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'National emergency' for H1N1 no cause for alarm, experts say
President Obama declared the H1N1 flu outbreak a national emergency over the weekend, but experts in infectious disease and emergency medicine say the public should not be alarmed by the move.

"This is not a reaction to any new developments; it's a proactive step, a useful tool going forward," White House spokesman Reid Cherlin says.

Anne Schuchat, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, agrees. "It's really more a continuation of our preparedness steps," she told USA TODAY on Sunday. The declaration will help with flexibility in case hospitals see a greater influx of flu cases in coming months, she said.

According to White House documents, the proclamation will allow the government to grant waivers that will enable health care facilities to set up alternate care sites if needed, as well as to modify patient screening protocols and transfer procedures, among other actions that make up hospital disaster plans.

"It will help save time and resources for those of us taking care of patients," says Dan Hanfling, special adviser for emergency preparedness and response for Inova Health System and an emergency physician at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va. If the staff needs to set up a remote area for large flu screenings, for example, he says they could now bypass some protocols to get the job done.

"The public ought to take some solace, some relief in this. It's not a suggestion that things have deteriorated in any way. In no way is the virus more severe or more difficult to manage," says infectious-disease expert P.J. Brennan, chief medical officer for the Penn Health System at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Both Hanfling and Brennan say their emergency rooms have seen a noticeable climb in H1N1 cases in the past two weeks.

The president's declaration comes on the heels of Friday's report that swine flu is still on the rise in schools, forcing many to temporarily close. The Department of Education on Friday reported 351 school closings in 19 states, but 45 schools in seven states have reopened, says department spokesman Justin Hamilton.

"We don't know if all those school dismissals were for administrative reasons, like not enough staff," says Schuchat. Closing decisions are made locally. But she says CDC's advice remains the same: "The best thing is to keep healthy kids in schools."


New ad asks: "Is Harry Reid Strong Enough?"

By: David Phillips

Las Vegas Democrat Examiner


Will Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) muster what is needed to make sure a viable Public Option (PO) makes it into the final Senate bill as he helps to bring both the Senate Finance Committee’s bill and the Senates Health committee’s bill together?


Democrats across the country are worried that congress will favor insurance companies over citizens because of the lackadaisical words they hear coming from the Democratic leadership in DC including those from President Obama.


While some of us got to watch on C-SPAN the full Senate Finance committee’s discussions and vote which ultimately passed by a 14-9 vote, we will not know what is currently taking place behind the closed doors where the two Senate bills are currently be consolidated by Democrats with Senator Reid at the wheel.


Just as we never got to watch the so called gang of six (3 republicans and 3 democrats) from the Senate finance committee craft there bill to bring to the full Senate Finance committee for a vote, we will not know if the final Senate bill will include the Public Option that is needed to drive the costs of premiums down through competition until Senator Reid and the others present a bill.


There are two recent polls that hopefully Sen. Reid has been made aware of.

First a recent poll in the Las Vegas Review-Journal showed that Senator Reid is behind in the Nevada polls by both current front runners from the Republican party.


The second poll that Reid should be made aware of is that the majority of Nevada’s citizens favor a Public Option. And if a Public Option is included in a bill that ends up on the President’s desk for his signature, Sen. Reid should have a decent chance of beating any republican opponent.


If congress votes in favor of the insurance companies over American citizens, you can be sure that just like an elephant voters will remember on Election Day.


A new ad broke today from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) that targets Senator Reid and the need for a viable Public Option in any health care reform bill. .



Watch it: "Is Harry Reid Strong Enough?"


Not all Snowe flakes are the same

By: David Phillips

Yoda’s World

President Obama said the other day that he would settle for a Public Option with a "trigger" which would kick in sometime in the future if the health insurance companies don't tow the line.

In some parallel universe that might happen, but in the reality we live in, it will never happen and insurance companies will continue to increase premiums where in a couple of years most everyone will be without insurance.

So why is President Obama willing to agree to this knowing that it's a bad idea?

Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) has an "R" next to her name and President Obama wants to be able to say it's a bipartisan bill, even though he knows that there is a good chance to get something better with a public option without her.

Why should American's be put off just so the President can say that it was bipartisan, and why would he think he could spin ONE republican vote as bipartisan.

It's time for President Obama to give up on the party of NO and it's time for the democrats in Congress to support their party leader


Adviser: Obama awaiting finished health care bill
By Steven R. Hurst
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The White House will not commit to health care legislation that would cap insurance premiums or tax benefits, taking a wait-and-see approach as congressional negotiators seek a deal, advisers said Sunday.

President Barack Obama will not demand that a final bill include a government-run plan as a way of driving down costs through competition, though that's his preference, they said.

"There will be compromise. There will be legislation, and it will achieve our goals: helping people who have insurance get more security, more accountability for the insurance industry, helping people who don't have insurance get insurance they can afford, and lowering the overall cost of the system," aide David Axelrod said.

Asked on ABC's "This Week" if Obama would sign a bill that ended the antitrust exemption for the insurance industry and allow caps on premiums, Axelrod said, "We'll see what Congress does."

A 1945 law lets states regulate insurers without federal interference.

Full Story


Rant: Health Care

By: David Phillips

June 22, 2009




I watched the movie Sicko last Friday, the Michael Moore movie about healthcare and I think Congress should ALL be forced to watch it before anyone says another thing about healthcare and how Universal Healthcare in other countries such as Canada and Britain provide poor coverage, because it’s just the opposite...


In fact those that say that Universal healthcare is a failure in those countries such as Fox News and Right wing talking head spinners are paid to say that, they don’t want you to know the truth…There is no profit in the truth…


And with the way things are in Congress, we probably will not get a Government Public health care option for Americans because the healthcare industry lobbyists have taken over this issue and the f%king Democrats are a bigger problem than the Republicans in Congress...


We are going to end up spending another trillion, let me rephrase that, we are going to give away another trillion to the healthcare industry and get nothing in return for it...


The NUMBER ONE issue for me the last several years has been a public health care system to compete with the rip-offs who have everyone bending over and grabbing their ankles when they need to get permission from HMO’s and bean counters to have some routine or non-routine procedure or test done...


During the Bush regime in 2005 the CBO said that by 2012, 150 million Americans will no longer be able to afford the extortion prices we are forced to pay if we want a health care plan...During 2007 89 million Americans went without any coverage for part or all of that year...


Universal Health care would be the best possible stimulus for our economy both for business owners and workers because the competition would lower the premiums that Health Insurance companies currently extort...


If Obama cannot get this done right ( a Public Health Care Option) with the numbers the Democrats now have in Congress, in my opinion, even if  the economy has gained back all the losses that we have seen and the loses we are going to have over the next year or so, President Obama will not win a second term in office…


You know, people lately have been saying that Obama has been on TV too much, maybe so, but it is time for him to use his bully pulpit and start naming names of those in Congress who are obstructing Health Care, including Democrats...Obama has got to know that this issue will make or break his chance for a second term so he will have nothing to lose if he pisses off the Democrats because the Democrats are the problem (and lobbyists), and they certainly don't seem to care about pissing off the President...


If not now Mr. President, it will never happen…As you once said; this is the time we all have been waiting for…


Don’t let us down…




Florida Woman Loses Arms, Legs After Misdiagnosis  
Associated Press

DAVIE, Fla. —When the sharp pain shooting through Lisa Strong's back got worse, she thought it was another kidney stone and expected the discomfort to pass. This time was different.

Through a series of mistakes, miscommunications and misdiagnoses, she wound up having her arms and legs amputated. She sued the doctors, who essentially blamed one another for what everyone involved agrees were profound errors.

Everyone except the jury that ruled against Strong.

The verdict came in the face of such overwhelming evidence that in a rare move, the judge tossed out the jury's decision and ordered a new trial.

