Awwww. Don Berwick is unhappy. In a speech at the annual conference of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement excerpted at the Boston Globe's White Coat Notes blog, the man whom Congress would not confirm as Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator seventeen months after President Obama gave him a recess appointment lashed out at his critics, especially their use of the terms "rationing" and "death panels," describing the employment of the latter term as "beyond cruelty."
Neither Chelsea Conaboy's introduction at the Globe excerpt nor Sam Baker's coverage at the Hill's Healthwatch blog brought up why the two terms Berwick despises so accurately describe his health care views, which include his belief that the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama last year -- the one where, as Nancy Pelosi warned, we're still figuring out what's really in it -- is, as he told Boston station WBUR, "majestic." What follows is most of Conaboy's intro, which almost completely ignored the overheated rhetoric in the speech excerpts which followed:
MSNBC's faux conservative Joe Scarborough dismissed the conservative credentials of Republican front-runners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney while promoting Jon Huntsman – the GOP darling of liberals like Jimmy Carter.
Scarborough's Politico op-ed ripped Gingrich and Romney for flip-flopping on issues like abortion and global warming. He strangely ignored the time where Huntsman, MSNBC's favorite Republican, called his fellow party members "anti-science" for disbelieving global warming – or when he supported civil unions for same sex couples.
While NBC, ABC, and CBS all reported on the Supreme Court's decision Monday to rule on the constitutionality of ObamaCare, none of the coverage made any mention of calls for liberal Justice Elena Kagan to recuse herself from the case due to her advocacy for the legislation as Obama's solicitor general.
Of the three networks, only ABC's World News even noted public opposition to the legislation, as White House correspondent Jake Tapper explained: "The health care law is tremendously unpopular with a new high of 51 percent of Americans viewing it unfavorably and new low of 34 percent approving of it."
The Supreme Court has agreed to determine the constitutionality of ObamaCare after 26 states have appealed for it to do so. As explicitly stated in the 10th Amendment, the powers not specifically vested in the federal government by the Constitution are reserved to the states and the people, which ObamaCare supersedes by requiring nearly every American to purchase health insurance.
As Yuval Levin explains at National Review, though, opponents should not be so quick to lose focus of the future of our healthcare system. Do you think ObamaCare will be struck down? Read Levin's views after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Having followed Democratic former Ohio governor Ted "Holier Than Thou" Strickland lo these many painful years, including the memorable episode when as a Congressman he called out 355 of his colleagues as liars for unanimously supporting an anti-pedophilia resolution (seriously), it's remarkable (actually, it's clear evidence of Ohio media bias) that it's current Republican governor John Kasich who has the reputation for arrogance. During the administration of "Turnaround Ted," who Kasich defeated in 2010, Ohio lost over 400,000 jobs. It should be self-evident to any Ohioan who endured his four long years in office that Strickland's authority to opine on anything relating to the welfare of the Buckeye State is non-existent.
Yet there Strickland was Tuesday night, being interviewed by Fox News's Greta Van Susteren about the meaning of Ohio voters' 66%-34% landslide approval of Issue 3, which put prohibitions of Obamacare’s mandates to buy health insurance and participate in a health care plan into Ohio’s constitution (y'know, the document Ted swore to uphold when he was the state's chief executive). Watch the exchange, as Van Susteren calls out Ted's contempt for the expressed will of Ohio's voters:
Conservatives had some significant victories in Tuesday’s scattered elections across the country, but the broadcast network evening newscasts on Wednesday night – with the exception of one topic on NBC – decided to only highlight, as did the morning shows earlier in the day, setbacks for conservatives.
“Ohio voters rejected a Republican-backed measure that limited the collective bargaining rights of public workers,” CBS anchor Scott Pelley noted of the measure which won by 61 to 39 percent, but neither he nor ABC’s Diane Sawyer informed viewers a ballot measure which will bar ObamaCare’s mandate won by an even more overwhelming 66 to 34 percent.
Perhaps partially explaining the treatment of Ohio's ballot issues on shows like MSNBC's "Morning Joe" as noted by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters earlier today, I have found that the Associated Press predictably trumpeted the 61%-39% rejection of Issue 2, which would have required cost-sharing for public-sector employee health and pension benefits while curbing the scope of collective bargaining, as a big national story. Meanwhile, as far as I can tell, the AP only devoted six snarky paragraphs in a regionally carried story to Issue 3, which won by a 66%-34% margin and passed by comfortable majorities in all 88 Buckeye State counties. Also known as the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment, Issue 3 put prohibitions of Obamacare's mandates to buy health insurance and participate in a health care plan into Ohio's constitution.
