Health Care opponents dont speak for YOU, FOLLOW THE MONEY SHEEPLE!

Im sure everyone has heard by now about how “town hall” meetings have been disrupted by irate folks angry at what they see as unnecessary government intrusion into their most personal of choices, namely health care decisions…

I am truly amazed that folks arent more discerning here….come ON!  Big Pharma, and Big name Medical Insurance companies have had their cake and eaten it too for far too long now, and who really stands to lose the most if Health Care is centralized?  YOU GUESSED IT, Insurance companies, and other middle-men who have skimmed the cream of the monetary crop now for decades!  Why do you think they pulled out all the stops when the Clintons tried to overhaul the medical care industry?  Because they knew they all stood to lose BILLIONS!  HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS!  Its just incomprehensible to me how any reasonable thinking American wouldnt embrace Health Care reform.  All I can say is:  FOLLOW THE MONEY PEOPLE!!  SEE WHO WOULD HURT THE MOST IF THIS PASSED! Not you or I, thats for DAMN sure!!!!!


WASHINGTON — The stubborn yet false rumor that President Obama’s health care proposals would create government-sponsored “death panels” to decide which patients were worthy of living seemed to arise from nowhere in recent weeks.

Advanced even this week by Republican stalwarts including the party’s last vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, and Charles E. Grassley, the veteran Iowa senator, the nature of the assertion nonetheless seemed reminiscent of the modern-day viral Internet campaigns that dogged Mr. Obama last year, falsely calling him a Muslim and questioning his nationality.

But the rumor — which has come up at Congressional town-hall-style meetings this week in spite of an avalanche of reports laying out why it was false — was not born of anonymous e-mailers, partisan bloggers or stealthy cyberconspiracy theorists.

Rather, it has a far more mainstream provenance, openly emanating months ago from many of the same pundits and conservative media outlets that were central in defeating President Bill Clinton’s health care proposals 16 years ago, including the editorial board of The Washington Times, the American Spectator magazine and Betsy McCaughey, whose 1994 health care critique made her a star of the conservative movement (and ultimately, New York’s lieutenant governor).

There is nothing in any of the legislative proposals that would call for the creation of death panels or any other governmental body that would cut off care for the critically ill as a cost-cutting measure. But over the course of the past few months, early, stated fears from anti-abortion conservatives that Mr. Obama would pursue a pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia agenda, combined with twisted accounts of actual legislative proposals that would provide financing for optional consultations with doctors about hospice care and other “end of life” services, fed the rumor to the point where it overcame the debate.

On Thursday, Mr. Grassley said in a statement that he and others in the small group of senators that was trying to negotiate a health care plan had dropped any “end of life” proposals from consideration.

A pending House bill has language authorizing Medicare to finance beneficiaries’ consultations with professionals on whether to authorize aggressive and potentially life-saving interventions later in life. Though the consultations would be voluntary, and a similar provision passed in Congress last year without such a furor, Mr. Grassley said it was being dropped in the Senate “because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly.”

The extent to which it and other provisions have been misinterpreted in recent days, notably by angry speakers at recent town hall meetings but also by Ms. Palin — who popularized the “death panel” phrase — has surprised longtime advocates of changes to the health care system.

“I guess what surprised me is the ferocity, it’s much stronger than I expected,” said John Rother, the executive vice president of AARP, which is supportive of the health care proposals and has repeatedly declared the “death panel” rumors false. “It’s people who are ideologically opposed to Mr. Obama, and this is the opportunity to weaken the president.”

The specter of government-sponsored, forced euthanasia was raised as early as Nov. 23, just weeks after the election and long before any legislation had been drafted, in an outlet with opinion pages decidedly opposed to Mr. Obama, The Washington Times.

In an editorial, the newspaper reminded its readers of the Aktion T4 program of Nazi Germany in which “children and adults with disabilities, and anyone anywhere in the Third Reich was subject to execution who was blind, deaf, senile, retarded, or had any significant neurological condition.”

Noting the “administrative predilections” of the new team at the White House, it urged “anyone who sees the current climate as a budding T4 program to win the hearts and minds of deniers.”

The editorial captured broader concerns about Mr. Obama’s abortion rights philosophy held among socially conservative Americans who did not vote for him. But it did not directly tie forced euthanasia to health care plans of Mr. Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress.

When the Democrats included money for family planning in a proposed version of the stimulus bill in January, the socially conservative George Neumayr wrote for the American Spectator: “Euthanasia is another shovel ready job for Pelosi to assign to the states. Reducing health care costs under Obama’s plan, after all, counts as economic stimulus, too — controlling life, controlling death, controlling costs.”

