Archive for the ‘Health Care Overhaul’ Category

Suspect in Attack on AZ Congresswoman Acted Alone   Leave a comment

Well, I wasn’t sure where to start today, but this event is definitely a glaring place to start!

Suspect in attack on Congresswoman acted alone.

Okay, first of all, I hope this poor woman comes out of this okay! What a tragedy! No reason one can give can condone this kind of act, I don’t care who the target is. And to have innocent people get caught in the crossfire only makes it worse. It is amazing, though, that she has so far survived her attack. Being shot in the head is obviously no minor matter.

However, what is scary about this attack isn’t so much that a single person lost it and shot a congresswoman and random people in a crowd–that doesn’t happen often enough to concern me really–but it’s all the ramifications that are going to come out of this. Already I see it coming through the liberal media, all the contemplating of what could have driven this man to kill those people and to target a congressperson! Interestingly I did not find a single mention of her political leanings, which was democrat, so I am not sure yet if that was done on purpose on not. I need to read more about this.

Suspect in attack on congresswoman acted alone

AP/Chris Carlson
Well-wishers gather outside the offices of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., during a candlelight vigil for Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011.

Emergency personnel attend to a shooting victim  outside a shopping center in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 where U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffor 

AP – Emergency personnel attend to a shooting victim outside a shopping center in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday, …
By PAULINE ARRILLAGA and AMANDA LEE MYERS, Associated Press Pauline Arrillaga And Amanda Lee Myers, Associated Press 58 mins ago

TUCSON, Ariz. – Federal prosecutors brought charges Sunday against the gunman accused of attempting to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing six people at a political event in Arizona.

Investigators said they carried out a search warrant at Jared Loughner’s home and seized an envelope from a safe with messages such as “I planned ahead,” “My assassination” and the name “Giffords” next to what appears to be the man’s signature. He allegedly purchased the Glock pistol used in the attack in November at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Tucson.

Court documents also show that Loughner had contact with Giffords in the past. Other evidence included a letter addressed to him from Giffords’ congressional stationery in which she thanked him for attending a “Congress on your Corner” event at a mall in Tucson in 2007.

Heather Williams, the first assistant federal public defender in Arizona, says the 22-year-old suspect doesn’t yet have a lawyer, but that her office is working to get one appointed. Williams’ office is asking for an outside attorney because one of those killed was U.S. District Judge John M. Roll.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Sunday that Loughner acted alone.


AFP/Getty Images/John Moore

Meanwhile, authorities released 911 calls in which a person witnessing the mass shooting outside a grocery store in Tucson describes a frantic scene and says, “I do believe Gabby Giffords was hit.”

Loughner fired at Giffords’ district director and shot indiscriminately at staffers and others standing in line to talk to the congresswoman, said Mark Kimble, a communications staffer for Giffords.

“He was not more than three or four feet from the congresswoman and the district director,” Kimble said, describing the scene as “just complete chaos, people screaming, crying.”

Map

Loughner is accused of killing six people, including an aide to Giffords and a 9-year-old girl who was born on Sept. 11, 2001. Fourteen others were wounded. Authorities don’t know Loughner’s motive, but said he targeted Giffords at a public gathering around 10 a.m. Saturday.

Doctors treating the lawmaker provided an optimistic update about her chances for survival, saying they are “very, very encouraged” by her ability to respond to simple commands along with their success in controlling her bleeding.

Mourners crammed into the tiny sanctuary of Giffords’ synagogue in Tucson to pray that she quickly recovered. Outside the hospital, candles flickered at a makeshift memorial. Signs read “Peace + love are stronger,” “God bless America and “We love you, Gabrielle.” People also laid down bouquets of flowers, American flags and pictures of Giffords.

One of the victims was Christina Taylor Green, who was a member of the student council at her local school and went to the event because of her interest in government. She is the granddaughter of former Philadelphia Phillies manager Dallas Green.

She was born on 9/11 and featured in a book called “Faces of Hope” that chronicled one baby from each state born on the day terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people.

Aw, poor kid! Ironic that she should have been born on 9/11. Hopefully this act won’t be associated with 9/11 now like on a subliminal level…

The fact that Christina’s life ended in tragedy was especially tragic to those who knew her. “Tragedy seems to have happened again,” said the author of the book, Christine Naman. “In the form of this awful event.”

Authorities said the dead included Roll; Green; Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman, 30; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Schneck, 79. Judge Roll had just stopped by to see his friend Giffords after attending Mass.

An unidentified man who authorities earlier said might have acted as an accomplice was cleared Sunday of any involvement. Pima County sheriff’s deputy Jason Ogan told The Associated Press on Sunday that the man was a cab driver who drove the gunman to the grocery store outside of which the shooting occurred.

In one of several YouTube videos, which featured text against a dark background, Loughner described inventing a new U.S. currency and complained about the illiteracy rate among people living in Giffords’ congressional district in Arizona.

“I know who’s listening: Government Officials, and the People,” Loughner wrote. “Nearly all the people, who don’t know this accurate information of a new currency, aren’t aware of mind control and brainwash methods. If I have my civil rights, then this message wouldn’t have happen (sic).”

In Loughner’s middle-class neighborhood — about a five-minute drive from the scene — sheriff’s deputies had much of the street blocked off. The neighborhood sits just off a bustling Tucson street and is lined with desert landscaping and palm trees.

Neighbors said Loughner lived with his parents and kept to himself. He was often seen walking his dog, almost always wearing a hooded sweat shirt and listening to his iPod.

