So you’re a senior citizen and the government says no health care for you, what do you do?
Our plan gives anyone 65 years or older a gun and 4 bullets. Your are allowed to shoot 2 senators and 2 representatives. Of Course, this means you will be sent to prison.
There you will get 3 meals a day, a roof over your head, and all the health care you need! New teeth, no problem. Need glasses, great. New hip, knees, kidney, lungs, heart? All covered.
And who will be paying for all of this? The same government that just told you that you are too old for health care. Plus, because you are a prisoner, you don’t have to pay any income taxes anymore.
By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer Sharon Theimer, Associated Press Writer – Wed Aug 19, 6:08 pm ET
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s push for a national health care overhaul is providing a financial windfall in the election offseason to Democratic consulting firms that are closely connected to the president and two top advisers.
Coalitions of interest groups running at least $24 million in pro-overhaul ads hired GMMB, which worked for Obama’s 2008 campaign and whose partners include a top Obama campaign strategist. They also hired AKPD Message and Media, which was founded by David Axelrod, a top adviser to Obama’s campaign and now to the White House. AKPD did work for Obama’s campaign, and Axelrod’s son Michael and Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe work there.
The firms were hired by Americans for Stable Quality Care and its predecessor, Healthy Economy Now. Each was formed by a coalition of interests with big stakes in health care policy, including the drug maker lobby PhRMA, the American Medical Association, the Service Employees International Union and Families USA, which calls itself “The Voice for Health Care Consumers.”
Their ads press for changes in health care policy. Healthy Economy Now made one of the same arguments that Obama does: that health care costs are delaying the country’s economic recovery and that changes are needed if the economy is to rebound.
There is no evidence that Axelrod directly profited from the group’s ads. Axelrod took steps to separate himself from AKPD when he joined Obama’s White House. AKPD owes him $2 million from his stock sale and will make preset payments over four years, starting with $350,000 on Dec. 31, according to Axelrod’s personal financial disclosure report.
A larger issue is a network of relationships and overlapping interests that resembles some seen in past administrations and could prove a problem as Obama tries to win the public over on health care and fulfill his promise to change the way Washington works, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a government watchdog group.
“Even if these are obvious bedfellows and kind of standard PR maneuvers, it still stands to undercut Obama’s credibility,” Krumholz said. “The potential takeaway from the public is ‘friends in cahoots to engineer a grass roots result.'”
White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said that Axelrod has had no communications with Healthy Economy Now or with Americans for Stable Quality Care, and his payments aren’t affected by the ad contracts. Axelrod’s son, a salaried AKPD employee, doesn’t work with either coalition “or stand to benefit from that work,” LaBolt said.
“David Axelrod has fully complied with the toughest-ever ethics rules for administration officials, including divesting from AKPD before the administration began,” LaBolt said.
Ken Johnson, a PhRMA senior vice president, said GMMB and AKPD were the only two firms working on the $24 million in ads. He declined to reveal how much each was paid beyond saying that each received a small percentage of the total. The coalition’s campaign team decided to hire the two firms, he said.
“In a perfect world, it’s a distraction we don’t need right now, but these are very gifted consultants who have done very good work,” Johnson said. “And it’s also important to remember that at the end of the day, the coalition partners determine the message.”
Healthy Economy Now spokesman Jeremy Van Ess said the two firms were hired because “they are the best at what they do. Period.” The coalition didn’t seek approval or direction on any of its activities from the White House, said Van Ess, a partner in a consulting firm that has worked on Democratic Senate election activities and a former speechwriter for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
AKPD and GMMB both proudly proclaim their connections to Obama on their Web sites.
AKPD has a full page on Axelrod that includes pictures of Obama. In one photo, Obama hugs Plouffe on election night.
“We are deeply honored to have been part of Barack Obama’s historic campaign to change America and the world,” GMMB says on its Web site. GMMB’s partners include Jim Margolis, a senior strategist for Obama’s presidential campaign.
