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  • As good a summary as any:

    President Barack Obama sought on Thursday to persuade Republicans to support overhaul of the U.S. healthcare industry, his signature domestic policy goal, as the measures moved on a fast track through congressional committees with only Democratic support.

    A handful of Democrats on one of the three House of Representatives committees trying to speed the legislation said they also could not back the Democratic bill, but this was not seen as a major obstacle to its passage before both the House and Senate recess in the next two to three weeks.

  • And look who is supporting reform these days:

    The influential American Medical Association on Thursday said it supported the healthcare overhaul legislation moving through committees in the Democratic-led House of Representatives and urged its approval.

    Presidents, in the end, tend to get what they want. Big Mo, anyone? Pass bills, go hear it from folks back home in August, and let's see what September brings. But never underestimate the millions lobbyists are freely spending to oppose real reform.

  • Maggie Maher:

    Sometimes a picture is worth a million words. This graph, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities   tells you why it makes sense to tax the very rich to fund reform.

  • The Senate misses Ted Kennedy.

    "He would lend a gravitas to the issue that we’re kind of missing right now," said Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

  • Harvard School of Public Health:

    Americans expect swine flu to return in the fall, particularly if they are parents, a Harvard survey shows.

    A little over half of Americans think it is likely that the flu known as H1N1 will be widespread in the coming flu season, with almost two thirds of parents saying so, according to a national poll conducted four weeks ago and released today by the Harvard School of Public Health.

    Most of the parents said school closings to slow the spread of swine flu, a common practice in the hard-hit Northeast, would cause hardship. Half said someone in their household would have to miss work if schools or day-care centers shut in the fall or winter. A little more than 4 in 10 said they would lose pay or income if they had to stay home to care for their children. Of these parents, a quarter feared they would lose their jobs, with higher proportions of African-Americans and Hispanic parents reporting this concern.

  • Want to catch up on swine flu? The historian John Barry (author of The Great Influenza) has written a white paper summarizing it all.

    The question of whether school closing is worthwhile remains open. Models suggest that it is, but for closing to be most effective it must be sustained for at least several weeks and children cannot congregate in other venues. Both of these requirements are problematic, and the press has reported on the difficulties of keeping children away from each other during closures. It is unclear how much these problems undermine whatever benefits may accrue from closure.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:16 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  cumulative percent growth? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The BBQ Chicken Madness

    um, what does that mean?

    it is very dangerous to add percentages, if you don't know the
    math....

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:19:55 AM PDT

  •  What about the CBO bombshell from yesterday? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ozzie

    Obama 7/15/09: Health care reform: "It's time to buck up".

    by Drdemocrat on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:20:18 AM PDT

    •  Shhhh (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ozzie

      Doesn't matter. It's not like anyone but the very rich are going to have to pay for this boondoggle.

      Not a Democrat, nor a Republican. This libertarian is a free-thinker.

      by emn316 on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:32:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You mean... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ozzie

      http://cboblog.cbo.gov/...

      Under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, because federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run. Although great uncertainty surrounds long-term fiscal projections, rising costs for health care and the aging of the population will cause federal spending to increase rapidly under any plausible scenario for current law.

      Which is why Biden told the AARP we have to spend a tillion dollars to keep from going bankrupt.  Health Care Leg. is supposed to fix the run away costs of medicaid and medicare... but...

      http://www.cqpolitics.com/...

      The health care overhauls released to date would increase, not reduce, the burgeoning long-term health costs facing the government, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf said Thursday.

      "In the legislation that has been reported, we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount and, on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs," he said.

      Elmendorf said that CBO has not completed its evaluation of the House plan, but what it has seen so far does not represent "the sort of fundamental change, the order of magnitude necessary to offset the direct increase in federal health costs from the insurance coverage proposals."

      •  Elmendorf's language (0+ / 0-)

        Who honestly says "we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount and, on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs"?

        I don't know of any more fundamental changes that can occur that Mr. Elmendorf would like aside from single-payer which probably isn't politically feasible right now if there is any uncertainty as to the political feasibility of a public option!

        I wonder what type of fundamental changes Mr. Elmendorf has in mind that will both provide access to almost everyone while at the same time bringing down costs.