First, excerpts from the Issue 2 story by the wire service's Sam Hananel out of, ahem, Washington:
On Saturday, Barbara Hollingsworth at the Washington Examiner (HT Peter Roff at US News) reported on the latest development in lawsuit filed by former congressman Steve "Sore Loser" Driehaus against Susan B. Anthony's List (SBA).
Democrat Driehaus, who served one term in Congress before losing to Republican Steve Chabot, is suing SBA under a Ohio’s False Statement Law for "loss of livelihood." Seriously. Driehaus says that his vote for ObamaCare, which has no prolife protections hard-wired into the law, was not a betrayal of his prolife beliefs. SBA says it was a betrayal, and is correct. Driehaus's excuse was that President Obama wrote up an Executive Order with supposed prolife protections, which of course can be revoked at any whimsical presidential moment -- like, say, January 21, 2013 if he's reelected (or January 19, 2013 if he's not).
On his Thursday program, MSNBC's Martin Bashir collaborated with pro-abortion Rep. Diana DeGette to bash pro-life conservatives as "misogynists" during a seven-and-a-half minute long segment. Bashir claimed that it's "hardly surprising" that the proposed Protect Life Act, which would protect the conscience rights of health care workers, "has earned the moniker the 'let women die act.'"
During the segment, the host repeatedly railed against Republicans for putting the bill up for a vote while "fourteen million Americans out of work." Bashir also adopted the pro-abortion lobby's own talking points from the very start [video clips from the segment below the jump]:
William F. Buckley, Jr., founding father of the modern conservative movement, famously asserted his doctrine of voting for the most conservative candidate who is electable.
Let me presume to add an analytic codicil: The GOP and the conservative movement have tended to support the most conservative policies only when they are understood to be conservative and are plausibly supportable by the conservative half of the electorate.
When pressed to confirm that "some analysts" are blaming ObamaCare for higher health insurance costs, CNN's chief medical correspondent admitted that indeed they are "suggesting" Obama's Affordable Care Act is to blame.
Sanjay Gupta, once considered by President Obama for surgeon general, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday that according to "some analysts," mandates from ObamaCare have been behind the recent spike in health care costs and premiums.
Anchor Brian Williams led Tuesday's NBC Nightly News with a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation about the rising cost of health care, direly proclaiming: "We're going to begin tonight with a crippling trend in America that simply cannot go on without taking entire families with it." Missing from the coverage was any mention of ObamaCare contributing to the increased costs.
In the report that followed, correspondent John Yang detailed how the new study, "says premiums for family coverage now average more than $15,000 a year, that's a 9% jump from 2010 and triple the rate of the previous's years increase." A sound bite of Kaiser CEO Drew Altman was included: "This is really the first time in as long as I can remember when we've seen a big jump in premiums at a time when wages are actually, not only flat, but actually losing ground."
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Wade Goodwyn carried water for pro-abortion activists who are targeting Governor Rick Perry and the Texas legislature for cutting the state funding of "women's health clinics." Goodwyn didn't give an ideological label for the activists, referring to them merely as "family planning advocates," and highlighted their objection that some of the cut funds were now going to crisis pregnancy centers.
Hosts Steve Inskeep and David Greene pushed a liberal talking point against the Republican presidential contender in his introduction for the correspondent's report: "Texas has been attracting people who move there for jobs. At the same time, though, more than a quarter of the state's population has no health insurance, which is more than any other state. Hospital emergency rooms and dozens of women's health clinics have been filling the gap." Greene continued that "this year, Perry and the state legislature drastically cut funding for the clinics."
During a prerecorded commentary on CBS Sunday Morning, left-wing CBS commentator Nancy Giles complained about the "bloodlust" of GOP audience members who applauded Texas's use of capital punishment at the recent MSNBC debate and a small number of audience members who applauded at Monday's CNN debate after moderator Wolf Blitzer asked if someone who chose not to purchase insurance should be allowed to die.