Both GMMB and AKPD also have worked for Democrats this year. The Democratic National Committee paid AKPD at least $106,000 for polling, media production, communication consulting and travel costs from February through April. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee paid GMMB roughly $75,000 from February through June for ads. And GMMB took in at least $9,000 this year from Senate leader Reid’s political action committee for communications consulting.
The following was posted as a comment on a recent article in our local paper about Planned Parenthood now performing abortions:
Interesting how the same people who want to control what light bulbs you use, what kind of car you drive, what you do with land you own, how cool you keep your thermostat, where you drive your boat suddenly are so concerned about choice.
By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN
Published in the New York Post on July 23, 2009
President Obama’s rhetoric last night summoned the memory of “1984,” George Orwell’s novel of a nightmarish future — where the slogan of the rulers is “War is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength.”
The president assures us that he will cut health-care spending. . .by adding $1 trillion to health-care spending.
He says that “health-care decisions will not be made by government”. . .while he sets up a new Federal Health Board to tell doctors what treatments they can offer and to whom and under what circumstances.
Obama told the media, “I will free doctors to make good health-care decisions”. . .by telling the physicians what to do.
When the president says he guarantees the “same coverage” to people who like their current health-insurance policies, he means that their current HMOs, insurers and doctors will be the ones to implement the protocols and instructions the government hands down to them — not that we’ll have our current freedom of decision-making.
When he blandly assures us that we will “stop paying for things that don’t make us healthier,” he really means that his Federal Health Board will overrule your doctor and stop him from using his own best judgment in your treatment.
The president will “get the politics out of health care” by putting it under government control.
Obama says that he will not “add to the deficit” to fund health care. But the bill reported out by Rep. Charlie Rangel’s Ways and Means Committee leaves $550 billion unfunded.
The president says that he’ll identify savings that will reduce the need for more taxes — even though the Congressional Budget Office refuses to say that his “savings” will actually work and warns that the bill will really be added to the deficit.
He repeatedly tells us that he’ll cut health-care spending. What he means is that he will cut doctors’ incomes and will turn down patients — particularly the elderly — when they seek medical care that his bureaucrats disapprove of.
And he ignores that cutting incomes in the medical field will reduce the number of doctors and force further rationing of care.
The president opines that he will replace the most “expensive care” with the “best care” by empowering government officials who have never met you to substitute their judgment for that of your doctor, who has examined you thoroughly.
When Obama laments that “14,000 people lose their insurance every day,” he is referring to the job losses that his own failed efforts to end the recession have permitted.
He warns that health-care costs are gobbling up money that employers should use to raise wages and worker pay — yet the plans he backs would require employers to pay 8 percent of their payroll as a tax or provide insurance to their workers.
The Obama plan highlights greater preventive care — but, at the same time, cuts medical incomes and so will cut the number of doctors who might provide it.
The stimulus package, in the Gospel According to Barack, was “designed” to work over the next two years. But at the time, he demanded immediate passage to “jump-start the economy” — something that clearly did not happen.
Medicare and Medicaid are “driving the deficit” even as he increased the amount of red ink by at least $800 billion in six months with little, if any, increase in the cost of either program.
He says he “expects” banks to repay their TARP money. In fact, they’re lining up around the block to do so — but the Treasury will only permit a handful of them to do so.
In summary, Obama’s health program will promote “lower cost and more choice” by increasing spending by $1 trillion, telling patients what care they’re permitted to have, and limiting their access to quality care.
Orwell’s heirs should sue for violation of copyright.
By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN
Published in the New York Post on July 21, 2009
If the Democrats obey President Obama’s command and pass a health-care bill by the August recess, they’ll be committing partisan suicide.
Obama’s insistence that we completely remake our health-care system — and do it two weeks after the first bill was marked up in the first committee — is too arrogant by half. It smacks of the kind of overreaching of FDR’s second term in 1937, when, after his landslide win in 1936, he tried to pack the Supreme Court to reverse its anti-New Deal rulings.
