Category Archives: Health Care
This a follow-up to a recent post on illegal chemical testing on U.S. citizens…
Twelve states sued the Bush administration Wednesday to force greater disclosure of data on toxic chemicals that companies store, use and release into the environment.
The state officials oppose new federal Environmental Protection Agency rules that allow thousands of companies to limit the information they disclose to the public about toxic chemicals, according to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the lead attorney general in the lawsuit.
The change lets 100 polluters off the hook in New York alone, he said.
The EPA, however, said the change improves the Toxics Release Inventory law and eases requirements only on companies that can certify they have no releases of toxins to the environment.
The EPA this year rolled back a regulation on the law signed by President Reagan after the deadly Bhopal toxic chemical catastrophe in India in 1984, according to the states involved in the lawsuit. That law required companies to provide a long, detailed report whenever they store or emit 500 pounds of specific toxins.
The new rule adopted this year requires that long accounting only for companies storing or releasing 5,000 pounds of toxins or more. Companies storing or releasing 500 to 4,999 pounds of toxins would have to file an abbreviated form, said Katherine Kennedy, New York’s special deputy attorney general for environmental protection.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New York City seeks to invalidate the EPA’s revised regulations.
“The EPA’s new regulations rob New Yorkers — and people across the country — of their right to know about toxic dangers in their own backyards,” Cuomo said. “Along with 11 other states throughout the nation, we will restore the public’s right to information about chemical hazards, despite the Bush administration’s best attempts to hide it.”
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the EPA’s action marginalizes a 20-year program that required companies to report the amount of lead, mercury and other toxins they released.
“Polluters can release 10 times more toxins like lead and mercury without telling anyone,” he said.
EPA spokeswoman Molly O’Neill had no comment on the suit. Companies that can show they release none of the toxins can avoid filing long and time-consuming reports, she said.
The change, O’Neill said, is “making a good program better.”
Not really Molly.
More than 300 companies in states like California and New jersey can conceal data under the new EPA rule, which is what the Bush administration wants. This rule change has no teeth at all. It is just another example of Republican ‘let-industry-police-itself’ policy not serving the public good.
To combat this nonsense, states have chosen to file law suits, which I’m sure the Republicans will blame on trial lawyers as well.
“We feel the only course of action was to file suit and remedy this in the courts,” said Cuomo spokesman Jeffrey Lerner.
Other states suing the EPA are Arizona, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
This is what you get when you pack the EPA with a bunch of convicted ex-industry polluters and old oil executive buddies.
No surprise to me.
Could a strange substance found by an Ark-La-Tex man be part of secret government testing program? That’s the question at the heart of a phenomenon called “Chemtrails.” In a KSLA News 12 investigation, Reporter Jeff Ferrell shows us the results of testing we had done about what’s in our skies.
“It seemed like some mornings it was just criss-crossing the whole sky. It was just like a giant checkerboard,” described Bill Nichols. He snapped several photos of the strange clouds from his home in Stamps, in southwest Arkansas. Nichols said these unusual clouds begin as normal contrails from a jet engine. But unlike normal contrails, these do ‘not’ fade away.
Soon after a recent episode he saw particles in the air. “We’d see it drop to the ground in a haze,” added Nichols. He then noticed the material collecting on the ground.
“This is water and stuff that I collected in bowls. I had it sitting out in my backyard in my dad’s pick-up truck,” said Nichols as he handed us a mason jar in the KSLA News 12 parking lot back in September after driving down from Arkansas.
KSLA News 12 had the sample tested at a lab. The results: A high level of barium, 6.8 parts per million, (ppm). That’s more than three times the toxic level set by the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA.
Armed with these lab results about the high levels of barium found in our sample, we decided to contact the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. They told us that, ‘yes,’ these levels are very unusual. But at the same time they added the caveat that proving the source is a whole ‘nother matter.
We discovered during our investigation that Barium is a hallmark of other chemtrail testing. This phenomenon even attracted the attention of a Los Angeles network affiliate, which aired a report entitled, “Toxic Sky?”
There’s already no shortage of unclassified weather modification programs by the government. But those who fear chemtrails could be secret biological and chemical testing on the public point to the 1977 U.S. Senate hearings which confirmed 239 populated areas had been contaminated with biological agents between 1949 and 1969. Later, the 1994 Rockefeller Report concluded hundreds of thousands of military personnel were also subjected to secret biological experiments over the last 60-years.