Why is the fact that he wore hooded sweatshirts and listened to iPod important? Just curious…I mean, considering that Homeland Security is making a big push to put telescreens in like Wal-Mart and whatnot telling people to report suspicious behavior, is this going to be it now? I am not sure why that stood out to me but I just thought I should comment on it.

The assassination attempt left Americans questioning whether divisive politics had pushed the suspect over the edge.

Really? Or is that what government wants us to start thinking about. That was not what I thought of when I first heard about this taking place. Interesting that it occurred in Arizona where we have already seen intense political debate taking place–mainly about illegal immigration–and I am shocked that this did not happen in the name of that charged issue, but I tell you, that is not what I thought of at all. I’m not so much into conspiracy theories, but that statement of assumption does not sit right with me.

Giffords faced frequent backlash from the right over her support of the health care reform last year, and had her office vandalized the day the House approved the landmark measure.

Dupnik lashed out at what he called an excessively “vitriolic” atmosphere in the months leading up to the rampage as he described the chaos of the day.

The sheriff said the rampage ended only after two people tackled the gunman. A third person intervened and tried to pull a clip away from Loughner as he attempted to reload, the sheriff said.

“He was definitely on a mission,” according to event volunteer Alex Villec, former Giffords intern.

___

Associated Press Writers Jacques Billeaud, Raquel Maria Dillon and Terry Tang contributed to this report.

British Government Plans to Bribe Patients Into Health   Leave a comment

Wow.  This is really powerful.  And you KNOW my cynical mind has brought this positive sounding article down to a negative.

Consider: It sounds too happy.  Too fluffy.  Too positive.  There has GOT to be more to this than meets the eye.  It sounds too good to be true, or to be as real as it’s sounding!  Monitoring these people every week?  Really?  It sounds like these people are criminal drug addicts on parole being tested to make sure that they’re clean.  And I fail to see how this is going to have long term benefits considering the first woman they highlighted has been smoking for 35 years.  Yes, she is going to be better off without smoking, but the damage is done.  There is no coming back from that.  She is still going to have major health problems that are going to cost her insurance and the socialist healthcare a lot of money. 

Of course, they are known for denying medical treatment to those in need if they deem them less than fit.  It just screams ‘Twilight Zone—don’t sign the contract until you read the fine print’!  Are they selling their future medical help for their resulting health issues from these bad habits for a bit of money now?  I sure hope not! 

It’s kind of ironic that this article came out today considering that yesterday the White House just decided to enact new rules to the Health Insurance companies to offer preventative healthcare, which includes screenings, lab tests and the like—where the insurance companies make their money—for free.  That can’t bode well for the insurance companies down the road when they aren’t making any money.  It will most likely drive them out of business and then we are stuck with government healthcare.  Isn’t that what we were promised WOULDN’T happen?

I’m not against preventative healthcare by any means, way, shape or form.  I’m all for it.  But making it a law?  THAT has gone over the line!

Anyway, here’s the article.  The new rules I will put up in another post:

Special Report: In austere times, can bribery be healthy?

By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent Kate Kelland, Health And Science Correspondent – Thu Jul 15, 9:26 am ET

DUNDEE, Scotland (Reuters) – Moira Christie has to ring the doorbell when she goes to visit friends these days. That’s a new thing for her. Until a few months ago, everyone knew she was coming because they could hear her hacking smoker’s cough from far down the street.

“My cough was my calling card,” the tiny 54-year-old Scot says with a laugh. “But not any more. I’m not coughing now. My friends and relatives can’t believe it. They say ‘You’ve never given up! You? Never!’ — but I have, I’ve done it, and I feel so much healthier already.”

Christie is not only quieter and healthier, she’s a little richer too. That’s because the local health authority paid her to quit. The scheme is one of a clutch of experiments cropping up across Europe, the United States and parts of Latin America which use financial incentives — cash payments, gift cards, shopping vouchers and the like — to encourage or cajole people to drop their bad habits and live more healthily. “The underlying rationale of incentives is that healthier people are less costly to the system than sick ones,” says Harald Schmidt at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The experiments have grown out of studies in the relatively new discipline of behavioral economics, which examines how emotional factors affect economic choices. Some public health experts are yet to be convinced that bribing people can work. But as healthcare costs keep rising in such heavyweight nations as the United States and heavy-smoking locations as Dundee, and as governments move to cut huge budget deficits, hundreds of local authorities, employers and health insurers — even the occasional former investment banker — are dabbling with health incentive schemes.

PAY NOW, SAVE LATER

The idea is simple: pay people to act now and governments will reap the rewards later in lower healthcare costs. Statistically speaking, people who shun harmful habits are more productive and have less need for expensive hospitals, doctors and medicines. By changing “habitual health-related behaviours,” says Theresa Marteau, director of the Center for the Study of Incentives in Health and a psychology professor at King’s College London, those behind the schemes aim to make more people healthier for longer. Specifically, “they’re trying to tackle the big four that are responsible for most of the world’s premature deaths and illnesses — excessive eating, smoking, drinking and lack of exercise,” says Marteau.

Many in Dundee are at risk from all four. Moira Christie had smoked for around 35 years by the time she joined her incentive programme, which is called Quit 4 U. The scheme is backed by Britain’s National Health Service and was born out of a similar project, Give It Up For Baby, which aims to reduce shockingly high rates of smoking among mums-to-be in Dundee. In some of the poorest areas of the city up to 40 percent of pregnant women and half of all adults smoke, while rates of obesity and alcohol-related illness are among the highest in Europe.

