Obama’s health care plans and Republican hysteria

This video from the USA is called Fox News Continues to Attack President Obama.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

What is behind the opposition to the Obama healthcare plan?

12 August 2009

President Obama’s proposed restructuring of the US healthcare system has come under ferocious attack over the past week. Right-wing activists, in many cases organized by groups affiliated with the Republican Party or financed by sections of the healthcare industry, turned out at town hall meetings to shout down Democratic congressmen or Obama aides. There have been death threats and some actual violence.

The right-wing attack combines hysterical distortion of the provisions of the Obama plan (frequently, and falsely, branded as “socialized medicine”) with an appeal to the concerns of wide layers of the American population who sense, quite correctly, that the healthcare restructuring being promoted in Washington will come at their expense and will benefit only the big corporate interests.

Chief among the distortions has been the claim, fostered most notably by former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, that the Obama plan promotes euthanasia and that millions of elderly people will be hauled before a federal “death panel” to decide whether paying for their healthcare was warranted based on their “level of productivity in society.”

Sarah Palin cartoon

The actual provision, Section 1323 of one version of legislation that has passed one committee in the House of Representatives, merely states that Medicare will now reimburse doctors who hold end-of-life counseling sessions for beneficiaries who want to know their options on hospice care, living wills, and similar services.

Palin, who resigned as governor of Alaska July 26 in order to pursue a national career as spokeswoman for the fascistic wing of the Republican Party, is appealing to the same Christian fundamentalist elements who mobilized around the case of Terri Schiavo in 2005.

The popular disaffection with the Obama healthcare plan goes much further, however, than the fanatical right-to-life constituency. The Obama administration has based its program for healthcare restructuring entirely on the argument that healthcare costs are bankrupting the US economy and that controlling and reducing these costs is essential. …

The real relationship of Obama and the Democrats to the insurance industry was far more accurately described by BusinessWeek magazine in its current cover story on healthcare “reform,” headlined, “The Health Insurers Have Already Won.” The magazine details how UnitedHealthGroup, the largest US health insurer, has used its influence in Washington, particularly with conservative congressional Democrats in the “Blue Dog” caucus and Obama advisers like former senator Tom Daschle, to effectively dictate the parameters of the healthcare legislation moving through Congress.

The industry has already accomplished its main goal of at least curbing, and maybe blocking altogether, any new publicly administered insurance program that could grab market share from the corporations that dominate the business,” BusinessWeek wrote approvingly. UnitedHealthCare, Aetna and Wellpoint have “also achieved a secondary aim of constraining the new benefits that will become available to tens of millions of people who are currently uninsured. That will make the new customers more lucrative to the industry.”

See also here.

See also photo here.

This American’s Experience of Britain’s Healthcare System: here.

It probably comes as no surprise that conservative cable network Fox News opposes health reform. In addition to some of its major personalities promoting disruptions and even violence at congressional town hall meetings, the guests and commentators invited to appear on Fox News programs seem to overwhelmingly oppose health reform as well, according to a recent study by watchdog group Media Matters for America: here.

United States: Industry-backed opponents of healthcare reform react with racism, violence: here.

12 thoughts on “Obama’s health care plans and Republican hysteria

  1. Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters,

    The big insurance companies are lying to the public and turning out right-wing zealots to town halls to yell and scream and incite violence. It’s time to take back the terms of this debate. It’s time to show America what these insurance CEOs really are: billionaire rip-off artists who are amassing fortunes at the expense of the health and security of working Americans.

    Already, our new campaign Sick For Profit is making an impact on the national debate:

    Watch Robert on the Ed Schultz show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBi2hMK1G8Y&e

    Watch Robert in an interview with MSNBC’s David Shuster and co-host Tamron Hall: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICDKY5CwexA&e

    You’ve seen what an impact one video makes. Help us create more videos exposing these insurance bosses. We can win this fight but it has to happen now.

