Tag Archives: health

Insurers Spending $700K a Day to Kill Healthcare Reform

and how easily they manipulate the ignorant sheep/teabaggers into making idiots of themselves.
healthdoll
[lifted from Dkos; by mcjoan]

Wow, that could be providing a helluva lot of healthcare.

Washington, D.C. – A campaign finance watchdog’s analysis of insurance and HMO political contributions and lobbying expenses found the industries spent $126,430,438 over the first half of 2009 and $585,725,712 over the past two and a half years to influence public policy and elected officials. The group, Public Campaign Action Fund, found that in the first part of 2009, the industries were spending money at nearly a $700,000 a day clip to influence the political process and that the monthly pace of political spending this year has increased by nearly $400,000 over the average spent per month in the previous two years.

In addition to PAC contributions to our “public servants,” that’s funding 875 registered lobbyists for the insurance industry, and 920 for the HMOs. Which really is hardly a drop in the bucket for the industry, when you take into consideration their CEO compensation, which ranges from $3 million to $24 million.

Nice to know what our premiums are paying for, huh? We could cut out the middleman here. We could start giving all the money we’re spending on premiums directly to our representative and Senators. Maybe then they’d listen to us, the people who hired them, when it comes to vote.

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“Smart Choice” = “Fat Chance”

by "Smart," they mean "Fat."
WTF?
Is this Food Inc.’s response to Food Inc., the movie?

A new food-labeling campaign called Smart Choices, backed by most of the nation’s largest food manufacturers, is “designed to help shoppers easily identify smarter food and beverage choices.”

The green checkmark label that is starting to show up on store shelves will appear on hundreds of packages, including — to the surprise of many nutritionists — sugar-laden cereals like Cocoa Krispies and Froot Loops.

“These are horrible choices,” said Walter C. Willett, chairman of the nutrition department of the Harvard School of Public Health.
….
Froot Loops qualifies for the label because it meets standards set by the Smart Choices Program for fiber and Vitamins A and C, and because it does not exceed limits on fat, sodium and sugar. It contains the maximum amount of sugar allowed under the program for cereals, 12 grams per serving, which in the case of Froot Loops is 41 percent of the product, measured by weight. That is more sugar than in many popular brands of cookies.

Ten companies have signed up for the Smart Choices program so far, including Kellogg’s, Kraft Foods, ConAgra Foods, Unilever, General Mills, PepsiCo and Tyson Foods. Companies that participate pay up to $100,000 a year to the program, with the fee based on total sales of its products that bear the seal.

Michael R. Taylor, a senior F.D.A. adviser, said the agency was concerned that sugar-laden cereals and high-fat foods would bear a label that tells consumers they were nutritionally superior.

The letter said the agencies would be concerned if the Smart Choices label “had the effect of encouraging consumers to choose highly processed foods and refined grains instead of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.”

see if you can figure out this doubletalk:

Eileen T. Kennedy, president of the Smart Choices board and the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, said the program’s criteria were based on government dietary guidelines and widely accepted nutritional standards.

She said the program was also influenced by research into consumer behavior. That research showed that, while shoppers wanted more information, they did not want to hear negative messages or feel their choices were being dictated to them.

“The checkmark means the food item is a ‘better for you’ product, as opposed to having an x on it saying ‘Don’t eat this,’ ” Dr. Kennedy said. “Consumers are smart enough to deduce that if it doesn’t have the checkmark, by implication it’s not a ‘better for you’ product. They want to have a choice. They don’t want to be told ‘You must do this.’

How colossally obtuse.

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Who’s behind the healthcare protests? Follow the money.

moneyA couple more entries into the field:
link

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…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.

Earlier this year, Conservatives for Patients Rights (CPR), an anti-health care reform group led by the disgraced former CEO of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Rick Scott, began running a commercial attacking the British health care system. The TV ad runs through “tragic stories” of British citizens who it portrays as being against government-run health care such as the National Health Service (NHS).Now, the Daily Mail is reporting that two of the women featured in the commercial say they were “duped” into appearing in CPR’s ad campaign:

Furious Kate Spall and Katie Brickell claim that their views on the NHS have been misrepresented by a free market campaign group opposed to Mr Obama’s reforms in a bid to discredit the UK system. […]

Ms Spall and Ms Brickell both agreed to appear in a documentary on healthcare reform. But neither knew that the footage would be used as part of a TV advertising campaign carried on US networks.

The Daily Mail article goes on to note that both Spall and Brickell actually support government-run health care and were advocating for reforms within the NHS, not for its abolition.
–ThinkProgress

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.