        •  He's right though (0+ / 0-)

          Elmendorf is just pointing out that the cost of health care is accelerating much faster than the economy can, yet the changes we are making will expand coverage while only making some one-time savings.  Elmendorf believes that taking away the incentives in the employer-based system for employees to buy the most expensive possible insurance premium would bend the cost curve downward, which would involve ending the employer tax exemption and having employers contribute a fixed credit to employees to choose a health care plan instead of paying for a percentage of the premium.  Presumably, he would also score increased use of hands-on managed care or increased cost sharing as bending the cost curve.  Comparative effectiveness research would probably get a very good score.  Then there is the sort of stuff MedPAC wants us to do, which involves changing the reimbursements physicians receive to reward quality of care and group treatment instead of quantity and expense of care by individuals.  Eventually, if costs continue to rise as they are now, we will have to explicitly ration the sorts of treatments we allow, which would definitely bend the cost curve downward.

          In other words, the only way to bend down the long term cost curve is by adding incentives and opportunities to reduce medical care per capita.  There is very little of that in this bill, which makes sense because reducing medical care is not a very popular prospect.

    •  The CBO report is only part of the picture. (0+ / 0-)

      The CBO is only charged with calculating changes in the Federal budget, not with costs spread out to states and individuals.

      This borders on criminal:  We can reduce costs while expanding coverage and improving care.  We're already paying more than anybody else in the world - by a lot.  

      Real health care reform will start by saying that patients are more than pockets to pick.

      Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

      by dinotrac on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:47:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ozzie

        We can reduce costs while expanding coverage and improving care.

        I've yet to see how that would work, Even if the plan is "budget neutral" for 10 years, I haven't seen anyone who really agrees this would reduce overall costs and save us from the runaway fed budget.

        •  It would take some serious change in the way we (0+ / 0-)

          do things.

          At present, we have a sort of oligarchy of entrepreneurs who get paid for providing services instead of protecting and furthering health.

          Patients, btw, are part of the problem -- that's why you see prescription drugs advertised on TV.

          Doctors must have wide discretion to act in the patient's best interests.  That discretion, umm, can be abused -- with encouragement from pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and Mercedes dealers.

          Check out how many heart-bypasses get done in the US compared to other places.  It's a big money maker over here.

          Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

          by dinotrac on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:54:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What do you say to... (0+ / 0-)

            the polls that show 70-80 percent of the population is happy with their current coverage and health care?

            I've even see polls that show large parts of the uninsured are happy with the health care they receive.

            •  That's the biggest problem reform faces. (0+ / 0-)

              People are happy with what they have.  That's very different from having something good, btw.  Bernie Madoff's clients were thrilled with their investments before the whole thing came tumbling down.

              That is, however, part of why I harp on real reform and cost control, that and the fact that I'm broke and live in real fear of seeing already too-high costs climb even higher.

              People who think they have something good -- even when they are misinformed -- will protect that something good.  That's why the Republicans are playing the fear card.  It works in this situation.  Democrats have not sold health reform in a way that resonates with people who are happy and might fear what is to come.

              Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

              by dinotrac on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 09:37:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I've NEVER understood that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dinotrac

            Patients, btw, are part of the problem -- that's why you see prescription drugs advertised on TV.

            I don't think any patients were pining for direct advertising of prescription drugs. Most of us can't do a damn thing with what passes for information in those things. I for one, have NEVER ASKED any of my health professionals if (fill in the blank) was right for me. First, I know that 40% of the time the answer will be "No, it isn't right for you: you don't have a uterus."

            But seriously, I didn't take Organic Chemistry and all the other higher level courses that would give me a remote clue as to how to judge drug effectiveness. Big Pharma simply figured out that going around our doctors and appealing to us directly would boost their sales.

            Single Payer and WPA 2.0...NOW!!!

            by Egalitare on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 08:48:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, in part, and (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Egalitare

              doctors often will not step up and do what they're supposed to do -- which is tell a patient , "No, that drug's not a good choice for you" or "Seriously, you don't need any medication at all.  We'll keep an eye on XXX, and if it becomes a problem, we'll deal with it then."

              The current system encourages doctors to look the other way in those cases.  They get paid for services provided and don't get paid if the patient goes to some other doctor who is less concerned about the patient's overall welfare, with the added bite in the butt that the patient will see the less concerned doctor as more concerned.