“What we have here is a cocktail of influences on our most deprived communities who have the worst health — a cocktail which ensures that trying to change their behavior through simplistic messages is just not going to work,” says Andrew Radley, a public health expert who along with colleague Paul Ballard has championed Quit 4 U and is now overseeing its expansion into other areas. “You therefore have to work with them to come up with motivators that are actually part of their way of thinking.”

Participants get 12.50 pounds ($19) on a grocery store card every week they stay off tobacco, building to a potential total of 150 pounds after three months. For mums-to-be who stay off cigarettes, the payments continue until the baby is three months old. Anyone who gets that far would take home 650 pounds. Participants in both schemes commit to regular carbon monoxide breath tests to prove they’re not cheating.

The lure of extra cash has so far proved enough to get even some of the most die-hard tobacco addicts to quit. Margaret Robertson, a former 40-a-day smoker who attends the weekly breath test and support group sessions alongside Christie, is proud of the little nest egg she’s nurturing. “I’m letting it build up until Christmas. That’s when it’ll really help,” says Robertson, 61, who started smoking when she was 11 years old and has just completed her sixth smoke-free week in 50 years.

“MEGA UNHEALTHY”

When Dundee’s first pilot project started in 2007, critics condemned the idea of incentives as little more than state bribery. So far, though, the results have been impressive: 12-week quit rates are more than double those achieved in any previous years.

By the end of the first year, 55 mothers in the city of Dundee, which has a population of 140,000, had quit smoking using the incentive scheme, and 140 had quit across the coastal Tayside region of eastern Scotland. The year before, just six pregnant women had made contact with Tayside’s stop smoking services — and none of them stayed in touch beyond four weeks.

Even these pilots can be cost-effective, argue Ballard and Radley. They put the overall cost per quitter at 1,700 pounds, which might sound a lot until you consider that smoking costs Britain’s taxpayer-funded health system some 5 billion pounds a year according to a 2009 study by Oxford University researchers. Globally, the World Lung Foundation estimates the annual cost of smoking is $500 billion in medical expenses, lost productivity and environmental harm.

“The whole methodology of this incentive scheme is defined by community-based research. It is driven by what is of most value to the target audience,” says Ballard. If you get it right, it can be “an approach that can really deliver results.”

There is no doubt Scotland can do with the help. It is known, after all, as the land whose citizens don’t just eat Mars Bars and pizza in perilously large amounts, but deep-fry them first. A study published last month found that almost the entire adult population of Scotland — 97.5 percent — have habits that are deemed “dangerous to health” including smoking, heavy drinking, taking no exercise, being overweight and eating a poor diet.

Ballard calls Dundee an “incredibly unhealthy” city in a “mega unhealthy” nation. In truth, the rest of the developed world is not much better. Obesity, smoking, alcohol and lack of exercise are causing more protracted and expensive diseases, and killing more residents of the rich world earlier, than anything else. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that by 2015, around 2.3 billion adults worldwide will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese.

In Europe, the WHO reckons obesity alone is already responsible for up to 8 percent of all health costs and between 10 and 13 percent of deaths. Experts predict that in Britain almost nine out of 10 adults and two thirds of children will be overweight or obese by 2050. By then the medical bill and loss of productivity could top 50 billion pounds a year.

Little wonder that drug companies are spending billions of dollars searching for treatments and cures for cancers, diabetes and heart disease. But why develop drugs when the best thing we could do to improve our health is quit smoking, stop eating so much fat, salt and sugar, exercise more and cut back on alcohol? And if getting more people to do that is difficult, which of course it is, then why not pay them?

“INCENTIVES CULTURE”

Former investment banker Winton Rossiter is convinced paying people to get healthier is the next big thing. Rossiter, a 55-year-old American-born businessman who’s lived in England for 20 years, has become one of the pioneers of British incentive schemes. Three years ago he founded a company called WeightWins which now promotes a scheme called “pounds for pounds”.

“We earn incentives from shopping in certain places, flying certain airlines — so why not get financially rewarded for doing something that’s positive?” he says. “We’re in an incentives culture where people need a reason to even think about getting healthy.”

Rossiter’s firm has been running a pilot scheme in Kent, southern England, where the taxpayer-funded local health authority asked him to help cut a 24 percent adult obesity rate. The programme works by adding up how much weight each participant has lost and how long it remains off. A sliding scale of payments is applied; those who lose the most and keep it off earn the most money.

Rossiter says his programme is already working. By last month, of the 402 people who started a “pounds for pounds” plan in the Kent scheme, 321, or 80 percent, had lost weight, while just 20 percent either stayed the same or gained weight. Less encouragingly, more than three-quarters of participants had dropped out by 12 months, meaning their progress, or lack of it, could not be counted in the final results.

Rossiter makes his money through a joining fee, which starts at 45 pounds sterling and goes up to 135 pounds, plus a monthly subscription fee of between 10 and 30 pounds. Participants can earn rewards of up to 3,000 pounds. To get that, they’d have to lose 150 pounds of weight over 21 months and keep it all off for at least three months.

“You get paid to lose weight — two things people definitely want to do,” he says.

In the Kent scheme, taxpayers footed the subscription bills via the local health authority. But Rossiter says the cost to local governments could be returned many times over. He’s broken down British government data that estimated the annual cost of obesity at between 3.3 billion pounds sterling and 3.7 billion pounds. For every pound of obesity weight that is removed permanently, he says, the government saves 170 pounds in medical expenses and 1,200 pounds in lifetime economic costs. Kent paid Weight Wins around 12 pounds for every pound of fat lost.