Americans are increasingly turning against Obama’s program. A Washington Post poll has the plan’s public approval below 50 percent; Rasmussen has it trailing 46-49.
For Obama to ride roughshod over Americans’ rising concerns about a matter so intimate will be too much.
What’s the rush? they’ll ask. The bill isn’t even slated to take effect until next year. You passed the stimulus package, they’ll note, in a similar rush during the administration’s first week — only to see it fall flat. Now Obama aides are claiming the package was never intended to have much effect this year!
How, voters will ask, can we cover 50 million more people without any new doctors or nurses? The answer is to ration health care, with the government deciding who’ll get hip and knee replacements, heart-bypass surgery and other medical treatments. And what does rationing mean? It means that the elderly will be denied care that they can now get whenever they want.
The Obama plan effectively repeals Medicare, putting a Federal Health Board between the elderly and their doctors. This board will instruct public and private insurance carriers on what procedures are to be approved, at what cost and for what patients.
The bulk of this rationing will fall on the elderly. We’ll have to revisit the idea that the elderly have, in the words of former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, “a duty to die.”
The more word gets out about what the bill contemplates, the firmer opposition will grow. That’s why Obama wants to push it through now, while he retains some popularity.
And if the bill passes? The howls of protest from the elderly the first time they’re denied care will be something to behold. It will become evident that the health-care resources being denied to the elderly are going instead to immigrants — legal and not. The anger will be enormous and instant.
Most Americans aren’t sick and don’t use medical facilities often. But the elderly constantly stay in touch with their doctors and medical providers. The curtailment of that access will become immediately apparent — and in more than enough time for the 2010 elections.
Some votes live on and on. People remember senators’ votes on the Kuwait war resolution. President Bill Clinton chose Vice President Al Gore for the 1992 ticket largely based on Gore’s vote in favor of the invasion. It sent a signal that Gore and he were a “new kind of Democrat.”
This health-care vote is similarly consequential; it will linger for years.
By BOBBY JINDAL
In Washington, it seems history always repeats itself. That’s what’s happening now with health-care reform. This is an unfortunate turn of events for Americans who are legitimately concerned about the skyrocketing cost of a basic human need.
In 1993 and 1994, Hillary Clinton’s health-care reform proposal failed because it was concocted in secret without the guiding hand of public consensus-building, and because it was a philosophical over-reach. Today President Barack Obama is repeating these mistakes.
The reason is plain: The left in Washington has concluded that honesty will not yield its desired policy result. So it resorts to a fundamentally dishonest approach to reform. I say this because the marketing of the Democrats’ plans as presented in the House of Representatives and endorsed heartily by President Obama rests on three falsehoods.
First, Mr. Obama doggedly promises that if you like your (private) health-care coverage now, you can keep it. That promise is hollow, because the Democrats’ reforms are designed to push an ever-increasing number of Americans into a government-run health-care plan.
If a so-called public option is part of health-care reform, the Lewin Group study estimates over 100 million Americans may leave private plans for government-run health care. Any government plan will benefit from taxpayer subsidies and be able to operate at a financial loss—competing unfairly in the marketplace until private plans are driven out of business. The government plan will become so large that it will set, rather than negotiate, prices. This will inevitably lead to monopoly, with a resulting threat to the quality of our health care.
Second, the Democrats disingenuously argue their reforms will not diminish the quality of our health care even as government involvement in the delivery of that health care increases massively. For all of us who have seen the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to hurricanes, this contention is laughable on its face. When government bureaucracies drive the delivery of services—in this case inserting themselves between health-care providers and their patients—quality degradation will surely come. House Democrats seem willing to accept that problem to achieve their philosophical aim—the long-term removal of for-profit entities from the health-care landscape.
Third, Mr. Obama’s rhetoric paints a picture of a massive new benefit that will actually cost average Americans less than what they pay today. The Democrats want middle-class taxpayers to believe they won’t feel the pinch of this initiative, even as their employers are assessed massive new taxes. They might as well try to argue that up is down. The analysis of the Democrats’ proposal by the Congressional Budget Office shows that it will not reduce government spending on health care, and that it will substantially increase the federal deficit—and this despite all the tax increases.
