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08 November 2013

The Drift Toward Despotism




Too many of our rulers and their enforcers reflexively see the citizenry as a threat. 


By Mark Steyn

At a time when over 4 million people have had their health insurance canceled, it’s good to know that some Americans can still access prompt medical treatment, even if they don’t want it. David Eckert was pulled over by police in Deming, N.M., for failing to come to a complete halt at a stop sign in the Walmart parking lot. He was asked to step out of the vehicle, and waited on the sidewalk. Officers decided that they didn’t like the tight clench of his buttocks, a subject on which New Mexico’s constabulary is apparently expert, and determined that it was because he had illegal drugs secreted therein. So they arrested him, and took him to Gila Regional Medical Center in neighboring Hidalgo County, where Mr. Eckert was forced to undergo two abdominal X-rays, two rectal probes, three enemas, and defecate thrice in front of medical staff and representatives of two law-enforcement agencies, before being sedated and subjected to a colonoscopy — all procedures performed against his will and without a valid warrant.

Alas, Mr. Eckert’s body proved to be a drug-free zone, and so, after twelve hours of detention, he was released. If you’re wondering where his lawyer was during all this, no attorney was present, as police had not charged Mr. Eckert with anything, so they’re apparently free to frolic and gambol up his rectum to their hearts’ content. Deming police chief Brandon Gigante says his officers did everything “by the book.”

That’s the problem, in New Mexico and beyond: “the book.”

Getting into the spirit of things, Gila Regional Medical Center subsequently sent Mr. Eckert a bill for $6,000. It appears he had one of what the president calls those “bad apple” plans that doesn’t cover anal rape. Doubtless, under the new regime, Obamacare navigators will be happy to take a trip up your northwest passage free of charge. That’s what it is, by the way: anal rape. The euphemisms with which the state dignifies the process — “cavity search” — are distinctions that exist only in the mind of the perpetrator, not the fellow on the receiving end. Fleet Street’s Daily Mail reports that this is at least the second anal fishing expedition mounted by local authorities. Timothy Young underwent a similar experience after being fingered by the same police dog, Leo, who may not be very good at sniffing drugs but certainly has an eye for a pert bottom. At the time of Mr. Young’s arrest, Leo’s police license had reportedly expired a year-and-a-half earlier, but why get hung up on technicalities?

Messrs. Eckert and Young may yet win their cases. But one notes that the Supreme Court has dramatically circumscribed Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure when it occurs at America’s border, and post-9/11 the “border” has been redefined to mean anywhere within 100 miles of the actual frontier. Many European countries are not 100 miles wide in their entirety. A hundred-mile buffer zone from Belgium’s northern border, for example, would be well south of the southern border and deep into France. But Deming falls within the 100-mile Fourth Amendment–free zone, and so, I note, between the seacoast and the Quebec border, does the whole of my own state of New Hampshire. It would be prudent perhaps for Granite Staters to affect a loose-buttocked saunter when strolling around the White Mountains.

Of course, even with millions of canceled health-care policies freeing up medical staff, it is unlikely that the authorities could ever give the full Deming PD treatment to the bulk of the populace. Perhaps that’s why Americans do not seem to get terribly exercised by these cases. There are over 300 million people, and the chances of Leo taking a fancy to one’s own posterior are relatively remote. Yet tyranny is always capricious, and the willingness of police and compliant doctors and nurses to go along with it ought to disturb a supposedly free people, no matter how comparatively rare it may seem.

Meanwhile, an unarmed woman was gunned down on the streets of Washington for no apparent crime other than driving too near Barackingham Palace and thereby posing a threat to national security. As disturbing as Miriam Carey’s bullet-riddled body and vehicle were, the public indifference to it is even worse. Ms. Carey does not appear to be guilty of any act other than a panic attack when the heavy-handed and heavier-armed palace guard began yelling at her. Much of what was reported in the hours after her death seems dubious: We are told Ms. Carey was “mentally ill,” although she had no medications in her vehicle and those at her home back in Connecticut are sufficiently routine as to put millions of other Americans in the category of legitimate target. We are assured that she suffered from post-partum depression, as if the inability to distinguish between a depressed mom and a suicide bomber testifies to the officers’ professionalism. Under D.C. police rules, cops are not permitted to fire on a moving vehicle, because of the risk to pedestrians and other drivers. But the Secret Service and the Capitol Police enjoy no such restraints, so the car doors are full of bullet holes. The final moments of the encounter remain a mystery, but police were supposedly able to extract Ms. Carey’s baby from the back of a two-door vehicle before dispatching the defenseless mother to meet her maker.

