial penalty provision is constitutional.
The issue, which is also before a Virginia court, challenges the authority of Congress under the Commerce Clause to require the purchase of health insurance.
Other states joining Florida in the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North and South Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington.
In the Michigan lawsuit, plaintiffs opposed to the Health Care Reform Act asked the court to declare the whole law — or at least the penalty provision of it — to be an unconstitutional tax.
Judge George Caram Steeh disagreed and rejected a motion for an injunction against the law, derisively labeled “Obamacare” by opponents.
“The decision whether to purchase insurance or to attempt to pay for health care out-of-pocket is plainly economic,” the ruling said. “These decisions viewed in the aggregate have clear and direct impacts on health care providers, taxpayers and the insured population who ultimately pay for the care provided to those who go without insurance.”
Legal experts say they expect the issues to ultimately end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Steeh was nominated for the federal bench by Democratic President Bill Clinton, while Vinson was nominated by Republican President Ronald Reagan.
I am prepared for a bit of civil disobedience here.