Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mammogram Media Blitz is a Right Wing Attack Tactic

Dan Pfeiffer writes, "One of the hallmark tactics from opponents of health insurance reform has been to grab onto any convenient piece of information and twist it into some misguided attack on reform, no matter how unrelated it may actually be..... and Fox News obliges them with the headline 'Critics See Health Care Rationing Behind New Mammography Recommendations.'" He says the media outlets feed on this kind of opportunistic "controversy." Ya think?

Gee, how did the mainstream media miss this statement coming from the White House?

Pfeiffer continues that it's ironic that the the right would spin this government agency recommendation as "health care rationing" that is part of the insurance reform movement. In fact health care reform proponents want to see increased preventative measures, as do most doctors.

One very basic problem with U.S. healthcare is that we have a policy of only providing free health care to people when they are in an emergency or at risk of death. By that time it's often too late, especially in cancer cases. Staunch reform proponents want socialized medicine for all people to have health care as they need it, when they need it, for all ages - Medicare for all.

So the right is spinning this (what I would call suspicious) recommendation from the independent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Note the word "independent."

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius had stated that she expects no changes to take place in the government or in the health insurance industry as a result of this (independent) USPSTF report. In fact she stated Wednesday that women should continue to get checked at age 40. Yet the right wing liars, as per usual, keep saying this stuff will be part of health care reform.

On the other hand we should indeed keep watch that the health insurance industry doesn't try to sneak in this kind of cut back on preventative services which would benefit them and which they could blame upon reformers with this kind of media spin. This is all out media warfare. The pen is mightier than the sword.

Pfeiffer's blog continues with the following clarification FAQ:
Will Medicare now stop paying for breast cancer mammography for women because of this recommendation?

Women who are currently getting mammograms under Medicare will continue to be able to get them. There are no plans to change that. The law states that in order to change Medicare coverage of mammograms a formal rule making process must be undertaken and that is not happening.

Isn’t this the first step toward denying coverage for mammograms?

No. The Task force is an independent panel of experts in prevention and primary care that evaluates available evidence and makes recommendations about effective clinical preventive services based on scientific information. Under the health insurance reform legislation, the USPTF would have no power to deny insurance coverage in any way. Their recommendations would be used in health reform to identify effective clinical preventive services.

How will this recommendation affect private health insurance coverage?

The Task Force does not address insurance coverage and payment issues; it focuses on the science of the clinical services it evaluates. Each insurance company is different and makes its own coverage decisions. The Task Force recognizes that clinical and policy decisions involve more consideration that this body of evidence alone. Clinicians and policymakers should understand the evidence but individualize decision making to the specific patient or situation.

Tommy Thompson said the Task Force recommendations were the official position of the U.S. Government. Is that your position?

We have tremendous respect for the Task Force and the work they have done. They are an independent scientific body that makes recommendations based on scientific evidence; however they do not set official policy for the federal government. Under health reform, their recommendations would be used to identify preventive services that must be provided for little or no cost.

Won’t the USPSTF be used to ration care under health reform?

Absolutely not. The USPSTF, an independent task force made up of some of the nation’s top doctors and scientists provides science-based recommendations regarding the most effective preventive, treatment and screening services. The Task Force’s recommendations would be used to help determine the types of services that must be provided for at little or no cost and the Task Force would have no power to deny insurance coverage in any way..

What do these recommendations mean for the current health reform bills?

While the bills are still being drafted and debated in Congress, health insurance reform legislation generally calls for the Task Force’s recommendations to help determine the types of preventive services that must be provided for little or no cost. The recommendations alone cannot be used to deny treatment.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Ft. Hood Shock: Incredible Coincidence or Orchestrated Obama Photo Op?

It's November 10th, 2009, the day before Veterans Day. President Obama visits Ft. Hood to mourn with those military families who lost friends and loved ones at the hands of a domestic "terrorist," who just happens to be a Muslim and who committed this crime so close to Veterans Day and while Obama is on the brink of making a decision to send tens of thousands more troops to the war in Afghanistan (against Muslims) amidst very strong public opinion to get out of that war. Well it was strong, until this shocking "terrorist" act took place.

This is absolutely amazing. We have the most well equipped military and intelligence agencies in the world and yet they can't stop known terror suspects with simple box cutters who even trained in U.S. flight schools - they can't stop those guys from hijacking five planes and crashing into the Pentagon and the twin towers; and they can't stop this guy Hasan, who they have known evidence on as well with his relations with a known terrorist sympathizer and they even employ him on a military base.

Someone clue me in here. Are these people in our intelligence agencies complete idiots?


There are those who question the whole legitimacy of 9/11 as a purely terrorist act. There were no aircraft engine parts found at the Pentagon on 9/11. Instead they found what appeared to be a hole in the building made by a missile. Some demolition experts believe the twin towers were destroyed with explosives by demolition experts - like our highly trained military who specialize in such things perhaps? There are questions about flight 93 that crashed in a farm field in Pennsylvania, supposedly headed for Washington D.C. piloted by U.S. military trained "Muslim terrorists" (Was it shot down by the military as is standard military policy when a hijacked aircraft becomes a threat, especially a threat to national security?). Why was there so much media analysis of what happened on that flight, which we couldn't possibly know of for certain, to the point where a Hollywood movie was made depicting such nebulous speculation and conjecture in vivid high definition detail?

Now we have this highly suspicious terrorist act by Hasan, where we know he was thwarted and harassed to the breaking point, and we know he had an internal conflict between his ethnicity and people versus his military service, while working for a military that slaughters innocent Muslims with extreme ethnic prejudice (if you were a white guy working for an Arab army that did this to Americans, do you think you'd have a few internal conflicts too? How about a few dead collaterally damaged Texan babies? Want to work for those guys?).

Left: Obama narrows down his decision to send tens of thousands more American lives into a nebulous war.

Yet our military with its vast resources can't figure this stuff out until after a great American tragedy happens, coinciding with Veterans day and on our American soil - all the talking points of making a case for war against a foreign enemy. What a great photo op for Obama at Ft. Hood the day before Veterans Day. Can you think of a better commercial for going to all out war?

Naomi Kline's book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, points out ever so clearly the history of the United states government in using disasters to make a case for war, not only in our country but first in South American countries which were the proving ground for this policy. And we see this happening over and over again. Here we are with Obama on the brink of sending ten's of thousands more troops off to fight and die in vain for a war without end, without purpose, without strategy. A war that targets innocent civilians because our crack cutting edge military can't figure out the difference between civilians and terrorists, and in the process of killing the innocent, proliferates more terrorism.

It is very highly likely, in light of this historical fact, that our intelligence agencies employed persons from the Muslim connections that Hasan had, to his neighbors that harassed him to his wit's end, with the sole purpose of perpetuating and coercing him to commit these crimes, so that they would have an awesome ongoing news story (one that will now last for months since they went to extreme measures to keep him alive) to make a case for perpetual war in Afghanistan and to sway public opinion away from it's current sentiment against staying in Afghanistan.

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