Did I mention she was African American? When a black teen dies in a late-night one-on-one encounter with a fellow citizen on the streets of Sanford, Fla., it’s the biggest thing since Selma. But when a defenseless black woman is gunned down by a posse of robocops in broad daylight on the streets of the capital, the Reverend Jackson and the Reverend Sharpton and all the other bouffed and pampered grievance-mongers are apparently cool with it.

This isn’t very difficult. When you need large numbers of supposedly highly trained elite officers to kill an unarmed woman with a baby, you’re doing it wrong. In perhaps the most repugnant reaction to Ms. Carey’s death, the United States Congress expressed their “gratitude” to the officers who killed her and gave them a standing ovation. Back in the Eighties, the Queen woke up to find a confused young man at the end of her bed. She talked to him calmly until help arrived and he was led away. A few years later, Her Majesty’s Canadian prime minister, Jean Chr├ętien, was confronted by an aggrieved protester. As is his wont, he dealt with it somewhat more forcefully than his sovereign, throttling the guy, forcing him to the ground, and breaking his tooth, until the Mounties arrived to rescue the assailant from the prime minister. But, had the London and Ottawa intruders been gunned down by SWAT teams, I cannot imagine for a moment either the British or Canadian parliament rising to applaud such an outcome. This was a repulsive act by Congress.

Miriam Carey is already forgotten, and the lawyer her family hired has now, conveniently, been jailed for a bad debt. I am not one for cheap historical analogies: My mother spent four of her childhood years under Nazi occupation, and it is insulting to her and millions of others who know the real thing to bandy overheated comparisons. But there is a despotic trend in American government. Too many of our rulers and their enforcers reflexively see the citizenry primarily as a threat. Which is why the tautness of one’s buns is now probable cause, and why in Congress the so-called people’s representatives’ first instinct is to stand and cheer the death of a defenseless woman.

06 November 2013

Venezuela's 'Free' Health Care System In Collapse




AP Photo





Gonzalez is on a list of 31 breast cancer patients waiting to have tumors removed at one of Venezuela's biggest medical facilities, Maracay's Central Hospital. But like legions of the sick across the country, she's been neglected by a health care system doctors say is collapsing after years of deterioration.

Doctors at the hospital sent home 300 cancer patients last month when supply shortages and overtaxed equipment made it impossible for them to perform non-emergency surgeries.Driving the crisis in health care are the same forces that have left Venezuelans scrambling to find toilet paper, milk and automobile parts. Economists blame government mismanagement and currency controls set by the late President Hugo Chavez for inflation pushing 50 percent annually. The government controls the dollars needed to buy medical supplies and has simply not made enough available. 

"I feel like I've been abandoned," Gonzalez, 37, tells a bright-eyed hospital psychologist trying to boost her morale. Her right eye is swollen by glaucoma diagnosed two years ago but left untreated when she had trouble getting an appointment.

Doctors not allied with the government say many patients began dying from easily treatable illnesses when Venezuela's downward economic slide accelerated after Chavez's death from cancer in March. Doctors say it's impossible to know how many have died, and the government doesn't keep such numbers, just as it hasn't published health statistics since 2010.

Almost everything needed to mend and heal is in critically short supply: needles, syringes and paraffin used in biopsies to diagnose cancer; drugs to treat it; operating room equipment; X-ray film and imaging paper; blood and the reagents needed so it can be used for transfusions.

Last month, the government suspended organ donations and transplants. At least 70 percent of radiotherapy machines, precisely what Gonzalez will need once her tumor is removed, are now inoperable in a country with 19,000 cancer patients - meaning fewer than 5,000 can be treated, said Dr. Douglas Natera, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation.

"Two months ago we asked the government to declare an emergency," said Natera, whose doctors group is the country's largest. "We got no response."

The Associated Press sought comment from Health Minister Isabel Iturria but her press office did not respond to repeated interview requests.

Last week, a deputy health minister, Nimeny Gutierrez, denied on state TV that the system is in crisis, saying supplies are arriving regularly from Cuba, Uruguay, Colombia and Portugal, and additional purchases "will let us be moderately relaxed until the end of the year."

The interviewer read a viewer's question about Central Hospital patients being forced to buy their own supplies. "It's a hospital that received permanent stocks from us," Gutierrez said, promising to investigate.

The country's 1999 constitution guarantees free universal health care to Venezuelans, who sit on the world's largest proven oil reserves. President Nicolas Maduro's government insists it's complying. Yet of the country's 100 fully functioning public hospitals, nine in 10 have just 7 percent of the supplies they need, Natera said.

The other nearly 200 public hospitals that existed when Chavez took office were largely replaced by a system of walk-in clinics run by Cuban doctors that have won praise for delivering preventative care to the neediest but do not treat serious illnesses.

The woes are not restricted to the public system.