CBS played a clip of the exchanges but notably left out Rep. Ron Paul's answer to Blitzer's question as he argued that organizations like churches used to help provide health care before Medicaid existed, leaving Giles to give the impression that Rep. Paul had been unconcerned about the uninsured dying. Giles:
Liberals are on their high horses about a single audience member at CNN's Republican debate whom they believe wanted a hypothetical man without health insurance in a hypothetical coma to die -- hypothetically.
(Democrats want people in comas to die only when they are not hypothetical but real, like Terri Schiavo.)
Rachel Rose Hartman's Tuesday item for Yahoo! News's "The Ticket" blog carried a misleading headline ("Audience at tea party debate cheers leaving uninsured to die") implying that the majority, if not all, of the audience at Monday's GOP presidential debate thought that the critically injured who are uninsured should be left to die. In reality, only a handful cheered and/or laughed in response to Wolf Blitzer's question.
Despite this headline, Hartman did acknowledge in her lede that "if you're uninsured and on the brink of death, that's apparently a laughing matter to some audience members at last night's tea party [sic] Republican presidential debate." She then recounted how Blitzer, who moderated the joint debate with the Tea Party Express organization, turned to Rep. Ron Paul and "asked a hypothetical question...about how society should respond if a healthy 30-year-old man who decided against buying health insurance suddenly goes into a coma and requires intensive care for six months."
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Julie Rovner promoted the supposed benefits of ObamaCare, and played up a recent poll which found that "about a third of those without health insurance think the law will help them, and that's because only about half know that it includes key provisions that will make insurance more available and affordable."
The sole source for the correspondent's report was an August 2011 tracking poll conducted by the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation. Rovner played three sound bites from Drew Altman, who works for the foundation, and none from opponents of ObamaCare. In his first clip, Altman highlighted how a majority of people surveyed for the poll agree that "it [ObamaCare] really does help the uninsured. Thirty-two million uninsured people will get coverage."
President Barack Obama's pride-and-joy health care reform law (aka the Affordable Care Act of 2010) suffered a super setback last Friday, when an appeals court ruled that it is unconstitutional to penalize Americans who do not purchase medical insurance.
Reuters reported, "The U.S. Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, ruled 2 to 1 that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to buy coverage, but it unanimously reversed a lower court decision that threw out the entire law."
On Monday's Early Show, CBS slanted towards supporters of a new Obama administration mandate which requires private insurance companies to cover contraception as part of women's "preventative services." Anchor Chris Wragge labeled the development "good news," while correspondent Michelle Miller failed to include sound bites from opponents during her report on the new regulation.
After using his "good news" phrase, Wragge trumpeted the "historic new women's health guidelines" during his introduction for Miller's report, which aired at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour. The correspondent herself picked up where the anchor left off when she stated that new mandate was "welcome news to the women we spoke to." She then played two sound bites from women on the street who gave supposed horror stories about the cost of birth control.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: Sometimes, $20 a month can definitely be hard to scrape together.
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Julie Rovner spun the debate over a proposed mandate for private insurance companies to cover birth control without a copay as being between "women's health groups," which were not given an ideological label, and organizations such as the Family Research Council, which she clearly identified as "conservative." A representative from her example of a "women's health group," Planned Parenthood, labeled "unintended" pregnancies an "epidemic."
Anchor Steve Inskeep began the report with an admission about ObamaCare: "President Obama's health care overhaul law touches almost every aspect of health care, including birth control." Rovner first highlighted a woman from Tucson, Arizona who, despite having a "full-time job with health insurance [and] a husband," along with two kids, apparently couldn't afford the $25 a month copay for her birth control prescription. This led to her having a third child, and the woman declared that "while we're happy that she's here, it was not planned, and had we had some better finances, we probably could have made some better decisions."
As Clay Waters at the Media Research Center's Times Watch reported earlier today ("One of Obama's Emotional Arguments for Obama-Care Proven Wrong in NYT Staffer's New Book"), the New York Times's Kevin Sack ran a story yesterday which "reflects badly on Barack Obama and how he misled people in his campaign for Obama-care."
A rising chorus of repeal-mongers, outraged at the Obama administration's federal health care power grab, took over Washington this week. Nope, it's not the tea party. It's Democrats Against the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Yes, Democrats.
What's IPAB? A Beltway acronym for subverting the deliberative process.