As she awaits her second chance in court, Strong vividly remembers the day she became ill.

On Sept. 20, 2003, she was at her job at a mall and could barely walk. She went home, and hours later, the pain grew more intense. Her fever spiked at 106 degrees. She decided to go the ER.

"I told the nurse I had a kidney stone. I had a history of kidney stones," said Lisa, now 45.

But the stone was never treated, setting off a downward spiral that triggered a life-threatening infection and septic shock that starved her limbs of blood. Her flesh turned black as a "line of death" crept up her arms and legs. It didn't stop for a month.

"I figured if I exercised, moved around, I could get the circulation back. But it's like frostbite," she said. "My fingers turned black. My toes and the bottoms of my feet turned black. My fingers started to curl. It looked like I had held them in a fire, like they were charred."

A month after she first went to the hospital, doctors amputated her legs below the knees. Three days later, her arms below the elbows.

Two years later, Strong sued the doctors for negligence. Lawyers involved think so many mistakes were made, the jury had a hard time fixing blame.

But Broward County Circuit Judge Charles M. Greene reversed the jury's verdict and concluded the it was "contrary to the law and the manifest weight of the evidence."

Such reversals are extraordinary. According to the National Center for State Courts, judges set aside jury verdicts in only 78 of 18,306 civil trials nationwide in 2005, the most recent year complete statistics are available. That's less than one-half of 1 percent.

The two physicians — emergency room Dr. Laurentina Kocik and attending physician Dr. Jason Strong, no relation to Lisa — have appealed the judge's ruling. Written arguments are due June 1, though another trial could be at least a year from now.

Kocik, a 30-year veteran of ER medicine, insists she told Dr. Strong over the phone that Lisa Strong likely had a kidney stone. Dr. Strong works for a firm contracted by Lisa Strong's insurance company to make medical decisions if her personal doctor isn't available or chooses not to make the call.

But Kocik didn't write "kidney stone" on her diagnosis report. Asked during the trial if she wished she had written it down, Kocik said: "You better believe I wish I did ... a million times."

Dr. Strong remembers talking with Kocik and there was no a mention of a kidney stone. He also was not told she was in septic shock, so he went with a diagnosis of acute cholecystitis, a gallbladder condition unrelated to the kidneys.

Dr. Strong handled everything by phone, which is common in such cases.

"I did not come in this particular case because, No. 1, I felt the patient was reasonably stable. I was not given a history that the patient was in septic shock or that she was crashing and dying," he said.

Kocik insists she stressed the dire condition. She said she expected Dr. Strong to give a few treatment orders and immediately come to the hospital. She also didn't turn the case over to her ER replacement during a shift change because Dr. Strong was calling the shots.

"I needed him to examine and make his own decision," Kocik said. "I wanted for him to come in. I expected him to come in."

But he never did. And Lisa Strong waited hours to undergo unnecessary surgery, which further weakened her. Finally, about 16 hours after she came to the ER, a test revealed the kidney stone that was causing her life-threatening infection. It was removed.

Four months later, Lisa Strong got out of the hospital, a quadruple amputee.

Dr. Anthony Smith, chief of urology at the University of New Mexico medical school, said it is critical people get prompt treatment for kidney stones.

"You can get a massive, overwhelming infection," Smith said. "When we have patients die, it's almost always because they delayed coming into the hospital."

But Lisa Strong didn't delay in getting to the hospital.

Life has been difficult since she was discharged. She struggles to prepare meals with her prosthetic limbs. Her 10-year-old daughter, Chloe, helps her put on makeup. She's in constant pain and owes some $850,000 in medical bills.

Her 10-year marriage fell apart and ended with the couple sharing custody of Chloe and another child, 9-year-old Jesse. She gets by on monthly $1,600 in disability payments.

Lately, she has had misgivings about the new trial.

"I had decided, this is over. I'm moving forward. Now, this whole thing is back on my lap and hanging over my head. The more I thought about it, the worse I felt," she said. "Everybody says you really can't win at these things."