Venezuela's 400 private hospitals and clinics are overburdened and strapped for supplies, 95 percent of which must be imported, said Dr. Carlos Rosales, president of the association that represents them.

The private system has just 8,000 of the country's more than 50,000 hospital beds but treats 53 percent of the country's patients, including the 10 million public employees with health insurance. Rosales said insurers, many state-owned, are four to six months behind in payments and it is nearly impossible to meet payrolls and pay suppliers.

Worse, government price caps set in July for common procedures are impossible to meet, Rosales said. For example, dialysis treatment was set at 200 bolivars ($30 at the official exchange rate and less than $4 on the black market) for a procedure that costs 5,000 bolivars to administer.

"The health care crisis is an economic crisis. It is not a medical crisis," said Dr. Jose Luis Lopez, who oversees labs at the Municipal Blood Bank of Caracas.

Dr. Jose Manuel Olivares, a 28-year-old medical resident in Caracas, recounted having to tell a father who brought his son in with a broken ankle that the man would have to spend more than half his monthly wages on bandages, plaster and antibiotics.

At Maracay's 433-bed Central Hospital, mattresses are missing, broken windows go unrepaired and the cafeteria has been closed for a year. Paint peels off walls and rusty pipes lie exposed. In the halls, patients on intravenous drips lie recovering on gurneys.

"We have some antibiotics but they aren't usually appropriate for what you are specifically treating," said Dr. Gabriela Gutierrez, the surgeon caring for Gonzalez. There is no anesthesia for elective surgery.

Medical students quietly showed AP journalists around to avoid alerting government supporters, who bar reporters from recording images in public hospitals. Broken anesthesia machines and battered stainless-steel instrument tables, some held together with tape, filled one of five idled operating rooms. Foul odors and water from leaky pipes continue to seep into the rooms, doctors said.

In August, cancer patients protested at the eight-month mark since the hospital's two radiotherapy machines broke down. The machines remain out of order.

Half the public health system's doctors quit under Chavez, and half of those moved abroad, Natera said.

Now, support staff is leaving, too, victim of a wage crunch as wages across the economy fail to keep up with inflation.

At the Caracas blood bank, Lopez said 62 nurses have quit so far this year along with half the lab staff. It now can take donations only on weekday mornings.

The last pre-Chavez health minister, Dr. Jose Felix Oletta, said that while the public health care system had its problems, the Cuban-run program of 1,200 clinics is a politically motivated waste of billions.

It doesn't vaccinate or do PAP smears for uterine cancer, while the Chavista system reversed important gains against tropical diseases including malaria, Oletta said. Dengue fever, he said, is making a worrisome comeback. The number of women dying in childbirth has also risen, to 69 per 100,000 in 2010 from 51 in 1998.

Under Chavez, Venezuela began buying most medical equipment through Cuba, China and Argentina. That has led to considerable waste, because it is cheaper to buy direct from the manufacturer, critics say.

The Health Ministry's oncology chief, Dr. Morella Rebolledo, said it is negotiating with Argentina maintenance contracts for the idled radiotherapy machines that had lapsed.

Back home in San Mateo, a 90-minute bus ride away in a neighborhood where even the dogs look hungry, Evelina Gonzalez sits outside the tin-roofed, plywood-walled two-room shack she shares with her family of five. Because her last chemotherapy was in June, she needs more sessions before surgery, but the drugs are not available and the cancer has reached lymph nodes beneath her armpit.

Gonzalez says she adored Chavez for his anti-poverty programs, always voted for him and constantly applied for government benefits, though she never received any.

She has a good chance of survival if she gets the right care, Gutierrez said.

But that's not happening.

"I've got nowhere else to turn," Gonzalez says.









 










Loyal Obama Supporters, Canceled by Obamacare




San Francisco architect Lee Hammack says he and his wife, JoEllen Brothers, are “cradle Democrats.” They have donated to the liberal group Organizing for America and worked the phone banks a year ago for President Obama’s re-election.

Since 1995, Hammack and Brothers have received their health coverage from Kaiser Permanente, where Brothers worked until 2009 as a dietician and diabetes educator. “We’ve both been in very good health all of our lives – exercise, don’t smoke, drink lightly, healthy weight, no health issues, and so on,” Hammack told me.

The couple — Lee, 60, and JoEllen, 59 — have been paying $550 a month for their health coverage — a plan that offers solid coverage, not one of the skimpy plans Obama has criticized. But recently, Kaiser informed them the plan would be canceled at the end of the year because it did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The couple would need to find another one. The cost would be around double what they pay now, but the benefits would be worse.

“From all of the sob stories I’ve heard and read, ours is the most extreme,” Lee told me in an email last week.

