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Archive for March 2009

March 30, 2009: The Obama Day in 100 Seconds

 

As President Obama heads to Europe for a week, he leaves Congress with a full agenda including consideration of his healthcare agenda, the budget and the auto industry.  You want to  bet, they take the week off!  We can only hope that when in Europe this week he might take another look into some of the European Single Payer Health Plans and how they too can work here…  With the global economy and unemployment being at issue, the one thing the unemployed Europeans don’t have to worry about is the affordability of getting sick!

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GM CEO Rick Wagoner – Fired by President Obama!

rick

GM CEO resigns at Obama’s behest

 By MIKE ALLEN & JOSH GERSTEIN | 3/29/09 5:23 PM / Politico

The Obama administration asked Rick Wagoner, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, to step down and he agreed, a White House official said.

On Monday, President Barack Obama is to unveil his plans for the auto industry, including a response to a request for additional funds by GM and Chrysler. The plan is based on recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, headed by the Treasury Department.

The White House confirmed Wagoner was leaving at the government’s behest after The Associated Press reported his immediate departure, without giving a reason.

General Motors issued a vague statement Sunday night that did not officially confirm Wagoner’s departure.

“We are anticipating an announcement soon from the Administration regarding the restructuring of the U.S. auto industry. We continue to work closely with members of the Task Force and it would not be appropriate for us to speculate on the content of any announcement,” the company said.

The surprise announcement about the classically iconic American corporation is perhaps the most vivid sign yet of the tectonic change in the relationship between business and government in this era of subsidies and bailouts.   (read the whole story)

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Sen. Bernie Sanders introduces (NEW) single payer bill

billingSingle-payer health reform bill introduced in Senate
PNHP – Press release – March 26, 2009

 

single-payerChallenging head-on the powerful private insurance and pharmaceutical industries, Vermont’s Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a single-payer health reform bill, the American Health Security Act of 2009, in the U.S. Senate Wednesday.

The single-payer approach embodied in Sanders’ new bill stands in sharp contrast to the reform models being offered by the White House and by key lawmakers like Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). Their plans would preserve a central role for the private insurance industry, sacrificing both universal coverage and cost containment during the worst economic crisis since the Depression.

In contrast, Sanders’ new legislation would cover all of the 46 million Americans who currently lack coverage and improve benefits for all Americans by eliminating co-pays and deductibles and restoring free choice of physician. The most fiscally conservative option for reform, single payer slashes private insurance overhead and bureaucracy in medical settings, saving over $400 billion annually that can be redirected into clinical care.

Highlights of the bill include the following:

– Patients go to any doctor or hospital of their choice.
– The program is paid for by combining current sources of government health spending into a single fund with modest new taxes amounting to less than what people now pay for insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.
– Comprehensive benefits, including coverage for dental, mental health, and prescription drugs.
– While federally funded, the program is to be administered by the states.

By eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private, investor-owned insurance industry, along with the burdensome paperwork imposed on physicians, hospitals and other providers, the plan saves at least $400 billion annually – enough money to provide comprehensive, quality care to all.

Community health centers are fully funded, giving the 60 million Americans now living in rural and underserved areas access to care.

To address the critical shortage of primary care physicians and dentists, the bill provides resources for the National Health Service Corps to train an additional 24,000 health professionals.

Sanders, who serves on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, is a longtime advocate of fundamental health care reform. His new bill draws heavily upon the single-payer legislation introduced by the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) in 1993, S. 491, and closely parallels similar legislation pending before the House, H.R. 1200, introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.).   (Read more)

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Afghanistan & Pakistan – A clear and focused goal?

What would YOU ask Congress?

At a time when our country faces a credibility crisis around the world, record casualties in Afghanistan, and an economic meltdown at home, oversight hearings are needed now more than ever. The government must examine how foreign policy is being executed in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while helping to alleviate our financial strains.   Read & See More

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The Unemployment Rate is What?

ccc-unemployed_menThe “official” unemployment rate that is “released” to compare apples to apples by the US government every month is somewhat misleading!  The “official” unemployment rate dramatically understates the true number of unemployed and underemployed.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases six different numbers every month: U-1, U-2, U-3, U-4, U-5 and U-6  (LINK)

U-3 is the “official” released unemployment rate. This number came was 8.1% for February 2009.   U3: Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate.