GOP out to Swift Boat Obama's Health Care Plans

David Plouffe

We knew healthcare reform would face fierce opposition -- and it's begun. As we speak, the same people behind the notorious "swiftboat" ads of 2004 are already pumping millions of dollars into deceptive television ads. Their plan is simple: torpedo healthcare reform before it sees the light of day by scaring the public and distorting the President's approach.

The swiftboaters are once again trying to sell the American people short. As during the election, we deserve a serious conversation -- not fear-mongering and deceit. You and I see the importance of healthcare reform every day. We can't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to face one of America's greatest challenges head on.

Passing real healthcare reform will be the toughest, most important challenge we've faced together since electing Barack Obama President.

But it's also a big reason we fought so hard to get here. I know that by working together, and speaking with one, determined voice, we can prevail over the cynics and defenders of the status quo. America's families are counting on us to do just that.


Medical Insurance and Drug Companies Fear Competition

The Free Market is dead

By: David Phillips

March 9, 2009

Yoda’s World


The White house announced a 10-year, $634 billion reserve fund aimed at expanding healthcare coverage to Americans who cannot afford the extortion rates that insurance companies are demanding. The $634 billion is just a down payment that will only cover half of those that need healthcare. Obama plans on waiting until the economy turns before expanding the coverage to include everyone who wants it.


President Obama plans on paying for this partly with tax hikes on the wealthy as well as allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire and needless to say that this announcement has angered Republicans, Drug manufacturers and Health insurance companies.


This past week Obama launched a healthcare summit which included the Republicans, Health insurance companies, Drug companies and various healthcare advocacy groups and in my opinion for the most part they will just make it more difficult.


President Obama’s proposal is to offer government sponsored healthcare as an alternative to the private health insurances companies which will target the 49 million Americans who have no health coverage at all. This plan could reduce premiums by 20 percent or more according to government officials. And this is what the Republicans, Drug companies and Health insurances companies are upset with, lower income to their bottom lines through completion. Cry me a river.


Nothing has been set in stone as to the direction in which government sponsored health care will go, but the two models that Obama is looking at are Medicare and our current government employee healthcare plans.


Obama is trying to appease both liberals who demand Universal Healthcare and the Drug and Insurances companies who don’t want to lower their premiums because of competition. Insurance and Drug companies have said that the competition could drive them out of business.


Republicans Demand a Free Market


Republicans shout out that the free market will keep insurance and drug costs down, yet in the last ten years small business has seen their premiums increase by 133% and our own government says that by 2012 more than 150 million Americans will no longer be able to afford healthcare. Yet Republicans are a broken record with the pounding on their chest to let the “Free Market” do its job at keeping prices low.


The free market doesn’t work; it’s a joke, a myth, total malarkey. Whenever a small business starts to make inroads in their market the big corporations buy them out to stifle any competition. This is true in any industry you can think of.


But yet the GOP for the last twenty five years keeps telling everyone that a free market creates competition which creates lower prices for American consumers. What a crock.


The GOP knows that if they keep ragging on the slogan “Free Market” that a large segment of the voting public will always buy into their lie, and they are right. Americans can see that everything around them always goes up in price and never down, but many still hold faith for a mythical free market.


Just look at how the drug companies and insurance companies are already complaining that if the government provides an alternative to what they offer they would lose money because of competition, and the GOP is standing by their side to echo their cries. For crying out loud, that is what the “Free Market” was envisioned to do, create competition and lower prices not make everything more expensive and unattainable for those that don’t have the sources to buy the higher priced “Free Market” products.


The GOP says that it’s not fair for the private sector to have to compete with the public sector. I’ll tell what’s not fair, and that’s to create an illusion that lower prices on healthcare or anything else for that matter will come about if we just let the “Free Market” compete within its own industries to lower prices on their own. It hasn’t worked, prices for healthcare outpace inflation, they have for many years now, why in the world do politicians in this case the GOP figure that if we continue to do the same as we have done in the past that we will have a different outcome in the future.