But could secret testing be underway yet again? “I’d rather it be something inert and you know something that’s not causing any damage but I’d like to know what it is,” concluded Nichols.
KSLA News 12 discovered chemtrails are even mentioned by name in the initial draft of HR 2977 back in 2001, under the Space Preservation Act. But the military denies any such program exists.
It turns out, until just nine years ago the government had the right, under U.S. law, to conduct secret testing on the American public, under specific conditions. Only a public outcry repealed part of that law, with some “exceptions.”
Mark Ryan, Director of the Poison Control Center, explained that short term exposure to barium can lead to anything from stomach to chest pains, with long-term exposure causing blood pressure problems.
Ryan addressed concerns by chemtrail researchers that barium could be meant to wear down a person’s immune system. “Anything that causes ill effects on the body long-term, chronically, is going to affect your ability, it’s just constantly working on the body. So from that aspect yeah it’s a potential.”
Ryan told us he’s conducted research of his own about secret government testing on the public. But he’s still a bit skeptical about chemtrails at the moment, especially considering that his Poison Control Center has seen no calls about barium exposure.
by: Jeff Ferrell
The White House sent Congress a $189.3 billion request for funding for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader war on terrorism in 2008. The request adds $42.3 billion to the administration’s original request of $141.7 billion to cover 2008 war costs. It also includes 5.3 billion dollars that had been previously approved for mine-resistant armored vehicles known as MRAPS.US defense secretary, Robert Gates, outlined the rational for the additional war funding in congressional testimony on September 26. Monday’s action by the White House marks the formal request with all of the documentation to justify it the numbers. Gates said the request would include $6 billion to maintain US “surge” forces in Iraq through July.Gates and the Bush administration may have justified the increase in funding regarding the necessary costs of a war of their making, but they have not justified the human cost. After the veto of the SCHIP legislation last week the Democrats, as I have mentioned in prior posts, need to press this president on his priorities. The Democrats, in good conscious, cannot approve additional war funding until Bush concedes on SCHIP. The health and well-beings of children in this country is at least as important as the lives of the troops. Moreover, if the Democrats approve this request, they will have ultimately proved once and for all that they are more concerned with politics than principle. Bush already has the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent people on his hands and has shown a blatant disregard for human life. Do the Democrats want to be his willing accomplices?It is time to take a stand. Bushes approval rating is down to 25% and continues to plummet. Congresses approval rating stands at 27%. Most Americans want war funding cut specifically. What are Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of these Democrats afraid of? Practically speaking, they have absolutely nothing to lose. They have talked the talk but nothing more. There is no way this country punishes the Democrats next Fall for pulling the war funding. The only thing they really need to be concerned about is how the right-wing spin machine will try to demonize them for the move. If they prepare for that predictable eventuality (which has already started really if you’re paying attention), then they should be able to do the right thing by the American people and still retain their political capital.
The Democrats were elected on a wave of anti-war sentiment. It is time to cash in the chips and deliver on what was promised…an end to this senseless war. But more importantly, Bush and the Republicans must understand that their arrogance and hubris can be restricted – if only to breath some life back into our system of checks-and-balances.
Residents at nursing homes are worse off, on average, than ever before according to an analysis by The New York Times of data collected by government agencies from 2000 to 2006. Data shows that nursing homes acquired by large private investors have cut expenses and staff, sometimes below minimum legal requirements, in the name of profit. Watchdog groups say residents at these homes have suffered at the hands of corporate greed and have fared more poorly than residents over the past twenty years, from issues like depression, loss of mobility and loss of ability to dress and bathe themselves, according to data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Typically nursing homes acquired by large private investment companies scored worse than national rates in 12 of 14 categories that regulators use to track ailments of long-term residents. Ailments such as bedsores and easily preventable infections, are all on the rise, which indicates lack of staffing and cost cutting operating procedures. Before they were acquired by private investors, many of those homes scored at or above national averages in similar measurements. Conclusion? Profit equals bad care. Don’t try to tell that to a conservative nursing home investor though.
Residents’ families often respond to such circumstances by suing large for-profit nursing home owners, and regulators have levied fines against nursing home chains where under-staffing led to lapses in care. But as you might imagine, private investment companies have made it very difficult for plaintiffs to succeed in court and for regulators to levy chain-wide fines by creating complex corporate structures that insulate offenders from such lawsuits, with the help of the Bush administration of course. By contrast, publicly owned nursing home chains are required to fully disclose who owns and manages their facilities in securities filings and other regulatory documents.