Ms. McCaughey, whose 1994 critique of Mr. Clinton’s plan was hotly disputed after its publication in The New Republic, weighed in around the same time.

She warned that a provision in the stimulus bill would create a bureaucracy to “monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost-effective,” was carried in a commentary she wrote for Bloomberg News that gained resonance throughout the conservative media, most notably with Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck.

The legislation did not direct the coordinator to dictate doctors’ treatments. A separate part of the law — regarding a council set up to coordinate research comparing the effectiveness of treatments — states that the council’s recommendations cannot “be construed as mandates or clinical guidelines for payment, coverage or treatment.”

But Ms. McCaughey’s article provided another opportunity for others to raise the specter of forced euthanasia. “Sometimes for the common good, you just have to say, ‘Hey, Grandpa, you’ve had a good life,’ ” Mr. Beck said.

The syndicated conservative columnist Cal Thomas wrote, “No one should be surprised at the coming embrace of euthanasia.” The Washington Times editorial page reprised its reference to the Nazis, quoting the Aktion T4 program: “It must be made clear to anyone suffering from an incurable disease that the useless dissipation of costly medications drawn from the public store cannot be justified.”

The notion was picked up by various conservative groups, but still, as Mr. Obama and Congress remained focused on other matters, it did not gain wide attention. Former Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, an advocate for the health care proposals, said he was occasionally confronted with the “forced euthanasia” accusation at forums on the plans, but came to see it as an advantage. “Almost automatically you have most of the audience on your side,” Mr. Daschle said. “Any rational normal person isn’t going to believe that assertion.”

But as Congress developed its legislation this summer, critics seized on provisions requiring Medicare financing for “end of life” consultations, bringing the debate to a peak. To David Brock, a former conservative journalist who once impugned the Clintons but now runs a group that monitors and defends against attacks on liberals, the uproar is a reminder of what has changed — the creation of groups like his — and what has not.

“In the 90s, every misrepresentation under the sun was made about the Clinton plan and there was no real capacity to push back,” he said. “Now, there is that capacity.”

Still, one proponent of the euthanasia theory, Mr. Neumayr, said he saw no reason to stop making the claim.

“I think a government-run plan that is administered by politicians and bureaucrats who support euthanasia is inevitably going to reflect that view,” he said, “and I don’t think that’s a crazy leap.”


Who’s behind the attacks on a health care overhaul?

By Margaret Talev | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Much of the money and strategy behind the so-called grassroots groups organizing opposition to the Democrats’ health care plans comes from conservative political consultants, professional organizers and millionaires, some of whom hold financial stakes in the outcome.

If President Barack Obama and Congress extend health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for it, and limit insurers’ discretion on who they cover and what they charge, that could pinch these opponents.

Most of them say they oppose big government in principle. Despite Obama’s assurances to the contrary, many of them insist that the Democrats’ legislation is but the first step toward creation of a single-payer system, where the federal government hires the doctors, approves treatments, sets the rules and imperils profit.

These opposition groups appear to have spent at least $10 million so far on ads attacking the Democrats’ plans. Still, supporters of a health care overhaul have outspent opponents by more than 2-to-1 so far, according to Evan Tracey of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks ad spending. Supporters include drug makers angling for their own protections, unions, the American Medical Association and AARP, the seniors’ lobby. Supporters announced this week that they intend to spend $150 million promoting an overhaul.

The opposition groups’ names sound catchy and populist: Patients First. Patients United. Americans for Prosperity. Conservatives for Patients’ Rights. FreedomWorks. 60 Plus. Club for Growth.

Here’s who’s behind them:

Conservatives for Patients’ Rights is led by health care entrepreneur Rick Scott, the co-founder of Solantic urgent care walk-in centers, which he’s spread across Florida and is looking to expand. While 80 percent of its patients have at least some insurance, Solantic also bills itself as an alternative to emergency-room care and a resource for patients with no insurance.

Scott left his job as CEO of the Columbia/HCA hospitals during a federal Medicare fraud probe in 1997 that led to a historic $1.7 billion settlement. He wasn’t prosecuted and got a golden parachute.

Solantic’s growth, Scott said in a telephone interview, is due in part to the trend in which “deductibles and co-payments are going up. As that happens, more people want us.”

Scott said he wasn’t concerned that the Democrats’ proposed revisions would undercut his business: “It’s irrelevant to us.” Instead, he said he opposes the Democrats’ plans because he doesn’t believe that government involvement will contain health care costs. He sees it killing off the best private insurance plans and ultimately leading to a single-payer system, which he predicted would lead to waiting lists and denial of treatments.

Scott said he supports some government intervention — such as preventing insurers from dumping sick patients. Those who can’t afford coverage on their own should get vouchers or tax credits, he said.