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Whole Foods and John Mackey can suck it

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, wrote a guest editorial for the Wall Street Journal opposing health care reform. If you can believe it, the title is:
The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare
Basic features of this “plan:”

• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).

In the event that you’re not paying attention, what Mackey wants is for employers to pay less, and employees to pay more, into the health care system. Seriously.

• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover.

Those of you who were foolishly hoping that MackeyCare would at least prohibit insurance companies from declining care for pre-existing conditions are a bit disappointed now, aren’t you? So not only does Mackey want employers to pay less and employees to pay more, he wants the insurance companies to be able to provide less.

• Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

except….doctors don’t pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
malpractice

but you already knew Mackey was a liar, if you look at the some of the crap he’s selling at Whole Foods.

Mackey short: I’m not rich enough, gimme some more tax breaks, buy foods from me at inflated prices, and everybody should just donate to charity. Those people who’ve lost their insurance from being fired, or had their insurance cancelled because of a pre existing condition, or just plain can’t afford $5,000 a year per person, can suck it.

Well, John Mackey can suck it.

Whole Foods was a pioneer in organic food retail. Good for them. But what got you here, won’t get you there.
Now there are lots of organic options. And many of them much more socially conscious than Whole Foods. Let me direct you to this compilation of Whole Foods many regressive policies.
Mackey himself has a very dubious history of sock-puppetry on the internet, acting in unethical fashion to manipulate the stock market.

Whole Foods and their CEO/founder are just another greedy, regressive company that just happened to sell a trendy product. The operate under the usual monopoly tenets: High prices, low wages, and low standards. Mackey doesn’t mention that he’s telling his managers to cut back full-time workers to 70%, so he doesn’t have to pay benefits for the other 30%.

And now he’s trying to deprive the country of a much needed healthcare reform.

Not with my money.

Farmers’ markets, Safeway, Krogers, Trader Joes, there are lots of alternatives.

Boycott!!

p.s. Lanny Davis, you can suck it, too.

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Americans for Prosperity Foundation funded by industry to fabricate protests

These “protests” at townhall meetings are really a bunch of hired goons, bussed from state to state by people like Tim Phillips, who’s paid by industry. These are the people who are trying to prevent a reasonable healthcare system from being developed, one that won’t bankrupt the country or its citizens.
from ThinkProgress:

Last night on MSNBC, host Rachel Maddow interviewed Americans for Prosperity (AFP) head Tim Phillips. AFP, a group that employs dozens of field staff and public relations operatives, is a prolific creator of front groups to fight reform on clean energy, the environment, labor, and most recently, health care. AFP’s work against health care reform has included running a multimillion-dollar ad campaign, busing people from state to state to rally against pro-reform politicians, and collaborating with allied right-wing groups to organize disruptions of town hall events.

Trying to create a veneer of grassroots legitimacy, Phillips denied claims of running an astroturf operation and smirked to Maddow, “Hey I’m a community organizer.” Maddow pressed him to reveal his contributors, and Phillips eventually acknowledged being largely funded from Koch Industries, a $90 billion oil and gas conglomerate and one of the largest privately held companies in the world. Maddow then asked Phillips if his organization had ever been funded by ExxonMobil:

MADDOW: Are you, guys, funded in part by Exxon or have you been?

PHILLIPS: No, absolutely not.

MADDOW: No Exxon money.

PHILLIPS: Absolutely not. But I’ll tell you again, though, we would be happy to take funding from broader groups like that. […]

MADDOW: Exxon does list the Americans for Prosperity Foundation as a recipient of, in some years, tens of thousands of dollars, in other years, hundreds of thousands of dollars, even for things just like general operations. But you’re saying Americans for Prosperity, no Exxon money?

PHILLIPS: This year, we haven’t had any Exxon money.

puke.

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Movie review: Food Inc.

foodincA very good film, makes its points without being dreary; interviews make for some of the best footage. The take home messages: Continue reading

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Huffington Post: Politics and Snake Oil

enemaArianna Huffington may have a great business model, but it doesn’t include a very critical analysis of “medical” therapies. If you like enemas and hate vaccines, it’s the place to go…
link

…when it comes to health and wellness, that diverse forum seems defined mostly by bloggers who are friends of Huffington or those who mirror her own advocacy of alternative medicine, described in her books and in many magazine profiles of her. Among others, the site has given a forum to Oprah Winfrey’s women’s health guru, Christiane Northrup, who believes women develop thyroid disease due to an inability to assert themselves; Deepak Chopra, who mashes up medicine and religion into self-help books and PBS infomercials; and countless others pitching cures that range from herbs to blood electrification to ozonated water to energy scans.

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