Privately owned homes also make it more difficult for regulators to know if one company is responsible for multiple centers, and corporate legal structures help managers bypass rules that require them to report when they pay themselves from programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Investors, as you might have guessed, defend these structures claiming they are common in other businesses and have helped them revive an industry that was on the brink of widespread bankruptcy – while they rake in millions in profit on the backs of the elderly. So according to them, the only way to fix things is to introduce profit – all other options like government subsidies, lowering unreasonable costs, overhauling medicaid and medicare, introducing a national healthcare plan that makes sense, partnering with regional not-for-profit agencies, etc., are not viable. Only profiteering can do the trick.
Families of residents say those for profit homes unjustly protect investors who profit while care declines. I agree.
When are people in this country going to accept the fact that high levels of patient care and high profit are not bed-mates? Time and again we are faced with situations across multiple health-care scenarios where corporate profiteers are willing to turn people away, charge exorbitant fees or deliver sub-par care in the name of the almighty dollar. We already know that the people who perpetuate such non-sense are morally bankrupt as they pursue their tunnel-visioned, financially secure existence, oblivious to a continually pressed middle class – but at some point don’t we need to put these people in check in the name of humanity? Can’t their be one area of the American economy that operates as not for profit? Just one? Or is our economy so fragile that marginalizing profit in the health-care industry would lead to financial chaos on a national level? Maybe it would. So this begs the question…instead of milking the elderly for all the gold they can give after a lifetime of giving into a hopeless for profit system, shouldn’t we be growing other sectors of the economy with the goal of supplementing our G.D.P., as we work to transform health-care into what it should be…a right for all, especially the elderly, not simply a privilege for the wealthy?
Vote Republican in 2008, and it will be more of the same.
About 47 million Americans are without health insurance, 8 million of those being children. In response, Hillary Clinton unveiled her “American Health Choices Plan,” during a speech at a hospital in Iowa. “Here in America people are dying because they couldn’t get the care they needed when they were sick. I’m here today because I believe it is long past time that this nation had an answer,” Clinton said. “I believe America is ready for change. It’s time to provide quality affordable health care for every American,” ahe went on to proclaim, “And I intend to be the president who accomplishes that goal finally for our country.”
Strong words for someone who tried the same thing in 1994 and couldn’t make it fly, mainly for the same reasons it may not fly this time – every Republican within galaxies reach of her podium opposes it because they fundamentally do not care about the plight of the average American. The plan calls for “mandated healthcare” much like states that require auto insurance by statute, and would offer tax credits to help pay for the coverage while calculating monthly payments based on income. In other words, the rich would pay more, and the poor would pay less, or possibly nothing. The plan also bars insurance companies from charging higher premiums for those with chronic illnesses, and allows you to keep your current doctor and coverage if you shoose to do so. Of course the conservative reaction was predictable. The rich pay more? Well…we certainly can’t have that now can we? It’s socialized medicine!!!!! Damn communist Democrats! Who do they think they are anyway – helping the serfs?
Here is a brief summary of reactions from the field of 2008 Republican presidential candidates…
“I haven’t seen it, but if it’s anything like the last time around where they wanted to have a complete government takeover of the health care system in America with a huge number of new bureaucracies being invented for government, I will oppose it vigorously.”
“Hillary Care continues to be bad medicine.”
“In her plan, it’s crafted by Washington; it should be crafted by the states. In her plan, we have government Washington managed health care. Instead, we should rely on the private markets to guide health care.”
Thanks Mitt. If want advice on having a harem, I’ll call you. Let’s leave the important stuff to someone else.
“Let’s not have HillaryCare – Hillary in charge of our health care. (Had to clarify what HillaryCare meant I guess…thanks for the heads up Rudy.) “Let’s put people in charge of our health care. (What is Hillary? A reptile?) “And the reality is the only thing that brings down cost and increases quality is a large consumer market, not government command and control. Government command and control only increases costs and decreases quality.” (I couldn’t tell by the $483.00 out of pocket my wife and I pay every month in the lower cost “consumer market.”)
In anticipation of such an acidic response, Clinton noted , “I know my Republican opponents will try to equate this plan with government-run health care. Well don’t let them fool you again…” Clinton went on to say that her plan would allow participants to “keep the doctors you know and trust” while it would expand “personal choice” and keep costs down.