I’ve been skeptical about media stories featuring those who claimed they would be worse off because their insurance policies were being canceled on account of the ACA. In many cases, it turns out, the consumers could have found cheaper coverage through the new health insurance marketplaces, or their plans weren’t very good to begin with. Some didn’t know they could qualify for subsidies that would lower their insurance premiums.

So I tried to find flaws in what Hammack told me. I couldn’t find any.
  • They do not qualify for premium subsidies because they make more than four times the federal poverty level, though Hammack says not by much.
Hammack recalled his reaction when he and his wife received a letters from Kaiser in September informing him their coverage was being canceled. “I work downstairs and my wife had a clear look of shock on her face,” he said. “Our first reaction was clearly there’s got to be some mistake. This was before the exchanges opened up. We quickly calmed down. We were confident that this would all be straightened out. But it wasn’t.”

I asked Hammack to send me details of his current plan. It carried a $4,000 deductible per person, a $40 copay for doctor visits, a $150 emergency room visit fee and 30 percent coinsurance for hospital stays after the deductible. The out-of-pocket maximum was $5,600.

This plan was ending, Kaiser’s letters told them, because it did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. “Everything is taken care of,” the letters said. “There’s nothing you need to do.”

The letters said the couple would be enrolled in new Kaiser plans that would cost nearly $1,300 for the two of them (more than $15,000 a year).

And for that higher amount, what would they get? A higher deductible ($4,500), a higher out-of-pocket maximum ($6,350), higher hospital costs (40 percent of the cost) and possibly higher costs for doctor visits and drugs.

When they shopped around and looked for a different plan on California's new health insurance marketplace, Covered California, the cheapest one was $975, with hefty deductibles and copays.

In a speech in Boston last week, President Obama said those receiving cancellation letters didn’t have good insurance. “There are a number of Americans — fewer than 5 percent of Americans — who've got cut-rate plans that don’t offer real financial protection in the event of a serious illness or an accident,” he said.

“Remember, before the Affordable Care Act, these bad-apple insurers had free rein every single year to limit the care that you received, or use minor preexisting conditions to jack up your premiums or bill you into bankruptcy. So a lot of people thought they were buying coverage, and it turned out not to be so good.” 

What is going on here? Kaiser isn’t a “bad apple” insurer and this plan wasn’t “cut rate.” It seems like this is a lose-lose for the Hammacks (and a friend featured in a report last month by the public radio station KQED.)

I called Kaiser Permanente and spoke to spokesman Chris Stenrud, who used to work for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He told me that this was indeed a good plan. Patients in the plan, known as 40/4000, were remarkably healthy, had low medical costs and had not seen their premiums increase in years. “Our actuaries still aren’t entirely sure why that was,” he said.

While many other insurance companies offered skimpier benefits, Stenrud said, “our plans historically have been comprehensive.”

Kaiser has canceled about 160,000 policies in California, and about one third of people were in plans like Hammack’s, Stenrud said. About 30,000 to 35,000 were in his specific plan.

“In a few cases, we are able to find coverage for them that is less expensive, but in most cases, we’re not because, in sort of pure economic terms, they are people who benefited from the current system ... Now that the market rules are changing, there will be different people who benefit and different people who don’t.”

“There’s an aspect of market disruption here that I think was not clear to people,” Stenrud acknowledged. “In many respects it has been theory rather than practice for the first three years of the law; folks are seeing the breadth of change that we’re talking about here.”

That’s little comfort to Hammack. He’s written to California’s senators and his representative, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asking for help.

“We believe that the Act is good for health care, the economy, & the future of our nation. However, ACA options for middle income individuals ages 59 & 60 are unaffordable. We’re learning that many others are similarly affected. In that spirit we ask that you fix this, for all of our sakes,” he and Brothers wrote.

Consumer advocate Anthony Wright said it’s important to remember the way the insurance market worked before the act was passed, when insurers could deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. “It’s impossible to know what the world would have looked like for these folks in the absence of the law,” said Wright, executive director of the group Health Access.

“We certainly had an individual market, especially in California which was the Wild Wild West, where there was huge price increases, cancellations, a range of other practices.

“That doesn't mean that there were certain people who lucked out in the old system, who wound up in a group with a relatively healthy risk mix and thus lower premiums,” he added. “The question is: Is health insurance something where people get a rate based on the luck of the draw or do we have something where we have some standards where people who live in the same community, of the same age, with the same benefit package are treated equally?”

Wright said discussions should focus on how to provide consumers like Hammack with assistance if they barely miss qualifying for subsidies.

So what is Hammack going to do? If his income were to fall below four times the federal poverty level, or about $62,000 for a family of two, he would qualify for subsidies that could lower his premium cost to as low as zero. If he makes even one dollar more, he gets nothing.

That’s what he’s leaning toward — lowering his salary or shifting more money toward a retirement account and applying for a subsidy.