              For a celebrity reference, see Michael Jackson.

              Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

              by dinotrac on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 09:40:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  From a lowly nurse's perspective, re serious (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dinotrac

            change. I spend a good fraction of my day as a clinic nurse getting "re-pre-authorizations" for meds and treatments that have been helping patients for in some cases decades, because suddenly they are "now off the formulary" or "no longer covered by that plan." Along with a ton of other time- and money-wasting foolishness having nothing to do with health care and everything to do with profit.

            And that includes "free lunches" provided by babes in short skirts with a lot of cleavage pushing drugs for pharmaceutical companies. And yes, some of our patients do ask for drugs "as seen on TV," and the docs have to spend time explaining why they usually aren't a good idea (see, eg., recent studies showing diuretics more effective and safer for blood pressure control than the Newest and Greatest.)

            Many patients are either force-switched by "insurers" to "plans" that many docs won't accept because of their ridiculous terms, or defrauded by salespeople who tell them they can fer sure stay with their existing doctor. Most doctors have to pay dedicated staff to develop and exercise a load of speciallized and esoteric and constantly morphing knowledge to be sure the patient has "coverage," to fill out the forms "correctly," and to track billing and payment.

            And that's just a few of the bits to what from an economist's (or even my Depression-learned grandmother's) perspective is some of the bullshit wear-them-down waste in "the system."

            I wish more nurses and insurance specialists and coders and billers and receptionists and MAs and PAs and such hourly people who deal with the idiocy every day would weigh into this "debate." There is so much fraud and slack and baksheesh in the system that if curbed would pay easily for universal coverage.

            But it's pretty much a waste of breath to talk about this "feature" of the "system."

            "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

            by jm214 on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 11:11:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Let's see (0+ / 0-)

          If they do it right (a huge "if"), they'll be providing coverage with lower overhead than for-profit insurers and with a sufficently large pool to allow them to negotiate drug and service payments down.

          I'd also kill off all subrogation rights and legislate away workers comp medical payments, no-fault auto medical payments and the right to collect medical bills in any tort suit.  I might provide an exception for intentional torts but those would be extremely rare.

          Individuals and businesses would save a ton in premiums if you got rid of medical bills as recoverable damages.  People and businesses would squawk a lot less about the cost if they are saving money on their insurance.

          "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

          by gsbadj on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 08:32:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm trying to start a DKos weight support group (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, askew, Maudlin, triv33, mommyof3

    Diary is here -

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    The idea was Lineatus'.  Blame her.

    "The joy of activity is the activity itself, not some arbitrary goal which, if not achieved, steals the joy." ~John "the Penguin" Bingham

    by sheddhead on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:20:48 AM PDT

  •  Distribution of gains. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jds1978, Dar Nirron, Egalitare

    As the American worker has become more productive, the fruits of his labor have been skewed toard the rich. And it all started with movement conservatives who have all but RUINED this country.

    "I welcome death, but not subjugation." --Iranian protest chant

    by Eryk on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:23:06 AM PDT

  •  I might catch some Flak for this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rmrice

    ....

    "He would lend a gravitas to the issue that we’re kind of missing right now," said Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

    ....but Teddy and Sen. Byrd both need to resign so they can convelesce and their states can get full time representation in Congress

    "What has science DONE!"-Dr.Wierd

    by jds1978 on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:24:49 AM PDT

  •  Agree on Kennedy re: gravitas (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, Dar Nirron, brooklynbadboy

    But Harkin is no slouch either. I'd like to be seeing a lot more out of our other liberal lions.

    Still ittle disappointed Kerry hasn't picked up the torch for Kennedy. For a man that once told us he could be President, he's not been stepping up to the plate all that much on his good friend's top priority.

    So we've got the more, I'm ready for the better...

    by surfbird007 on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:28:41 AM PDT

    •  Kerry is on the finance committee, (0+ / 0-)

      and he is on the healthcare subcommittee. I don't think he wants to upstage Baucus, which would be counterproductive. But I have no doubt that behind the scenes he's fully against compromising with Grassley.