In reality, the U6  rate was much higher. If you want to be honest about the employment situation, then you should refer to U-6.  This number was 14.8% in February 2009.  And, if not seasonally adjusted the number comes in at 16.0%.   U6: Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.

As is the case with any set of numbers, one can usually twist them to best present one desired outcome.  The often-quoted unemployment rate of 24.75% in 1933 ( The Great Depression) would be a great deal lower if it was calculated according to today’s “official” formula – maybe 5-10% lower…  

So if you are like me today, (unemployed) trying hard to find work in this dismal market and sending resumes into a black hole…  The unemployment percentage  is just another dark cloud to further depress you!   You might just for the hell of it, send one to IBM with an e-mail and ask why they plan to lay off 5000, and then plan to outsource all the work to India? (LINK)   There’s a thought – Move to India!  You can buy a brand new 2009 Tata Automobile for under $2K!

Need a break from sending resumes out – Visit Odd Todd for a great laugh!

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News – White House health care forum in Iowa

de-moinesNurses Rally for Single-Payer at White House Forum in Des Moines: CNA/NNOC  Co-President Geri Jenkins, RN and members of the Minnesota Nurses Association sound call for single-payer, guaranteed healthcare for all at the White House Forum on Healthcare March 23 in Des Moines, Iowa.

 

Protesters outside and inside White House health care forum in Iowa

There were protesters outside and inside this morning’s White House health care forum in Des Moines.    By O. Kay Henderson / Radio Iowa

About 20 protesters stood on the street outside, waving signs and chanting. A psychiatrist from University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City stood in the middle of the group, wearing his white lab coat and chanting “Everybody in, nobody out” along with the others.  Dr. Jess Fiedorowicz is a member of Physicians for a National Health Program. “‘Everybody in, nobody out’ truly universal health care. Universal health care has become a buzz word in the elections, but if you look at the proposals people are proposing, they truly do not intend to cover everybody,” the doctor said. “…We’re interested in everybody being covered.”  

Once the forum got underway, protester Mona Shaw of Iowa City stood to call the event “shameful” because health insurance companies were participating. As she was escorted out of the event hall, Shaw accused insurance companies of ignoring the needs of their customers. “Governor Culver has taken $20,000 from Blue Cross-Blue Shield, of course he’s not going to let the insurance industry take any of the flack for this,” Shaw shouted toward reporters as she left. “Iowans are dying.” (Read the entire story)

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters / By Kay Henderson) – The latest White House regional forum on healthcare drew protests and complaints on Monday along with a promise that government-run insurance was at least on the table for discussion.

“Why are we having this shameful event?” said Mona Shaw, a political activist, at the start of the session. “People are dying,” she said, because of what she termed a callous insurance industry. (Read the entire story)

You can HELP!

Call, write or e-mail your representatives and tell them they need to support Single Payer  HR676 & tell them to also advise SenatorMax Baucus that they support Single Payer HR676   LINK

Call or Fax Senator Max Baucus and tell him that SINGLE PAYER is on the table!  Phone: (202) 224-2651 (Office)     (202) 224-9412 (Fax)

Call President Oboma at the White House (202-456-1414 or  202- 456-1111) and tell him Single Payer is not for later, the time is NOW!

NOW – Tell 10 more people to do the same … !

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Pharma Watch – Be an informed consumer!

risperdal2Off-label marketing is a cheap way of promoting drugs without doing the research needed to get the approval of the FDA for new uses.  Companies that do this place patients at risk because there is no assurance that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Risperdal Marketed Off-label?


Three former salespeople have filed suit against Pharmaceutica alleging the company engaged in off-label marketing of antipsychotic drug Risperdal.  According to the lawsuit, company salespeople were encouraged to push the drug to doctors as a treatment for bipolar disorder and depression. Risperdal generated $3.4 billion in sales in 2008.  To read more about this case and many others where the Pharma companies are looking out for your health, I jest… (LINK)

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