“We’re not changing our views because of this situation, but it hurt to hear Obama saying, just the other day, that if our plan has been dropped it’s because it wasn’t any good, and our costs would go up only slightly,” he said. “We’re gratified that the press is on the case, but frustrated that the stewards of the ACA don’t seem to have heard.”







05 November 2013

Obamacare Might Not Let You Keep Your Doctor



http://mocksure.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/jade_goody2.jpg



By Robert Book

How many times have we heard, over the last three and a half years, that one of the primary and most popular features of Obamacare is that no one could be denied coverage for a preexisting condition?

The Affordable Care Act does indeed specify, in Section 1201, that “a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage may not impose any preexisting condition exclusion with respect to such plan or coverage.” In other words, a health plan cannot deny enrollment, or the plan’s benefits, to someone based on that person’s preexisting condition.

However, that is not the same as saying that a plan has to enable a patient to continue the same course of treatment that they started before obtaining coverage in an exchange plan on January 1, 2014. 

Key to understanding this distinction is that having “health coverage” is not the same as actually obtaining “health care.” The insurance plan has to take anyone who wants to enroll, regardless of their health status or health history – but they don’t have to provide the same treatments, the same doctors, or the same medications that a patient has been receiving.

For someone in the middle of a cancer treatment, or someone with a chronic condition, this can be extraordinarily distressing, and perhaps dangerous to their health. 

Edie Littlefield Sundby writes in the Wall Street Journal that she is on the verge of losing her treatment program for stage-4 gallbladder cancer. Why? Her existing plan doesn’t meet the ACA standards, so it has to be canceled. Her treatment program involves doctors at both the Stanford and UC San Diego medical centers, and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas – but there is no plan in the California exchange that includes both Stanford and UCSD centers in it network, much less M.D. Anderson. In fact, UCSD has joined only one provider network, and it’s a heretofore almost unknown type called an “Exclusive Provider Organization” (EPO). The “exclusive” means that in an EPO, coverage is provided exclusively within the network – there is no out-of-network coverage at, except what uninsured people get at the emergency room.

Despite the President’s repeated promises, there is no way Ms. Sundby can keep all of her current doctors, or her health plan, in the new system. Her preexisting condition doesn’t prevent her from enrolling in any of the new Obamacare exchange plans – but none of those plans actually cover the same treatment she was receiving for her preexisting condition. 

Ms. Sundby’s predicament is probably not an isolated case. Abby Goodnough of the New York Times reports that many people are having extreme difficulty finding out whether the plans they are shopping on the exchanges will cover the current doctors or hospitals they go to, or the drugs they take.

The problem will probably turn out to be most severe in New York. New York has set up its own exchange, and all of its plans are EPOs. That means no out-of-network coverage – yet the exchange web site doesn’t provide a list of in-network providers, or a search tool to determine whether particular doctors or hospitals are included. In fact, of the 14 states (plus DC) that run their own exchanges, only four states even claim to have provider search tools. The federal exchange just links to the provider directories of the insurers selling plans on it.

Nancy Pelosi famously said that we had to pass the health care bill to find out what’s in it – now you have to sign up for a health plan before you find out what’s covered.

This is not just a “glitch” – it’s a real problem that will affect actual care for millions of Americans with preexisting conditions. Ms. Sundby has been fighting stage-4 gallbladder cancer for seven years, against horrible odds – the five-year survival rate is 2%. Now, she is fighting to avoid becoming the first Obamacare fatality. She is not likely to get much help from the Obama Administration; as Secretary Sebelius said concerning a different patient, “someone lives and someone dies,” and she seems to regard her job as to remain neutral when the choice is between life and death.



Obama's Numbers Racket




Thousands of enrollees is impressive, and millions of canceled plans is a rounding error.


By Charles CW Cooke

Putting on a brave face and opting for defiance rather than contrition, the president boasted on October 21 that his new website had been a hit after all. “Turns out, there’s a massive demand for it,” Obama said. “So far, the national website, Healthcare.gov, has been visited nearly 20 million times. [Applause.] Twenty million times.”