WAITING FOR THE CALL

Public health scientists are less enthusiastic. “I think they can be useful in some instances, but it depends very much on how they’re implemented,” says Harvard’s Schmidt. Both King’s College’s Marteau and Tammy Boyce, an expert at the King’s Fund healthcare think-tank in London, say the Kent pilot was “not a proper trial” because it lacked the proper scientific procedures needed to evaluate the outcomes.

Marteau’s sense is that the best evidence to support the use of incentives schemes can be found not in large, cross-societal groups, but in specific niches of unhealthy behavior where all the usual health messages have failed. Here, it seems, an immediate and relatively large reward may be enough to change a pattern. “The two places where incentives really have been found to be effective are in drug addict abstinence programmes, and in smoking cessation in pregnancy,” she says. “And when you think about it, these are outliers” — extreme, addictive behaviours generally shown by people on the margins.

Former banker Rossiter is undeterred. Frustrated by what he sees as dithering among public health officials, he is planning to take “pounds for pounds” direct to the public via the internet, where anyone can pay a joining fee and sign up to win cash rewards for slimming down.

“If obesity really is the public health crisis and the ticking timebomb that we keep hearing about, then we need to throw out some of our scepticism and prejudices and really push this thing forward,” he says.

So sure is Rossiter that his scheme will work, he’s ready to guarantee “long-term results” for any government in Europe prepared to back the scheme. “If Scotland wanted to put a million overweight people into my programme, I would guarantee long-term behavior change and weight loss or they would get their money back. But I’m still waiting for the call.”

Perhaps he should meet Gianluca Buonanno, the flamboyant mayor of the small north-western Italian town of Varallo, and another big enthusiast of using health incentive schemes to make whole nations healthier.

A few years ago, Buonanno set up a plan which promised to pay oversized residents 50 euros ($70) for losing 3 to 4 kilograms in a month, a further 200 euros if they kept the weight off for 5 months, and yet more if they managed to keep their weight down for a year. The scheme, he says, was a great success, particularly for one 42-year-old woman who said she had become so fat that her husband “would not even look at her any more”.

“Sixty percent of participants reached their objectives,” Buonanno told Reuters. He’s now lobbying in Italy’s parliament for the plan to be scaled up across the nation. The results, “can’t be measured only in prizes. If a person feels better, consumes less medicine, then the nation’s entire health system gains.”

“TRENDY IDEA”

The notion of health incentives has been popularised in the past few years by books like ‘Nudge’ and ‘Freakonomics’, which describe how such concepts as “behavioural economics” and “choice architecture” can be used to engineer people toward healthier habits. It’s no coincidence that as the Obama administration started to show an interest in behavioural economics, one of the authors of Nudge, Cass Sunstein, joined the White House staff.

Wow.  THAT was a FREAKY paragraph!  “Engineer people towards healthier habits”? 

To me, that’s very ‘Brave New World’-esque.  What else are we going to ‘engineer people towards’?  I shudder to think…

“Incentives are definitely becoming a very trendy method,” says public health specialist Boyce, who has watched with dismay as governments have become excited by the idea of old-fashioned bribery. The idea, she says, allows politicians to cozy up to the powerful food and drinks industry lobby and duck out of writing tough legislation for better health. It satisfies many governments’ desires to be libertarian and business-friendly and avoid slapping taxes on high-fat or high-sugar junk foods.

WHAT?  So . . . those in congress should not be responsible people, but the ‘subjects’ must submit to the tests?

I’m sorry but I am MAJORLY creeped out right now just from that ‘engineering’ statement!!!!  Seriously, I got chills and this doesn’t make me feel better!

Britain’s health minister, Andrew Lansley, said last week that the country’s new coalition government does not believe in “lecturing or nannying” people to change their behavior, preferring a “non-regulatory approach”. It has not indicated whether incentives may be a part of that.

Mike Kelly, director of public health at Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which advises government on cost-effective health policies, says incentive schemes are popping up all over the place. So far, though, there isn’t much in the way of hard scientific evidence about incentivising people for health. “If these things are going to go forward it ought to be on a proper evidence-based set of principles. And we desperately need to know whether it is a cost-effective option.”

The London-based Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Center (EPPI-Center) published a review last year that found there were studies underway on around 130 incentives schemes globally. More than half were in the United States, with Britain, Germany and Mexico among active countries. It found around half the schemes were aimed at getting people to stop smoking, with healthy eating next and obesity targeted by a minority.

HEALTH INSURERS SEE POTENTIAL

In the United States, where healthcare is largely handled through private insurance companies, major employers such as Safeway and General Electric are also getting into incentives in a big way. In recent years they have begun paying bonuses or offering health insurance discounts to employees who give up bad habits or keep their weight and cholesterol levels in check. That, in turn, has spawned a clutch of new companies such as VirginHealthMiles and RedBrick Health, who sell “pay for prevention schemes” to big corporations.

In Germany, Barmer Ersatzkasse, a large sickness fund which insures around 6.8 million people, offers incentives to members who take part in any or all of 17 named healthy activities — from turning up for immunisations to giving up smoking or going regularly to the gym. Members get a bonus card on which points are credited; anyone earning 500 or more points over two years can redeem them against such “healthy” prizes as cycle helmets or sports watches. Families can pool their points and trade them in for a bigger reward such as a Nintendo Wiifit console (1500 points) or even swap them for hard cash rewards of up to 30 euros a year per person.