      "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra

      by brooklynbadboy on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:35:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem with Baucus isn't his ideology -- (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        askew, surfbird007, brooklynbadboy

        it's his competence.  Former Senate Finance Committee Chair Lloyd Bentsen certainly didn't agree with a lot of Democratic ideas, but he knew how to make things happen.  [Also, every Democrat forgave all of Bentsen's party sins with what he did to Dan Quayle.]  Baucus doesn't.

        •  Bentsen was one of the masters. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          askew, jim bow

          We have very few Senators of that quality these days.

          I often say the same thing about George Mitchell as majority leader. He got more done with 52 votes than Reid can with 60.

          "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra

          by brooklynbadboy on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:54:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'd say ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... Kennedy, Dodd, Biden, Levin, Durbin, and Schumer (at least from his House days) are as effective as George Mitchell -- Kennedy, and probably Dodd and Biden, moreso.  Hillary Clinton, the very definition of overachiever (except when it comes to health care reform and running a Presidential campaign), had the potential to become a George Mitchell, but she had to leave the Senate to help her Democratic President.

          •  Btw (0+ / 0-)

            I do disagree with you about Mitchell getting more done with 52 than Reid got with 60.  George Mitchell had trouble getting a $16 billion stimulus through the Senate; Harry Reid got a $787 billion stimulus.

            Reid's done an awful lot this year -- Lilly Ledbetter, S-CHIP, stimulus, omnibus appropriations (8% spending increase), Pecora Commission, national service, FDA regulation of tobacco, etc.

            Of course, Mitchell got the deficit reduction package -- no small feat.  But Mitchell also couldn't get the Racial Justice Act, which would overrule McCleskey v. Kemp, into the crime bill.  He didn'nt get a prohibition on the death penalty for minors, overturning Perry v. Lynaugh.  George Mitchell didn't get public financing of congressional campaigns, although Bill Clinton is to blame for that.

      •  In carrying the Kennedy torch, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        askew

        I feel he'd get a pass for stepping on Baucus.

        So we've got the more, I'm ready for the better...

        by surfbird007 on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:49:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Dodd ain't no slouch, either. (0+ / 0-)

      How many Democrats have run over the years on Chris Dodd's major accomplishments -- Family & Medical Leave, better child care, and Head Start?

  •  The reason the President wants the bill before (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, Catte Nappe, wsexson, timbuck, Egalitare

    the August recess is so he can shape the debate when we get to conference. I suspect you'll see a significant amount of organization as the bums head home to their districts and state.

    If we have no bill before then, I think he has made the correct calculation that this will allow opposition to build. Right now, he's commanding the agenda and continuing to outflank the lobbyists.

    "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra

    by brooklynbadboy on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:31:53 AM PDT

    •  I hope you are right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      timbuck

      And I hope it works.

    •  So... (0+ / 0-)

      he wants a bill before there can be good debate review and arguments against it... yea for open government huh..

      •  i hope the bill is passed before insurance (0+ / 0-)

        companies have more time to instruct their pr firms to gin up more bullshit about how great their solution is.

        "Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit." Edward Abbey

        by timbuck on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:51:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Same here that's why (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          timbuck, Egalitare

          we're against the clock on this one. They have no problem spending millions a day as long as they can keep this country from getting what every other industrialized country already has. Did you see the Bill Moyers interview with the ex-insurance company exec? That was an eye-opener.

    •  Is that the reason? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brooklynbadboy

      From yesterday's HuffPo:

         Dr. LaPook: Ultimately, philosophically, do you believe that each individual American should be required to have health insurance?

         President Obama: I have come to that conclusion. During the campaign, I was opposed to this idea because my general attitude was the reason people don't have health insurance is not because they don't want it, but because they can't afford it. And if you make it affordable, then they will come. I've been persuaded that there are enough young uninsured people who are cheap to cover, but are opting out. To make sure that those folks are part of the overall pool is the best way to make sure that all of our premiums go down. I am now in favor of some sort of individual mandate as long as there's a hardship exemption. If somebody truly just can't afford health insurance even with the subsidies that the government is now providing, we don't want to double penalize them. We want to phase this in, in a way that we have time to make sure that coverage is actually affordable before we're saying to people "go out and get it."

      I think the industry will love that.