Sounds good to me. Realistically, can it be worse than what is going on now? What do we want – greasy corporate pigs sucking us white in the name of profit as 47 million of us go without, or do we give Hillary, or anything else for that matter, a shot? I say let’s try it. All we have to do now is wait to see if the Republicans try to screw us again in the name of their corporate pay masters?
Kevin Everett of the Buffalo Bills voluntarily moved his arms and legs on Tuesday when awakened, prompting a neurosurgeon to say the Buffalo Bills’ tight end would walk again. Just one day before, the prognosis was grim.
“Based on our experience, the fact that he’s moving so well, so early after such a catastrophic injury means he will walk again,” said Dr. Barth Green, neurological surgeon at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
Green said he’s been consulting with doctors in Buffalo since Everett suffered an injury at the beginning of the second half. At full speed, the hit to Everett didn’t look like much, but was enough to cause a life threatening injury after ducking his head while tackling the Denver Broncos’ Domenik Hixon. Everett dropped face-first to the ground after his helmet hit Hixon high on the left shoulder and side of the helmet.
Asked whether Everett will have a chance to fully recover, Green said: “It’s feasible, but it’s not 100 percent predictable at this time. … But it’s feasible he could lead a normal life.”
In a report Tuesday evening, Buffalo’s WIVB-TV in Buffalo quoted Cappuccino as saying: “We may be witnessing a minor miracle.” Bills owner Ralph Wilson said the team has been in contact from the beginning with doctors in Miami and the news appears to be very promising.
Everett’s agent, Brian Overstreet, also said Everett’s mother told him the player moved his arms and legs when awakened from a deeply sedated sleep.
“I don’t know if I would call it a miracle. I would call it a spectacular example of what people can do,” Green said. “To me, it’s like putting the first man on the moon or splitting the atom. We’ve shown that if the right treatment is given to people who have a catastrophic injury that they could walk away from it.”
Green said the key was the quick action taken by Cappuccino to run an ice-cold saline solution through Everett’s system which effectively put him in a hypothermic state. “We’ve been doing a protocol on humans and having similar experiences for many months now,” Green said. “But this is the first time I’m aware of that the doctor was with the patient when he was injured and the hypothermia was started within minutes of the injury. We know the earlier it’s started, the better.”
Everett remains in intensive care and will be slowly taken off sedation and have his body temperature warmed over the next day, Green said. Doctors will also take the player off a respirator.
“It’s an amazing group of circumstances. It’s a home run. It’s a touchdown,” Green said.
All of us here in Buffalo wish Everett and his family the best and we are all pulling for a speedy and full recovery.
I did it. Earlier this year my dentist solemly informed me that I had advanced Periodontis, and advised me that if I wished to have a continuing relationship with most of my teeth, I should get in the neighborhood of $2000.00 worth of dental work done immediately. I had no problem with the dental procedure part, however I did have an issue with the ‘immediate’ part. What to do??? My dental coverage only paid for approximately half of the proposed procedure – the other half would have to come from…somewhere else. In my case, the somewhere else would be my HSBC Discover account.
Zero-interest financing, a typical sales incentive at car dealerships, is now being utilized by the medical retail industry (as I have come to call it) as a marketing tool to woo clients (customers as I have come to call them) to the newest big-ticket market – expensive medical stuff your insufficient insurance policy doesn’t pay for.
When first introduced by companies like GE Capital and Capital One Bank, this type of low or no interest financing was used primarily for procedures like laser eye surgery, $6,000 ceramic tooth implants (or other implants not rated PG), not typically covered by insurance. Of course, going into debt to pay for medical procedures is nothing new for many people, however as health costs continue to sky-rocket, large corporate lenders will invariably prey on the middle class with higher interest rates and procedure rates (sticker prices as I have come to call them).
Big insurers, too, are devising new financing plans with various kickbacks to doctors. Casual observation of the ‘market’ suggests that rising deductibles, unfair co-payments and the shear fact that Americans aren’t making as much or saving as much money as their parents did, may force more of the nation’s 40 million uninsured people to finance out-of-pocket expenses for even basic medical care.
Is there no limit to the depth’s the corporate power and money elite will sink to in the name of driving this sham debt-driven economy to preserve our democratic village, even if that means burning the village to the ground in the process? When are we, the screwed, going to stand up and demand fundamental change in our laws to protect the middle class from these predatory vultures? It’s a disgrace. Again I ask, where is my Democratic Party?