The fund also offers schemes giving discounts on premiums to people who don’t use health services that much — a bit like a “no claims” bonus on a house or car insurance policy.

CARROT AND STICKS

The German plan highlights one of the potential disadvantages in such schemes: they may prove self-selecting. Harvard’s Schmidt, who has studied health incentives in the United States and Germany, says incentives may not only improve insurance plan members’ health — so their costs go down — but may also attract more healthy people in the first place. That risks leaving those in the poorest health, who are often also society’s poorest financially, facing higher costs for the healthcare they urgently need.

That’s just one of a broader set of problems that Schmidt sees as inherent in the incentives idea. Why should fat people get paid to do what thin people are doing already? Why should smokers who quit now get a bonus when those who quit last year didn’t? If regular gym-goers were already quite happy to pay for it, why should taxpayers’ money be used to subsidise others just in the hope a few more may be nudged in the same direction? Won’t some people become adept at gaming the system?

Schmidt breaks those affected by incentive schemes into groups:

* the “lucky ones” — those who already go to the gym regularly and will now get extra cash or prizes for doing so;

* the “yes I can” group, who find the incentive gives them exactly the nudge they needed;

* the “I’ll do it tomorrow” group who never quite get around to it and feel punished by not being able to get the reward;

* the “unlucky ones” who have no hope of getting to a gym because of their work or family life or disability;

* and the “leave me alone” group which is self-explanatory.

For all but one or two of these groups, incentives would likely fail, Schmidt says, so using taxpayers’ money to fund them doesn’t look like much of a deal. “I don’t have a problem with incentives if they work. But…” His voice trails off and he gives a shrug of the shoulders.

FOOLS RUSH IN?

What evidence there is from scientific assessments is not that encouraging either. Marteau cites a so-called Cochrane review — a systematic analysis of previous peer-reviewed studies — conducted in 2008 on using incentives to help people stop smoking. It found that none of the 17 trials it analysed had higher quit rates at six months when incentives were used.

On obesity, the findings are similar. A 2008 systematic review looking at eight weight-loss trials which were followed up for at least a year found that incentives had no positive effect on weight loss or weight maintenance at 12 or 18 months.

The King’s Fund’s Boyce worries that governments are starting up incentives plans before any proper scientific analysis has been done. “You wouldn’t do this with a drug,” she says, pointing out that many years, even decades, of trials and tests are conducted on medicines before they are distributed to the general public. “But for some reason we allow ourselves to get caught up in the moment and attach ourselves to ideas like this that don’t really have a big evidence base.”

BABY THOUGHTS

But such scepticism doesn’t cut it with Rebecca Garside, who is 28 and just a few weeks off giving birth to her first baby. As part of Dundee’s scheme to stop pregnant mums smoking, she’s at her local pharmacy blowing into a carbon monoxide monitor to prove that despite 11 years as a smoker, she has finally given up.

As the blinking green light officially confirms her as a non-smoker, she strokes her swollen belly. Health statistics suggest her baby will now be a healthier weight and less likely to need intensive care after birth, and that both Garside and her child will be less likely to develop a range of costly chronic diseases like asthma, heart disease and cancer.

But Garside is thinking of the more immediate future. She is saving the “quit” credits on her supermarket gift card, she says, for “all those things I know I’ll have to buy when the baby comes along.”

“Buggies, nappies, and even my weekly food shopping. It’ll definitely be a help.”

(Additional reporting by Philip Pullella in Rome, editing by Simon Robinson and Sara Ledwith)

That sounds so lovely—but the nay-sayers are right.  It probably won’t help and there will DEFINITELY be people playing the system! 

This does not give me a warm, fuzzy feeling and this isn’t happening in America.  Yet.

Majority of Americans Lack Faith in Obama: Poll   Leave a comment

This made me happy today!  Of course, still–NO ONE ASKED ME MY HUMBLE OPINION! 😉

Finally I don’t feel like such an outcast but it’s about time that this stuff got out to the world!

Granted, I didn’t have faith in him from the start.  It doesn’t give me much hope when I realize that Clinton had about the same poll numbers at this point in his first term but was re-elected anyway.  I hope that that’s not the case.  This is a little bit more serious than the Clinton years.  And still,  I wish they would have interviewed more people.  Just over a thousand isn’t good enough.  But still, considering these polls are pretty overly-liberal I say that this is a good sign that our country is heading in the right direction. (>crosses fingers<)

Anyway, just thought I’d share:

Majority of Americans lack faith in Obama: poll

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nearly 60 percent of American voters say they lack faith in President Barack Obama, according to a public opinion poll published on Tuesday.

The results of the Washington Post/ABC News poll are a reversal of what voters said at the start of Obama’s presidency 18 months ago when about 60 percent expressed confidence in his decision making.

Confidence in Obama is at a new low but the poll found that his numbers are still higher than lawmakers of either major party four months ahead of the November congressional elections.

Asked how much confidence they have in Obama to make the right decisions for the country’s future, 58 percent of respondents said “just some” or “none.”

Sixty-eight percent expressed the same sentiments about Democrats in Congress and 72 percent said the same of Republicans.

The Post said problems in the housing industry, sluggish job growth and other economic issues may have taken a toll on Obama’s approval rating.

Just 43 percent of all Americans, including a third of Democrats, now say they approve of the job Obama is doing on the economy, while 54 percent disapprove.

The survey also found wide anti-incumbent sentiment with 62 percent of voters saying they were not inclined to support their current representative.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs in the November 2 election as well as 36 of the 100 Senate seats.