Twenty million is a large number — such a large number, in fact, that it was deemed worthy of dramatic repetition in the president’s speech, and chosen, too, as the basis for the White House’s initial PR campaign. “The number of people who’ve visited the site has been overwhelming,” Obama claimed in the course of his defense, and this “has aggravated some of these underlying problems.” This message was quickly seized upon by the White House’s ideological allies: The problem with Obamacare, we were told until it was no longer credible, is that it was too damn popular, and no computer system could be expected to deal with the “massive” number of people visiting. At Wonkblog, Ezra Klein went so far as to claim that the significant interest was exactly “what the Republicans were afraid of.”
What a difference a week has made. Now, the administration is apparently unable to decide what constitutes a Big Number and what is merely loose change. Pushing back against the increasingly common realization that Obamacare’s achievements have thus far been to expose the president as an incorrigible liar and to corrupt the individual health-insurance market in precisely the way that critics were lambasted for suggesting it would, Jay Carney complained last Tuesday that reporters were blowing out of proportion the number of people whose health insurance is being canceled. “In some of the coverage of this issue in the last several days,” Carney griped, “you would think that you were talking about 75 percent or 80 percent or 60 percent of the American population!” Instead, he noted bitterly, “the universe we’re talking about” is only “5 percent of the population.”
Out of context, “5 percent of the population” does not sound especially impressive. But 5 percent of the population is 15 million people — or the collective population of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Hawaii, Idaho, West Virginia, Nebraska, New Mexico, and both the Dakotas. Fifteen million people is 300 Yankee Stadiums or two New York Cities. It is twice the number of Germans who died during the Second World War. It is, in another words, a lot of people.

With this in mind, one almost feels sympathetic toward the administration’s crack team of liars. By now, they must be realizing that they have been given an impossible mission: to argue simultaneously that 20 million people’s visiting a website is worthy of our awe and admiration and that 15 million living, breathing rebuttals to the president’s incessant “if you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan” promise are but an insignificant rounding error.

This will prove to be an almost impossible feat. Even if the sign-up numbers have improved dramatically by mid November, the deadline by which the White House has promised to finally divulge them, they will almost certainly be dwarfed by the numbers of those who have lost their insurance. Fear of such comparisons explains the administration’s reticence. Healthcare.gov may have experienced “massive demand” in its first few hours, but it has evidently failed to convert that demand into hard sales. The president claims that, on its first day, the site had 4.7 million unique visits; a leaked memo, meanwhile, shows that only six people signed up. Providing that the White House is telling the truth, Obama’s “really good product” thus achieved a visit-to-sign-up ratio of just 1:783,333. By way of contrast, direct mail — almost universally loathed — has a conversion rate of around one in 25, which means that the Smartest President Ever’s signature law is running around 31,000 times behind unsolicited copies of the Sears catalogue.

Even in states where the websites have been running marginally better, the promise of a surge in private insurance is looking more and more like a pipe dream. In Maryland, there have been 82,473 enrollments in Medicaid and 3,186 enrollments in private insurance; in Oregon, a state whose performance was proudly touted by the president on August 21, 62,000 people have been added to the Medicaid rolls while not a single person has signed up for private insurance; and in Washington State, the ratio of Medicaid to private insurance enrollees is 1:7. So far, it seems, the result of the federal government’s biggest expansion in 50 years has been hundreds of thousands of people added to a program that doesn’t work. The GI Bill this is not.

“When we first saw the numbers, everyone’s eyes kind of bugged out,” Matt Salo, the head of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, told the Washington Post last week. “Of the people walking through the door, 90 percent are on Medicaid. We’re thinking, what planet is this happening on?”
I’m not entirely sure why Mr. Salo is so stupefied that a federal law intended to expand Medicaid is yielding a significant increase in the number of people enrolled in Medicaid, nor why he is shocked that forcing people to buy a commercial product that they didn’t want from a store that doesn’t work has been met with anger. Nevertheless, his essential question is one that I have asked myself. From the very start, Obamacare has struck me as a particularly protracted and boring episode of The Twilight Zone — an episode in which a hopeless charlatan tries to explain to a skeptical public that if they just run with him, human nature will be altered by good intentions, the laws of mathematics will be suspended, and government will finally end its long run of failure to be reinvented as an Aston Martin. “What planet is this happening on?” is the exact question that conservatives have been asking for five years.

The first rule of crisis management is that if you have something that makes you look good, you share it. It is fair to assume that the administration does not have anything that makes it looks good. As David Freddoso notes on ConservativeIntel, “the Obama administration is in fact receiving a daily update on enrollments — and there’s no reason they can’t share the numbers.” Actually, there is an extremely good reason: The numbers are terrible. I know it; you know it; and the Obama administration, which has access to a real-time dashboard, knows it, too.

For the first time in his presidency, Barack Obama must be genuinely scared, for numbers are funny things. On the one hand, as Ned Land quips dismissively in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, “you can make figures do whatever you want.” On the other hand, if you’re going to try that game, you had better be sure that you’re playing on more solid ground. Electorates can be fooled some of the time but there is a limit to their credulity, especially when they can see with their own eyes that they were lied to, and lied to good. No amount of trickery can turn 6 into a large number, nor 15 million into a small one — even when the man who got the most votes insists contumaciously upon pretending to the contrary.