On Monday's Early Show, CBS's Susan Koeppen profiled a doctor who hyped that "people are dying because they don't have simple access" to health care and spotlighted two of his patients who chronicled their difficulties with the Medicaid and Medicare programs. Koeppen also failed to mention the liberal leanings of an organization she labeled as merely "an advocacy group for health care consumers."
Anchor Erica Hill introduced the consumer correspondent's report by noting that "a new proposal would cut reimbursement rates for doctors who accept Medicare by 30% in 2012...the potential cuts are raising concerns for the more than 100 million Americans who rely on the program, as well as the doctors who treat them." Koeppen then led her segment with Dr. David Ansell's "people are dying" clip and described how the Rush University Medical Center physician "has been treating patients who can't get help anywhere else."
In the run-up to the passage of Obamacare in March 2010, Nancy Pelosi infamously told a friendly audience: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."
Fifteen months later, we still haven't learned everything about a bill which no honest congressperson or senator can claim to have read and fully understood.
Today's "discovery" is that some couples in their early 60s earning up to $64,000 a year can qualify for Medicaid. As has become establishment press custom since Obamacare's passage, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar at the Associated Press reports on the "anomaly," without getting to its root cause, namely that nobody who voted for the 2000-page legislation knew it was there:
Dennis Cauchon at USA Today has been one of a very few establishment press reporters willing to expose federal workers' disproportionate pay and benefits (previous examples here and here) as well as Uncle Sam's precariously dangerous financial situation.
Cauchon has two USAT items today on the latter topic (HT to NB commenter Gary Hall): "U.S. funding for future promises lags by trillions," which reports that federal obligations totaled $61.6 trillion as of September 2010, a $5.3 trillion increase from a year earlier, and "Government's Mountain of Debt," which itemizes those obligations by major source.
Unsurprisingly, 75% of federal obligations, or a combined $46.2 trillion (actually more, which will be seen at the end of this post), relate to Social Security and Medicare, which no one but a few deluded leftists believe (or pretend to believe) are sustainable in their current form. Unfortunately, at the end of his first story, Cauchon quoted one of them, Michael Lind, whom the USAT reporter described as "policy director at the liberal New America Foundation's economic growth program," who said the following:
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- The extinct political slogan "As Maine goes, so goes the nation," may be supplanted by what is happening in the United Kingdom. There is a form of functional political illiteracy here that does not bode well for the United States should it follow Britain's very bad example, particularly on matters involving immigration and health care.
For several years, the British media have been full of horror stories about failures in the National Health Service (NHS). "Thousands of Elderly at Risk in Care Crisis" screamed the front-page headline in the Times of London last week. This is nothing new, because a headline in The Daily Telegraph nearly two years ago warned, "Cruel and Neglectful Care of One Million NHS Patients Exposed." Is anyone listening?
In late January (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how the Associated Press and the New York Times had been studiously avoiding covering the Obamacare waivers granted by Kathleen Sebelius's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Though I can't verify that the AP has ignored the issue since, it doesn't seem to have been a prominently covered item until today, when wire service reporter Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar ("Health care law waivers stir suspicion of favors") unsurprisingly weighed in for the defense.
In doing so, the AP reporter failed to note that the waiver process's arbitrary nature, which leaves plans at the tender mercies of HHS, is troubling even if the evidence of favoritism is not yet convincing (arbitrariness can also involve poor judgment even if politics aren't involved). He also failed to address those who contend that if Obamacare is such a good thing, why are companies and other entities having to scramble to avoid it? Finally, he failed to tell readers if any waiver requests have been turned down, and if so why.
Here are excerpts from Alonso-Zaldivar's report. Get a load of his third paragraph, where he dreams up excuses, and the final excerpted paragraph, where he all but admits that waivers in general are being granted for a very important political reason -- to prevent embarrassing Obama and the Democratic Party (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, new chairwoman of the DNC, falsely claimed Sunday that the Ryan Medicare plan would deny care to seniors with preexisting medical conditions and that all future beneficiaries of Medicare would be abandoned by the Ryan plan and have to buy their own insurance from a private company.
As reported by both FactCheck.org and Washington Post, both of her Democratic talking points are simply untrue. In reality, according to the two sites, the Ryan plan specifically says that insurance companies "must agree to offer insurance to all Medicare beneficiaries" and subsidizes future beneficiaries so they can buy private insurance through a Medicare exhange program set up by the government.
Read what Wasserman-Schultz had to say after the break, and let us know what you think in the comments.