Democrats now control both houses of Congress, but a slight majority of those polled said they would prefer to have Republicans in control to serve as a check on Obama’s policies.

The poll of 1,288 people was conducted July 7-11 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

(Reporting by JoAnne Allen; editing by Eric Beech)

Refusal of Basic Care–aka Passive Euthanasia–Causes Death at SF Hospital   Leave a comment

Wow, has it already begun on a smaller level?  I assume this man was on Medicare of some sort, being that he lived alone and because of his advanced age, but it doesn’t say in the article or the video specifically.   

It’s disgusting.  Absolutely disgusting.  Is this what we are going to have to look forward to in the Obamacare future?  This was fairly recent and after the Obamacare bill was passed.  What is frightening is that this takes place in San Fransisco–in CALIFORNIA where euthanasia and physician assisted suicide are still illegal.  What the hospital called ‘comfort care’ is a euphemism used in the states of Washington and Oregon to where euthanasia and physician assisted suicide are legalized and the term ‘comfort care’ MEANS euthanasia or assisted suicide. 

The fact that the nurse stated that she ‘can’t’ help this man who was suffering after having his water and food taken from him is very telling.  Why couldn’t she help?  Who told her she couldn’t help?  If she was not directed from a higher authority to let this man die, then as a nurse, why didn’t she assist him when it was apparent that he was getting better.  Why this man?  And what makes this even more upsetting is that the hospital states that the laws (I assume HIPPA) prevent them from discussing this issue or even admitting that this man was a patient at their hospital.   

I wonder if this is something we should be expecting in the Obamacare future?  This form of passive euthanasia is disgusting.  Obama is so busy trying to defend illegal immigrants by suing Arizona, and yet he allows this injustice to happen without a single word mentioned.  In fact, this is the first time I’ve heard of it and this occurred in June.    

I hope this family sues that hospital and that this is brought out into the open because this is wrong on so many levels I can’t even BEGIN to know where to start!

Anyway, check it out for yourself.  There is a very good video imbedded in the article via the link. 

Family alleges failure of care at SF hospital   

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — A family from Boston says their loved one died at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco after staff broke their own code of ethics and refused to provide basic care.The members of the Murray family were home in Boston on Thursday, May 6 when an urgent call came from St. Mary’s in San Francisco — their Uncle Don had suffered a stroke. On their visit to the city just last month, the 90-year-old had seemed alive and active.”He was very inquisitive, always wanting to learn new things,” Don’s nephew Don Murray said.     

“Sharp as a tack, interested in everything, he kept his brain going,” his grand-niece Tegan Murray said.   

“We dropped everything and took a plane that night,” his niece-in-law Jean Murray said.One of Don Holley’s old neighbors in the Richmond District was acting as his durable power of attorney. A doctor told her the prognosis was not good and she agreed that Don should receive what is called “comfort care,” meant for patients near death. They placed him on a morphine drip and cut off all nutrition and hydration. Without water, the doctor said Don would be dead in two days.But, there was something wrong. When the Murrays arrived that Friday, Don appeared to be improving.”It looked as if he hadn’t had a stroke; we’d been told his mouth would be sagging a little bit to the left, but it didn’t look that way,” Jean Murray said.”And he said, ‘Hi,’ like that, he was obviously very thrilled to know that we were there,” Don Murray said.”I could tell in his voice he knew we were there and it really meant something to him that we were there, and I said, ‘Squeeze my hand,’ he squeezed my hand, I said, ‘Squeeze it harder,’ and he lifted his hand in the air squeezing my hand,” Tegan Murray said.The Murrays scrambled to tell anyone who would listen — why take Don’s life by cutting off his water when it looked like he was recovering from the stroke?The answer — the family would have to take their case to the hospital ethics committee.”And we were told that couldn’t happen until Monday, and I said, ‘I don’t think he has until Monday.’ We had no other recourse,” Don’s grand-niece Tara Murray said.The Murrays were left with the impossibly painful role of watching Don slowly die — not from the stroke or any disease or injury — but from water being withheld.Anita Silvers chairs the philosophy department at San Francisco State University. She is also on the ethics committee at San Francisco General Hospital. She questions taking such extreme measures with a patient who had suffered a stroke just four days before.”Lots of people have strokes and lots of people have very, very serious strokes and recover; he might not have recovered fully, but the standard is not that you have to recover fully,” she said.Silvers also points out that St. Mary’s is a Catholic hospital, supposedly governed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and their “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services.” Directive 58 states, “There is an obligation to provide patients with food and water…This obligation extends to patients in chronic and presumably irreversible conditions (for example, the persistent vegetative state).”Don Holley was not that bad off.”Catholic hospitals have an obligation to provide hydration and nutrition because it’s not a treatment, it’s an obligation that we all have to each other, to support life and each other,” Silvers said.That Friday evening, without water, but with oxygen being administered, Don developed a severe nose bleed.”There was blood dripping down his face and blood pooling in the back of his throat,” Tegan Murray said.The nurses began to use suction to clear his throat so he could breathe.”Proper suctioning would make him be able to fall asleep calmly or to communicate or to be comfortable,” Tara Murray said.That routine continued for the next day. The Murrays say Don’s vital signs remained strong, until 4 p.m. Saturday, when a shift change brought a new nurse.”She came in and didn’t seem to want to suction him,” Tegan Murray said.The Murrays watched the new nurse fail to clear Don’s throat of blood.”And she pulled back and I said, ‘Why aren’t you doing something?’ And she said, ‘I can’t,'” Jean Murray said.The nurse would not let Don’s great-niece suction him. Tegan Murray had experience back home with an aunt and the nurse on the previous shift had allowed her to work on Don.But, the nurse on duty tucked the suction equipment in a drawer, turned off the machine and left the room.As the minutes ticked by, Don showed more and more stress.”And I did raise my voice, I started saying, ‘Do something, he’s dying, this is unethical, what are we supposed to do, call 911 in a hospital,'” Tara Murray said.The family yelled and pleaded. Finally, the nurse returned and handed the suction device to Tegan Murray. It was too late.”I was crying and suctioning at the same time, and he was lifeless,” Tegan Murray said. “They still seemed unconcerned. It didn’t faze them.”The nurse in question has 17 years of experience and no record of discipline with the state. When the I-Team reached her by phone, she said, “[She was] very deeply sorry. I did what I could. I did my best as a nurse.””The four of us were there pleading for help, he was desperately looking at us and at the nurse for help, she held the equipment that would have saved him in her hands, the equipment was hooked up, it was working and she didn’t do it,” Tegan Murray said.  The Murrays have filed a complaint with the state Department of Public Health.St. Mary’s president and CEO Anna Cheung refused to be interviewed, even though the family was willing to sign a release permitting the hospital to discuss the case. Cheung’s public relations staff issued a statement saying, “Privacy laws prohibit us from confirming or denying if the person in question was a patient at St. Mary’s Medical Center.” They would not address the decision to withhold water from Don Holley or the way he died.”Yeah, I’m angry, I’m upset my uncle died that way, his last moments of his life, he was tortured,” Don Murray said.”It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-day-old baby or an elderly person, or dying or living, I think everybody should be treated with respect and get the basic care that should be provided for them and not to die a suffering death if it’s not necessary, and it certainly wasn’t necessary here,” Tara Murray said.  Legal experts tell the I-Team the hospital is supposed to follow the directions of the person acting as power of attorney unless there is evidence the patient’s condition is improving. At that point, the hospital has a duty to re-evaluate the case.   