      It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.--- Bertrand Russell

      by triv33 on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:48:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Senate preview (0+ / 0-)

    Saw this today in the NYT.

    If I were a betting man, I would expect to see something similar happen to the public option in the Finance committee.

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

  •  AMA supports it? We're in BIG trouble now. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsexson, triv33, timbuck

    If the AMA supports this thing, it means they see a pot of gold at the end of their rainbow.

    If they see a pot of gold, my poor thin wallet (I hate that my wallet gets thin so easily while I huff and puff for barely any difference) is in for a battering.

    I repeat my monotonous droning rant -- COST CONTROL.  It's apeshit ridiculous that American health care costs are so high AND CLIMBING!!!!!

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:40:36 AM PDT

    •  I don't know I think a lot of docs would like it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, askew, Catte Nappe

      I think most physicians are fed up with the amount of paperwork and arguing with insurance companies for treatments as well as reimbursements and some are even leaving medicine altogether. I'd be willing to go out on a limb and say probably the majority of physicians want a public option or single payer, aside from the radiologists and dermatologists and a few other specialties that are doing very well as is. At the medical student level, I know AMSA has come out rather fiercely in support of a public option.

      Also, I think while money is one (necessarily important) aspect, there is a lot to be said about a greater continuity of care. Some even hope it will lead to reduced malpractice (I hope this is correct but I'm not sold)

      •  Without question. (0+ / 0-)

        Something that untangles that snarl will be good for everybody.  

        Oops -- I said "Without question", but -- does either the House or Senate bill do anything to lighten the paperwork load?

        Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

        by dinotrac on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 09:42:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Is AMA mostly specialists.... (0+ / 0-)

      whereas the PNHP mostly primary care providers?

  •  Thanks for the link to Barry's... (0+ / 0-)

    white paper...  as a public school teacher and a parent, I am very interested in the discussions on school closures.  I know that we have attempted to get information together to deal with this possibility in my school system.  

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:41:35 AM PDT

  •  why is single-payer off the table? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seastar

    seems like the best approach to me.

    "Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit." Edward Abbey

    by timbuck on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 07:46:38 AM PDT

  •  Maher's chart is great! (0+ / 0-)

    232% vs. 20%. That's disgusting. They should be paying for the whole damn thing. If only the MSM would start pushing data like this instead of focusing on their cost fixation.

  •  What choice will you have? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seastar, wsexson, triv33, Willa Rogers

    First read Don McCanne's crititque of the choice actually being offered:
    http://www.pnhp.org/...

    And Jon Cohn's earlier backgrounder:
    http://www.tnr.com/...

    Now, Wyden's proposed amendments to improve the exchange are getting much attention from reporters with access to what is considered the mainstream Democratic view:

    http://blogs.tnr.com/...

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/...

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/...

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/...

    - Will the exchange let you choose a better plan? - Will public option be open to everybody, even if they have access to private insurance through employer?

    - Will it let you have free choice of physician, clinic and hospital?

    - How does the proposal avoid adverse selection, and public plan becoming the ever increasingly expensive dumping
      ground for sick, while the private insurance companies scoop up the healthy and wealthy?

    - Will it save individuals money while providing 100% coverge and access to care that is comprhensive when you need it? - Will it control overall costs?

    Just askin'

  •  The graph... (0+ / 0-)

    from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is an eye opener.

    These folks (in the top 1%)don't pay their fair share of Social Security either.

  •  UK - 55,000 cases of swine flu last week (0+ / 0-)

    Twenty-six people have died in England and three in Scotland, the Health Protection Agency said on Thursday, while estimating there were 55,000 new cases last week in Britain, the worst hit country by the pandemic in Europe.

    Link

    On July 2 British officials said they expected 100,000 new cases a week by the end of August. That seemed unbelievable but they appear to be on track.

    Link

    British projections on deaths:

    Up to 65,000 people in the UK could die from swine flu if the pandemic achieves it worst possible potential, the government warned today.

    The chief medical officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, said that in the worst case scenario 30% of the UK population could be infected by the H1N1 virus, with 65,000 killed.

    The best case scenario is that 5% of the population contract the virus, with 3,100 deaths.

    Link

    Tony Blair's wife has swine flu but is recovering.