15 million = 5,000 9/11s



Just Words, Just Speeches, Just Lies!




http://patdollard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/obama-liar.jpg

“Don’t tell me words don’t matter! ‘I have a dream.’ Just words. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ Just words! [Applause.] ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Just words–just speeches!” 

– Barack Obama, 16 February 2008

Just words–just speeches!

 “That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”  

– President Barack Obama, 15 June 2009

Just words–just speeches!

Here are the details that every American needs to know about this plan. First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, or Medicare, or Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have. 

- President Barack Obama, 9 September 2009

Just words–just speeches!

 ‘Actually, ANY insurance that you currently have would be grandfathered in so you could keep it. So you could decide not to get in the exchange the better plan. I could keep my Acme Insurance, just a high deductible catastrophic plan. I would not be required to get the better one.’ 

- President Barack Obama, 25 February 2010

Just words–just speeches!

“If you like your doctor, you’re going to be able to keep your doctor. If you like your plan, keep your plan. I don’t believe we should give government or the insurance companies more control over health care in America. I think it’s time to give you, the American people, more control over your health.” 

- President Barack Obama, 19 March 2010

Just words–just speeches!

“And if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you. It hasn’t happened yet. It won’t happen in the future.”  

– President Barack Obama, 1 April 2010

Just words–just speeches!

‘And let me tell you exactly what Obamacare did. Number one, if you’ve got health insurance it doesn’t mean a Government takeover. You keep your own insurance. You keep your own doctor. But it does say insurance companies can’t jerk you around. They can’t impose arbitrary lifetime limits. They have to let you keep your kid on their insurance—your insurance plan until you’re 26 years old. And it also says that you’re going to have to get rebates if insurance companies are spending more on administrative costs and profits than they are on actual care.’ 

- President Barack Obama, 4 October 2012

Just words–just speeches!

“Now, let’s start with the fact that even before the Affordable Care Act fully takes effect, about 85 percent of Americans already have health insurance -– either through their job, or through Medicare, or through the individual market. So if you’re one of these folks, it’s reasonable that you might worry whether health care reform is going to create changes that are a problem for you — especially when you’re bombarded with all sorts of fear-mongering. So the first thing you need to know is this: If you already have health care, you don’t have to do anything.” 

- President Barack Obama, 25 September 2013

Just pathetic words - pathetic speeches - just pathetic lies!



15 million = 5,000 9/11s


http://tinyurl.com/lks7foh

Spontaneous Protests Caused By YouTube Videos Causing More Damage



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Obama's approval rating falls to 39% in Gallup.  Obama was overheard saying:


'This is just a spontaneous protest caused by 36 YouTube videos.'









The Traffic Stop/Anal Cavity Searches From Hell



http://www.psiopradio.com/wp-content/uploads/My-First-Cavity-Search-TSA-300x300.jpg

I do not recognise my country.



By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4  

This 4 On Your Side investigation looks into the actions of police officers and doctors in Southern New Mexico.

A review of medical records, police reports and a federal lawsuit show deputies with the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office, police officers with the City of Deming and medical professionals at the Gila Regional Medical Center made some questionable decisions.

The incident began January 2, 2013 after David Eckert finished shopping at the Wal-Mart in Deming.  According to a federal lawsuit, Eckert didn't make a complete stop at a stop sign coming out of the parking lot and was immediately stopped by law enforcement.

Eckert's attorney, Shannon Kennedy, said in an interview with KOB that after law enforcement asked him to step out of the vehicle, he appeared to be clenching his buttocks.  Law enforcement thought that was probable cause to suspect that Eckert was hiding narcotics in his anal cavity.  While officers detained Eckert, they secured a search warrant from a judge that allowed for an anal cavity search.

The lawsuit claims that Deming Police tried taking Eckert to an emergency room in Deming, but a doctor there refused to perform the anal cavity search citing it was "unethical."

But physicians at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City agreed to perform the procedure and a few hours later, Eckert was admitted. 

What Happened 

While there, Eckert was subjected to repeated and humiliating forced medical procedures.  A review of Eckert's medical records, which he released to KOB, and details in the lawsuit show the following happened:

1. Eckert's abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.

2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

4. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema.  Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers.  Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool.  No narcotics were found.

5. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a second time.  Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers.  Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool.  No narcotics were found.

6. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a third time.  Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers.  Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool.  No narcotics were found.

7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.

8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert's anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines.  No narcotics were found.

Throughout this ordeal, Eckert protested and never gave doctors at the Gila Regional Medical Center consent to perform any of these medical procedures.

"If the officers in Hidalgo County and the City of Deming are seeking warrants for anal cavity searches based on how they're standing and the warrant allows doctors at the Gila Hospital of Horrors to go in and do enemas and colonoscopies without consent, then anyone can be seized and that's why the public needs to know about this," Kennedy said. 