An Example of what a Free Market once looked like


When I was a much younger man gas stations use to have Gas Wars, a gas war was where an independent dealer would stick a sign out in front of his station with a lower price than his competition across the street, which led the competition to put out his own sign with an even lower price. Now the independent dealers are no longer independent and for the most part gas stations are owned by various larger companies and the only wars they now have is to see who can sell their products at the highest price. That was what a free market looked like, independent dealers in all types of industry, but as their industries grew the free market got smaller and smaller with bigger and bigger companies taking over the little guy.


Well, the free market for the most part is dead, and our newly elected President was voted into office partly on change, and part of that change was health coverage for ALL Americans, and if the GOP, Drug manufacturers and Health insurance companies wants to stand in the way as obstructionists, then the only other option is to push them aside or roll right over them.




David Phillips is a Vietnam Era Veteran, a Democratic Party Activist, and David is also the Publisher and Editor of the online political magazine YodasWorld.org

E-Mail Questions or Comments: oneyoda@aol.com

Obama Opens Healthcare Drive


Obama's Next Big Battle: Affordable Health Care
The President Gets Ready to Rock the Boat as He Tackles Health Care Reform
By David Muir
March 1, 2009

President Obama plans to move ahead this week with an ambitious plan to overhaul the country's health care system.

It is likely to be a messy and costly political battle.

The latest ABC News poll shows that 53 percent of Americans are concerned about being able to afford necessary health care, and 33 percent are "very concerned."

During the presidential campaign, both sides called for repairs to the ailing system. Now the question is: how?

Franklin Roosevelt couldn't do it; nor could Truman, Kennedy, Johnson or Clinton. Both Clintons, in fact.

But President Obama will try again.

There are 46 million Americans without insurance and that number is quickly growing, as the ranks of the unemployed balloon in this economy.

"The cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough. So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year," Obama told Congress Feb. 24.

Obama is asking for $634 billion in his new budget to be put aside over the next 10 years as a sort of health care fund. He says some of the money will come from taxing the wealthy and through trimming the fat in current government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

The budget calls for also taking, over 10 years, $175 billion in fees that the government now pays insurance companies to cover more than 10 million people in private Medicare. The administration has said that that such private plans cost 14 percent more than traditional Medicare.

In his weekly video address Saturday, Obama acknowledged that "the insurance industry won't like the idea that they'll have to bid competitively to continue offering Medicare coverage, but that's how we'll help preserve and protect Medicare and lower health care costs for American families."

Others that might suffer under his budget include hospitals, drug makers and home health services. All have powerful lobbying groups.

The ambitious plan comes during the worst economic crisis this country has seen in a generation. Health care reform wasn't achievable in even the best of times. Now, it could be that much harder.

Just today, the White House again offered an ambitious timeline.

"Look, we want to get health care reform done this year, and we want to do it in a way that doesn't add to the deficit and that also helps bend the curve over the long term," said Peter R. Orszag, Obama's Director of the Office of Management and Budget, said this morning on "This Week."

Orszag said that heath care "is the key to our fiscal future."

The health care debate is likely to pick up steam as the week moves on. Tomorrow, Obama is expected to nominate Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services and Thursday, he'll host a nonpartisan health care summit at the White House.


First-of-Its Kind Study: Medicare for All (Single-Payer) Reform Would Be Major Stimulus for Economy with 2.6 Million New Jobs, $317 Billion in Business Revenue, $100 Billion in Wages

Establishing a national single-payer style healthcare reform system would provide a major stimulus for the U.S. economy by creating 2.6 million new jobs, and infusing $317 billion in new business and public revenues, with another $100 billion in wages into the U.S. economy, according to the findings of a groundbreaking study released today. It may be viewed at www.CalNurses.org.

The number of jobs created by a single-payer system, expanding and upgrading Medicare to cover everyone, parallels almost exactly the total job loss in 2008.

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