FreedomWorks, which has been advocating against the overhaul but has not launched TV ads, is chaired by Dick Armey, the former Republican majority leader of the House of Representatives from Texas.

But also noteworthy are the group’s other backers and board members. They include billionaire flat-tax proponent and former GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes; Richard J. Stephenson, who founded Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which offers alternative as well as standard therapies, sometimes not covered by insurance; and Frank M. Sands, Sr., chief executive officer of an investment management firm whose offerings include a Healthcare Leaders portfolio.

“They’re on our board because they support lower taxes, less government and more freedom,” said FreedomWorks spokesman Adam Brandon.

Matt Kibbe, the chief executive officer of FreedomWorks, said its members believe that “the government is already way too involved in the nation’s health care system” and that government is to blame for health-cost inflation.

Kibbe acknowledged that private insurance is out of reach for many small businesses and individuals, but he contended that can be dealt with without creating a government-managed exchange. Like Scott, he expressed concern that more government interference would lead to a single-payer system, which would “inevitably” impose rationing of treatments to contain costs.

Patients First and Patients United are creations of a larger group called Americans for Prosperity. AFP’s Web site describes a grassroots organization with more than 700,000 members that advocates “for public policies that champion the principles of entrepreneurship and fiscal and regulatory restraint.”

It was started by billionaire David Koch, of the Koch Industries oil family, one of the country’s top donors to conservative, free-market causes. The foundation’s board includes Art Pope, a former North Carolina legislator also involved in conservative causes, whose family owns hundreds of discount stores.

Tim Phillips, AFP’s president, is a former Republican congressional staffer who helped former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed start up the consulting firm Century Strategies in the 1990s. Clients paid the firm to build Christian grassroots support for various business causes. That included work for since-convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The group, along with FreedomWorks, was involved in promoting the anti-tax “tea parties” earlier this year. AFP also is organizing a campaign “exposing the ballooning costs of global warming hysteria.”

In an interview, AFP’s Phillips said that he couldn’t think of anyone on his board with a direct financial stake in the health care industry. “It’s more freedom-based,” he said. “They have a deep interest in protecting economic freedoms.” He also said that no one in his organization believes that more government involvement in health care will lead to reduced costs for taxpayers.

By Labor Day, he said, his group will have organized 600 rallies on health care.

“Americans are looking at these rallies that are happening and the town-hall turnouts, and they say, ‘No one group out of thin air could do that,'” Phillips said. “The American people can see through the attacks on the other side, where they try to vilify these groups as being corporate groups or front groups. They’re believing it is in fact a broad groundswell.

“We’re out here saying the truth, which is costs are going to go up and quality is going to go down. And what’s the other side saying? ‘Oh, these are front groups, these are all rich people.’ The attack route’s not going to work. It’s not so far.”

Two other grassroots groups have financed ads targeting peoples’ fears that more government involvement would hurt seniors and hasten end-of-life decisions.

One of them, Club for Growth, which advocates lower taxes, is led by president Chris Chocola, a former Republican congressman from Indiana who lost his re-election bid in 2006. Club for Growth this week announced a $1.2 million ad campaign against a health care overhaul, to run in North Dakota, Colorado, Arkansas and Nevada.

The other, 60 Plus Association, is a conservative senior advocacy group that wants to abolish the estate tax. Singer Pat Boone is the group’s national spokesman. Chairman Jim Martin started the group in 1992 with fund-raising help from conservative direct mail guru Richard Viguerie. It spent $1.5 million on TV ads opposing a healthcare overhaul in the last week.

Martin declined to identify his major donors. In 2006, he acknowledged that his group was getting funding from the pharmaceutical industry. But this year, pharmaceutical companies lead the spending spree on behalf of a health care overhaul.

“The shoe’s on the other foot,” Martin said. “They’ve gotten in bed with the White House.”



~ by irishgrl on August 15, 2009.

5 Responses to “Health Care opponents dont speak for YOU, FOLLOW THE MONEY SHEEPLE!”

  1. […] See the original post here:  Health Care opponents dont speak for YOU, FOLLOW THE MONEY SHEEPLE! […]

  2. […] See original here: Health Care opponents dont speak for YOU, FOLLOW THE MONEY SHEEPLE … […]

  3. Long articles. Moose wants to know how people write those.

  4. it wasnt one long article but rather 2 medium articles inside of one host article 🙂 see? break it down!

  5. […] Im sure everyone has heard by now about how “town hall” meetings have been disrupted by irate folks angry at what they see as unnecessary government intrusion into their most personal of choices, namely health care decisions… …Continue […]

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