Search Warrant Concerns 

There are major concerns about the way the search warrant was carried out.  Kennedy argues that the search warrant was overly broad and lacked probable cause.  But beyond that, the warrant was only valid in Luna County, where Deming is located.  The Gila Regional Medical Center is in Grant County.  That means all of the medical procedures were performed illegally and the doctors who performed the procedures did so with no legal basis and no consent from the patient.

In addition, even if the search warrant was executed in the correct New Mexico county, the warrant expired at 10 p.m.  Medical records show the prepping for the colonoscopy started at 1 a.m. the following day, three hours after the warrant expired.

"This is like something out of a science fiction film, anal probing by government officials and public employees," Kennedy said. 

No Comment 

KOB reached out to the attorneys representing the defendants in the lawsuit and all declined to comment on the situation.  The attorneys said it's their personal policy not comment on pending litigation.

4 On Your Side Investigative Reporter Chris Ramirez cornered Deming Police Chief Brandon Gigante.

"As the police chief what reassurances could you give people when they come through your town that they won't be violated or abused by your police officers?" Ramirez asked Chief Gigante.

"We follow the law in every aspect and we follow policies and protocols that we have in place," Chief Gigante replied.

"Do you think those officers in this particular case did that?" Ramirez asked.

Gigante didn't answer, instead he referred Ramirez to his attorney. 

The Lawsuit 

David Eckert is suing The City of Deming and Deming Police Officers Bobby Orosco, Robert Chavez and Officer Hernandez.

Eckert is also suing Hidalgo County Hidalgo County Deputies David Arredondo, Robert Rodriguez and Patrick Green.

Eckert is also suing Deputy District Attorney Daniel Dougherty and the Gila Regional Medical Center including Robert Wilcox, M.D and Okay Odocha, M.D. 

h/t Ace


http://tinyurl.com/mm8c7q3


Lying About Lies: Why Credibility Matters to Obama



http://obamalies.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/obama_lies.jpg


The president is trying to reinvent the history of his you-can-keep-it promise on health care.


By Ron Fournier

It might not seem possible that President Obama could do more harm to his credibility and the public's faith in government than misleading Americans about health insurance reform. But he can. The president is now misleading the public about his deception.

In a speech Monday night to his political team, Obama said:

"Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn't changed since the law passed."


No, no, no, no, no--that's not what the Obama administration said. What it said was:



"That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what." 

– President Obama, speech to the American Medical Association, June 15, 2009, during the debate over health insurance reform.
 


"And if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you.  It hasn't happened yet.  It won't happen in the future." 

– Obama, remarks in Portland, Ore., April 1, 2010, after the bill was signed into law.



 These quotes are courtesy of Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler, who gave Obama four Pinocchios for the you-can-keep-it whopper, repeated countless times by Obama. "The president's statements were sweeping and unequivocal—and made both before and after the bill became law," Kessler wrote. "The White House now cites technicalities to avoid admitting that he went too far in his repeated pledge, which, after all, is one of the most famous statements of his presidency."


What Obama told supporters Monday is what he should have told the public all along. "So we wrote into the Affordable Care Act, you're grandfathered in on that plan. But if the insurance company changes it, then what we're saying is they've got to change it to a higher standard. They've got to make it better, they've got to improve the quality of the plan they are selling," Obama said at an Organizing for Action event. "That's part of the promise that we made too. That's why we went out of our way to make sure that the law allowed for grandfathering."


"If we had allowed these old plans to be downgraded, or sold to new enrollees once the law had already passed, then we would have broken an even more important promise--making sure Americans gain access to health care that doesn't leave them one illness away from financial ruin," Obama said Monday. "The bottom line is that we are making the insurance market better for everybody and that's the right thing to do."


Watch the video of Obama reinventing history with the "what-we-said-was" construction. Notice how he is looking at notes. Remarkably, this was not an off-the-cuff remark; it was written, reviewed, and approved by senior White House officials, then recited by the president. An orchestrated deceit.


Why didn't Obama add their caveats during his reelection campaign? His aides debated it. Some argued that the president had to shoot straight with the public. Others feared that the public wouldn't understand the nuance and GOP rival Mitt Romney would use it to his advantage.


The cynics won. The truth was buried. And the man who promised to run the most transparent administration in history participated in a lie.


On history's scale of deception, this one leaves a light footprint. Worse lies have been told by worse presidents, leading to more severe consequences, and you could argue that withholding a caveat is more a sin of omission. But this president is toying with a fragile commodity: his credibility. Once Americans stop believing in Obama, they will stop listening to him. They won't trust government to manage health care. And they will wonder what happened to the reform-minded leader who promised never to lie to them.