I served in the U.S. House with a majority of the current 435 representatives, and I am confident that if given the proper amount of legislative review, they will not accept the flawed Pelosi plan that is currently stuck in committee. Yet there is general agreement among Republicans and Democrats that we need health-care reform to bring costs down. This agreement can be the basis of a genuine, bipartisan reform, once the current over-reach by Mr. Obama and Mrs. Pelosi fails. Leaders of both parties can then come together behind health-care reform that stresses these seven principles:
•Consumer choice guided by transparency. We need a system where individuals choose an integrated plan that adopts the best disease-management practices, as opposed to fragmented care. Pricing and outcomes data for all tests, treatments and procedures should be posted on the Internet. Portable electronic health-care records can reduce paperwork, duplication and errors, while also empowering consumers to seek the provider that best meets their needs.
•Aligned consumer interests. Consumers should be financially invested in better health decisions through health-savings accounts, lower premiums and reduced cost sharing. If they seek care in cost-effective settings, comply with medical regimens, preventative care, and lifestyles that reduce the likelihood of chronic disease, they should share in the savings.
•Medical lawsuit reform. The practice of defensive medicine costs an estimated $100 billion-plus each year, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, which used a study by economists Daniel P. Kessler and Mark B. McClellan. No health reform is serious about reducing costs unless it reduces the costs of frivolous lawsuits.
•Insurance reform. Congress should establish simple guidelines to make policies more portable, with more coverage for pre-existing conditions. Reinsurance, high-risk pools, and other mechanisms can reduce the dangers of adverse risk selection and the incentive to avoid covering the sick. Individuals should also be able to keep insurance as they change jobs or states.
•Pooling for small businesses, the self-employed, and others. All consumers should have equal opportunity to buy the lowest-cost, highest-quality insurance available. Individuals should benefit from the economies of scale currently available to those working for large employers. They should be free to purchase their health coverage without tax penalty through their employer, church, union, etc.
•Pay for performance, not activity. Roughly 75% of health-care spending is for the care of chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes—and there is little coordination of this care. We can save money and improve outcomes by using integrated networks of care with rigorous, transparent outcome measures emphasizing prevention and disease management.
•Refundable tax credits. Low-income working Americans without health insurance should get help in buying private coverage through a refundable tax credit. This is preferable to building a separate, government-run health-care plan.
These steps would bring down health-care costs. They would not bankrupt our nation or increase taxes in the midst of a recession. They are achievable reforms with bipartisan consensus and public support. All they require is a willingness by the president to slow down and have an honest discussion with Americans about the real downstream consequences of his ideas. Let’s start there.
Mr. Jindal is governor of Louisiana.
OK. You turned 50. You know you’re supposed to get a colonoscopy. But you haven’t. Here are your reasons:
- You’ve been busy.
- You don’t have a history of cancer in your family.
- You haven’t noticed any problems.
- You don’t want a doctor to stick a tube 17,000 feet up your butt.
Let’s examine these reasons one at a time. No, wait, let’s not. Because you and I both know that the only real reason is No. 4. This is natural. The idea of having another human, even a medical human, becoming deeply involved in what is technically known as your ”behindular zone” gives you the creeping willies.
I know this because I am like you, except worse. I yield to nobody in the field of being a pathetic weenie medical coward. I become faint and nauseous during even very minor medical procedures, such as making an appointment by phone. It’s much worse when I come into physical contact with the medical profession. More than one doctor’s office has a dent in the floor caused by my forehead striking it seconds after I got a shot.
In 1997, when I turned 50, everybody told me I should get a colonoscopy. I agreed that I definitely should, but not right away. By following this policy, I reached age 55 without having had a colonoscopy. Then I did something so pathetic and embarrassing that I am frankly ashamed to tell you about it.