  •  The Maher article (0+ / 0-)

    I think it makes a fairly good case for taxing the uber-wealthy to help fund health care reform. It's a matter of social justice. In the past 30-35 years, the wealthy have been getting wealthy not simply by making their own money work for them. They have had the advantage of a federal government that has made policies in their favor, usually as the result of them "buying" that government through political contacts and lobbying. The poor haven't gotten poorer by their own lack of merit, but because they have been systematically robbed of opportunities, a level playing field and a government that would protect them from financial predators.

    I don't think it's a mere coincidence that this Age of the Uber-Wealthy has coincided with the current health care crisis. Like the current financial crisis, the health care crisis barely hurts them. In fact, some of them of them (if not a good majority of them) are getting even richer off of it. That's simply because the federal government has allowed our health care system to be turned into another for-profit area for these uber-wealthy to exploit and manipulative unethically and ruthlessly for their exclusive gain. (And actually, for historical thoroughness, this stealing of America's health care started under Nixon--it's just it didn't get to really take off until Reagan was in office, and with his popularity and a GOP dominated congress, the government had less opposition to help the uber-wealthy than Nixon did.)

    The uber-wealthy have stolen Americans' government, its wealth and now its health care system. They broke the health care system, intentionally. They damn well ought to be the ones to pay to fix it.

    -8.50, -7.64 "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer." - Camus

    by croyal on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 08:07:37 AM PDT

  •  dogs (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.deseretnews.com/...

    EXCERPT

    Moderate "Blue Dog" Democrats, including Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah, found an interesting way Thursday to show that they possibly will act in unison to block a Democratic health-care reform bill, unless they win some key changes.

    They each delivered identical opening statements at a House Energy and Commerce Committee markup of that legislation, making clear their group will work together to seek significant changes.

    "We cannot fix these problems by simply pouring more money into a broken system," Matheson said.

    Saying the same thing were six other "Blue Dogs" on the committee: Reps. John Barrow, D-Ga.; Bart Gordon, D-Tenn.; Baron Hill, D-Ind.; Charlie Melancon and Mike Ross, D-Ark.; and Zack Space, D-Ohio.

    That voting bloc of moderates, called Blue Dogs, creates some difficulty for Democratic leaders as they seek to move the reform bill quickly, unless they give concessions to moderates.

    "Over the past several months, Blue Dogs have put forth substantive policies in order to achieve common sense and bipartisan health-care reform," each of the Blue Dogs said Thursday. "We look forward to working through the markup to incorporate them. I am committed to passing health-care reform that lowers costs and improves quality for all Americans."

    There is no stronger weapon against inequality no better path to opportunity than an education that can unlock a child's God-given potential.- Pres. Obama

    by anyname on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 08:47:40 AM PDT

  •  Public Opinion on Health Reform (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemFromCT

    I guess this is a no brainer and a given assumption for any discussion about health reform, but the American public is dissatisfied with health care in our country according to a new poll from Research!America and our partners in Your Congress-Your Health.

    In addition to these new poll findings, we are asking all members of Congress to respond to a questionnaire about health and research issues related to this hot topic.

    Constituents can use the site www.yourcongressyourhealth.org to contact their representative and senators and ask them to participate and share their views.

  •  pressing for ban on BPA (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.californiaprogressreport....

    EXCERPT

    Committee Successful in Labeling BPA Threat to Reproductive Health

    Democratic lawmakers vowed to press for a ban on a widely used chemical suspected of contributing to developmental problems and cancer, despite a separate state panel’s refusal to declare it to be a threat.

    "It shows you the effectiveness of the chemical lobby over science," said Senator Fran Pavley (D-Santa Monica), who authored a bill that would ban the chemical, bisphenol-A, in food and beverage containers for children.

    There is no stronger weapon against inequality no better path to opportunity than an education that can unlock a child's God-given potential.- Pres. Obama

    by anyname on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 09:00:41 AM PDT

  •  Health care reform due to bipartisanship, (0+ / 0-)

    Health care reform will be due to bipartisanship, not despite it.