(Copyright ©2010 KGO-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)   

Euthanasia: False Light Video   Leave a comment

Hiya All!

I just wanted to share this video that I watched tonight regarding euthanasia that was put together by www.internationaltaskforce.org.  It’s in two parts, less than 20 minutes total, and it’s very powerful.  They are very powerful in that it proves that doctor’s aren’t always right.  One of my favorite quotes was when one of the people this affected stated: “What do you call a person that graduates medical school in the last of his class?  A doctor.”

Very good point.

Here are the videos:

Part 1

Part 2

Warning: Almost Half of Belgium’s Euthanasia Nurses Admit to Killing Without Consent   Leave a comment

Okay, I know this isn’t an article based on America and written for Americans, but considering the political climate we are in with the socialist movement going on and the appointment of a Donald Berwick as our new ‘rationing czar’, euthanasia and physician assisted suicide could very well be made an option, if not just a deprivation of basic care for terminal or poor individuals. 

This article speaks of nurses who have participated in euthanasia’s without consent of the patient.  It is chilling to say the least and the significance of this article is that Belgium is one of a very few places where euthanasia and physician assisted suicide is legal.  However, other countries are considering it.  Britain for one.

Hmmmmm, didn’t Donald Berwick, our new ‘rationing czar’ state that he loved Britain’s medical system? 

If Britain did pass a law stating that Euthanasia was legal in their country, would Berwick, their biggest fan, try to have one passed here as well? 

Or, do we already have one and just don’t know it yet since no one really knows what’s in the Obamacare legislation?

interesting, interesting.  It’s as interesting as it is gruesome.  I couldn’t imagine causing the death of another human being when there are so many options out there for pain management.  Euthanasia has been illegal for centuries, and considering how advanced our medical system is, why is it considered important now versus then? 

Personally, I think it comes down to numbers and bottom lines.  I hope our medical system doesn’t begin to traverse down the course of THX 1138 when the ‘overseers’ state: “The . . . account is six percent over budget. The case is to be terminated.”

Hopefully I’m just being paranoid:

Warning to Britain as almost half of Belgium’s euthanasia nurses admit to killing without consent

By Simon Caldwell
Last updated at 7:48 AM on 10th June 2010

End of life: Euthanasia is legal in Belgium but must only be carried out by a doctor and with the patient’s permission. (Posed by models)

A high proportion of deaths classed as euthanasia in Belgium involved patients who did not ask for their lives to be ended, a study found.

More than 100 nurses admitted to researchers that they had taken part in ‘terminations without request or consent’.

Although euthanasia is legal in Belgium, it is governed by strict rules which state it should be carried out only by a doctor and with the patient’s permission.

The disturbing revelation  –  which shows that nurses regularly go well beyond their legal role  –  raises fears that were assisted suicides allowed in Britain, they could never be properly regulated.

Since its legalisation eight years ago, euthanasia now accounts for 2 per cent of deaths in Belgium  –  or around 2,000 a year.

The researchers found that a fifth of nurses admitted being involved in the assisted suicide of a patient.

But nearly half of these  –  120 of 248  –  also said there was no consent.

‘The nurses in our study operated beyond the legal margins of their profession,’ said the report’s authors in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

It is likely many nurses ‘ under-reported’ their involvement for fear of admitting an illegal activity, the study said.

But it added that many were probably acting according to their patients’ wishes, ‘even if there was no explicit request’.

Last night, Dr Peter Saunders, director of the Care Not Killing campaign in Britain, said: ‘We should take a warning from this that wherever you draw the line, people will go up to it and beyond it.’