What happened was, a giant 40-foot replica of a human colon came to Miami Beach. Really. It’s an educational exhibit called the Colossal Colon, and it was on a nationwide tour to promote awareness of colo-rectal cancer. The idea is, you crawl through the Colossal Colon, and you encounter various educational items in there, such as polyps, cancer and hemorrhoids the size of regulation volleyballs, and you go, ”Whoa, I better find out if I contain any of these things,” and you get a colonoscopy.
If you are as a professional humor writer, and there is a giant colon within a 200-mile radius, you are legally obligated to go see it. So I went to Miami Beach and crawled through the Colossal Colon. I wrote a column about it, making tasteless colon jokes. But I also urged everyone to get a colonoscopy. I even, when I emerged from the Colossal Colon, signed a pledge stating that I would get one.
But I didn’t get one. I was a fraud, a hypocrite, a liar. I was practically a member of Congress.
Five more years passed. I turned 60, and I still hadn’t gotten a colonoscopy. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got an e-mail from my brother Sam, who is 10 years younger than I am, but more mature. The email was addressed to me and my middle brother, Phil. It said:
I went in for a routine colonoscopy and got the dreaded diagnosis: cancer. We’re told it’s early and that there is a good prognosis that they can get it all out, so, fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that. And of course they told me to tell my siblings to get screened. I imagine you both have.”
First I called Sam. He was hopeful, but scared. We talked for a while, and when we hung up, I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis. Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn’t really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, “HE’S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BUTT!”
I left Andy’s office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called ”MoviPrep,” which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America’s enemies.
I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn’t eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.) Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes — and here I am being kind — like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.
The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, ”a loose watery bowel movement may result.” This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.
MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don’t want to be too graphic, here, but: Have you ever seen a space shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.
After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, ”What if I spurt on Andy?” How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.
At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the hell the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.
Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn’t thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.
When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was Dancing Queen by Abba. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, Dancing Queen has to be the least appropriate.
”You want me to turn it up?” said Andy, from somewhere behind me.
”Ha ha,” I said.
And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.
I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, Abba was shrieking “Dancing Queen! Feel the beat from the tambourine . . .”
. . . and
the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that it was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.
But my point is this: In addition to being a pathetic medical weenie, I was a complete moron. For more than a decade I avoided getting a procedure that was, essentially, nothing. There was no pain and, except for the MoviPrep, no discomfort. I was risking my life for nothing.
If my brother Sam had been as stupid as I was — if, when he turned 50, he had ignored all the medical advice and avoided getting screened — he still would have had cancer. He just wouldn’t have known. And by the time he did know — by the time he felt symptoms — his situation would have been much, much more serious. But because he was a grown-up, the doctors caught the cancer early, and they operated and took it out. Sam is now recovering and eating what he describes as ”really, really boring food.” His prognosis is good, and everybody is optimistic, fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that.
Which brings us to you, Mr. or Mrs. or Miss or Ms. Over-50-And-Hasn’t-Had-a-Colonoscopy. Here’s the deal: You either have colo-rectal cancer, or you don’t. If you do, a colonoscopy will enable doctors to find it and do something about it. And if you don’t have cancer, believe me, it’s very reassuring to know you don’t. There is no sane reason for you not to have it done.
I am so eager for you to do this that I am going to induce you with an Exclusive Limited Time Offer. If you, after reading this, get a colonoscopy, let me know by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to Dave Barry Colonoscopy Inducement, The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132. I will send you back a certificate, signed by me and suitable for framing if you don’t mind framing a cheesy certificate, stating that you are a grown-up who got a colonoscopy. Accompanying this certificate will be a square of limited-edition custom-printed toilet paper with an image of Miss Paris Hilton on it. You may frame this also, or use it in whatever other way you deem fit.
But even if you don’t want this inducement, please get a colonoscopy. If I can do it, you can do it. Don’t put it off. Just do it.
Be sure to stress that you want the non-Abba version.