    Has anyone pointed out that the administration has completely set the Republicans up on the health care reform bills?  First, the admin came in with calls for bipartisanship on the stimulus package and other bills.  The netroots have moaned and complained about this as a waste of time but now we see the payoff.  The Party of No is seen as dysfunctional and incapable of addressing any issue seriously.  It almost seems as most Democratic Senators have even grown tired of their colleagues whines.  If we get a bill passed out of Congress (or at least out of the committee) before August recess it will be without Republicans.  But I've noticed no public outcry about this.  We've all seen what happens when one tries to work with the Republicans.  Any Republican who seeks to work with the majority is attacked.  By next year, there may be a push back (finally) by the more moderate elements still in the party.  But now we have an opportunity to pass a good, not great, bill for health care and it might just happen.  The public is definitely ready for a bill passed only by Dems.  And the Senate is getting close to being ready (damn that Baucus!)  I can't believe it, but it looks like they might actually act and a large part of any success will have been President Obama's strategy of seeking bipartisanship early in his administration.  Many progressives will see this as confirmation of their hatred for even dealing with the Republicans, but I see it as confirming the wisdom of the strategy and bringing along millions of Americans, as well as a few Senators.  Good job!

  •  federal employee health care exchange (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    http://www.myleftnutmeg.com/...

    EXCERPT

       When I listen to the hysterical descriptions of what is in this legislation, I would remind many members to look at themselves in the mirror. Because what they are presently entitled to as members of Congress is exactly what this legislation is proposing to create for all Americans.

    Video:

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    There is no stronger weapon against inequality no better path to opportunity than an education that can unlock a child's God-given potential.- Pres. Obama

    by anyname on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 09:15:07 AM PDT

  •  Does anyone else envision (0+ / 0-)

    this dramatic moment during the final vote on health care, when Ted Kennnedy is brought into the chamber in a wheelchair but with the voice of a lion casts his vote for the bill?

    Whoever votes against what Kennedy's been working for for a long, long time will look mean and petty.  Oh, wait...Republicans ARE mean and petty.  

  •  Kucinich amendment passes.... (0+ / 0-)

    If the US Congress can't fix health care delivery, the states will be able to enact their own.

    http://www.americanchronicle.com/...

  •  "Gravitas," Senator Harkin? (0+ / 0-)

    Let me clue you in on the secret to "gravitas," Senator Harkin: It's the issue you're discussing that lends gravitas to the speaker, not vice versa. The allure of having a Kennedy represent an issue comes not from some special inner charisma they possess, but rather from their willingness to address big challenges with courage.

    On the other hand, if you are fishing around for excuses for not creating a universal health care system in America, don't pin your impending failure on a sick old man.

    That tends to suck out all your gravitas.

    Hokey Pokey: n. Boring, conservative sex to make more boring conservatives.

    by jimbo92107 on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 09:25:15 AM PDT

  •  Hate to be the one to say it but (0+ / 0-)

    If Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd are too sick to vote for the health care bill, then they ought to resign so that their Democratic Governors can pick people who will.

    "They don't think it be like it is, but it do. " Oscar Gamble, circa 1980

    by Spider Stumbled on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 09:35:09 AM PDT

  •  Canadian Swine Flu vaccine (0+ / 0-)

    If you're lucky, we'll share. ;)

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/...

  •  H1N1 fianally coming closer to a link (0+ / 0-)

    between pigs and humans in BC:

    The Fraser Health Authority, the district with the largest number of pigs in the province—and one of the most intensively farmed areas in Canada—has a 39-percent-higher rate of confirmed H1N1 cases per capita (9.7 per 100,000 people) than the provincial average (7.0 per 100,000), according to data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control as of July 6. B.C.’s first confirmed death from H1N1 flu occurred on July 13 in the region.

    The rate is even higher in the Northern Health Authority, which has the highest ratio of pigs to people in the province. The northern region has a 48-percent-higher per capita H1N1 rate (10.3 per 100,000) than the B.C. average.

    The data shows a near-perfect 93-percent correlation between the number of pigs in a health region and the number of confirmed H1N1 cases there. (Correlation measures the strength of the relationship between two groups of data. A correlation of 70 percent or higher is generally considered to be strong.)

    What are you going to argue now Smithfield?

  •  Help! My eyes are bleeding (0+ / 0-)

    after looking at Maggie's graph. Is this a preexisting condition?

    The frog jumped/ Into the old pond--/ Plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 06:11:23 PM PDT

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