‘Once you have legalised voluntary euthanasia, involuntary euthanasia will inevitably follow,’ he added.

But pro -euthanasia group Dignity in Dying said rules that see the patient taking their own life, rather than a doctor administering the drugs, could still work.

Donald Berwick: Obama’s One Man Death Panel   Leave a comment

In the words of my 10 year old: “Holy Cheezeits!”

My postings have been rather slow today, and for that I apologize.  I have an English paper due tomorrow night and I had to lay a crackdown on myself in order to get this done.  I’m trying to write an argument against euthanasia and assisted-suicide in the medical field, being that I feel that this is a timely topic that has gained a new sense of urgency.  By far it will not be as developed as I would like–being that we have page limits and all–but you will probably be seeing a lot of posts in regards to this subject being that I have found it to be both fascinating that people would actually support government bills to make this acceptable (considering what a slippery slope that is) and I find it completely and utterly horrifying that this might be something that will be in the future for all of us with the healthcare bill and its ‘rationing czar’, David Berwick. 

One of the saddest things I read in my quest for evidence to support my argument was the story of a woman who was retired and on state care–she was diagnosed with cancer and prescribed a drug that had the potential of extending her life.  Her insurance company stated that they would not cover the life extending drug, but they would be happy to pay for a lethal ‘suicide’ prescription covered by the Oregon Euthanasia law. 

Apparently since suicide drugs are cheap, it’s the prefered option to the insurance companies that only care for their bottom line.

And let us not begin to think that the government is going to be any different.  Now that Obamacare has passed, no one is really sure what’s in it.  Even Nancy Pelosi stated that we wouldn’t know what was in the bill until it passed.  Let us also consider the socialist David Berwick that Obama snuck into office behind the backs of the Senate was quoted as stating the following:

“We can make sensible social decisions and say, ‘Well, at this point, to have access to a particular added benefit (new drugs or medical intervention) is so expensive that our taxpayers have better use of those funds.”

Also, this man praises England for their medical system:

“Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and less fortunate.  Excellent healthcare is by definition redistributed.  Britain, you chose well.”

Yes, that’s “why breast cancer in America has a 25% mortality rate while in Britain it’s almost double at 46%” and “prostate cancer is fatal to 19% of American men who get it; in Britain it kills 57% of those it strikes.”

Anyway, here’s the article.  I thought it was well written and made excellent points.  Of course, we can’t ask Mr. Berwick his views on any specific subject since Obama has secreted him in like an authoritarian dictator and refuse to allow his views on where the future of 1/3 or more of our population will be based upon.

But hey, who are we the people to judge Obama?  He has our best interests in mind, I’m sure.

Not.

The President’s One-Man Death Panel

Posted 07/08/2010 06:59 PM ET

Health Care: The president recess-appoints a fan of rationing and Britain’s National Health Service to direct one-third of American health care. Why does the administration want his views hidden from scrutiny?

‘The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.” That’s what Dr. Donald Berwick, President Obama’s nominee to head the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, told a National Institutes of Health publication a year ago, when he was just president and CEO of the Institute for Health Care Improvement.

Such views were to be fodder for a stormy confirmation hearing — except none has been scheduled.

Instead, Obama opted to make a recess appointment of Berwick to head CMS, an agency that oversees a third of all health care spending in the U.S. and that will play a major role under ObamaCare in deciding what care is available and who gets it.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rightly accused the president of trying to “arrogantly circumvent the American people” with Congress out of town for its annual Fourth of July break.

Berwick could serve through 2011 without Senate confirmation. This sleight of hand involving one-sixth of the American economy and the man who will run one-third of that is the fruit of hope and change?

It is understandable why the administration would want to keep Berwick’s views under the radar. He has praised the U.K’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which he says has “developed very good and very disciplined, scientifically grounded, policy-connected models for the evaluation of medical treatments from which we ought to learn.”

Last year, the Orwellian-named NICE unveiled plans to cut annual steroid injections for severe back pain to 3,000 from 60,000. “The consequences of the NICE decision will be devastating for thousands of patients,” Jonathan Richardson of Bradford Hospital’s Trust told London’s Daily Telegraph.

“It will mean,” said Dr. Richardson, “more people on opiates, which are addictive and kill 2,000 a year. It will mean more people having spinal surgery, which is incredibly risky and has a 50% failure rate.”

And here we thought the first rule of medicine was to do no harm.

If Berwick wants to imitate Britain’s model, perhaps he can explain why breast cancer in America has a 25% mortality rate while in Britain it’s almost double at 46%.

Prostate cancer is fatal to 19% of American men who get it; in Britain it kills 57% of those it strikes.

“Donald Berwick is a one-man death panel,” said David O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee. “While Americans may not remember the agency he heads, he will quickly become known as Obama’s rationing czar.”

Berwick has opined: “We can make a sensible social decision and say, ‘Well, at this point, to have access to a particular additional benefit (new drug or medical intervention) is so expensive that our taxpayers have better use for those funds.” Sounds like denial of care to us.

Berwick’s medical views also fit in well with Obama’s stated goal of transforming America through the redistribution of wealth.

Berwick said: “Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional. Britain, you chose well.”

The push for ObamaCare involved writing legislation behind closed doors by an imperial Democratic majority. Only through outright bribes to key senators and congressmen did it pass, voted on by politicians who didn’t even read it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.

With the recess appointment of Donald Berwick we find more secrecy and gimmicks from an administration as transparent as a concrete wall.

The American people deserve better. They also deserve a healthy democracy.