    Give $25 today: https://bnf.democracyinaction.org/o/552/p/10040/sickforprofit?utm_source=sfpemailup1

    Join the conversation:

    Sick for Profit: http://www.sickforprofit.com
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sickforprofit
    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sickforprofit

    Robert Greenwald
    and the Brave New Films team

    P.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is going to be speaking about health care reform on Thursday’s Senator Sanders Unfiltered show. Submit your video question to him today: http://sandersunfiltered.com/submit/?utm_source=rgemail


  2. Posted by: “bigraccoon” bigraccoon@earthlink.net

    Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:50 am (PDT)


    Jim Wallis on Health Care

    I am setting aside the formal columns, blogs, and interviews that are
    typical of my weekly communications and choosing instead to send you a
    personal and heartfelt letter.

    As a nation, we are engaged in making decisions about our health care that
    will impact our families and communities for generations to come.

    And I must personally share with you that I¹ve had enough of the
    misinformation and, frankly, misleading statements coming from those who
    oppose the transformation of a health system that currently renders the best
    health care to the wealthiest, depletes the savings of solidly middle-class
    Americans, and leaves 46 million people with no health-care coverage at all.

    We don¹t have to fall victim to the naysayers ­ those seeking to prop up the
    status quo and sustain the profits of the massive insurance corporations.

    Business as usual is not what we¹re about. It¹s not what change is about.
    It¹s certainly not what people of good will from all faiths, who embrace the
    Golden Rule and seek the common ground of justice and fairness, are about.

    During the last big national debate on health-care reform in the early
    1990s, the religious community mostly stayed out of the discussion. Not this

    A friend of mine recently traveled across several states in the U.S.
    visiting friends on summer vacation. He told me that, everywhere he went,
    people asked him to read e-mails they¹d received. These e-mails had no
    author and no citations to support the misleading statements about
    health-care reform they contained ­ including the false claim that, if
    health-care reform passed, it would force families to see doctors and
    receive care dictated by a government panel. This is not true.

    At a recent meeting of leading faith groups in Washington, D.C., a leader of
    a large, national organization said they were receiving calls asking if the
    elderly would be simply left to die if health-care reform passed. The answer
    is NO.

    These egregious and false accusations are being created for only one
    purpose: to manipulate and instill fear in American citizens.

    This must stop. We are the ones who can stop it. Together, speaking out,
    acting out, and joining as one on a mission, we can push back the clouds of
    misinformation and fear-mongering, and allow the light of truth shine

    Today, right now, let¹s join together making the health-care debate factual,
    worthy of our families and communities. Let¹s put the special interests on
    notice that we want real health-care reform, not misinformation and

    Sojourners has created a rapid response Web site where you will find what
    you need to fight for the truth: Sojourners’ Health Care Reform Resources
    http://go.sojo.net/ct/1p_t3Y61fEKV/ .

    At this Web site I want you to:

    SIGN Sojourners¹ Health-Care Creed
    althcare and let Congress know you stand for values-based reform.

    SHARE Sojourners¹ Guide to the Health-Care Reform Debate
    http://go.sojo.net/ct/1p_t3Y61fEKV/ with your church and neighbors.

    DISTRIBUTE Sojourners¹ two-page flyer http://go.sojo.net/ct/1p_t3Y61fEKV/
    with health-care reform facts and values at your small group or Bible study.

    USE the messages and talking points that Sojourners has created in your
    discussions with others.

    CALL your Members of Congress today, toll-free, at #1-866-279-5474 and ask
    them to vote for health-care reform.

    We must act.

    We must speak out in our communities, schools, and workplaces. If we all
    take part, then our voices will join thousands of others across the nation.
    Other things you can do include writing a letter to the editor of your local
    newspaper supporting health-care reform.

    I pledge to you that I will do my part by keeping you updated on what¹s
    happening here in Washington, D.C. Be prepared to receive action requests
    and notifications of conference calls that you should join.

    Together, imagine the thousands of faithful voices speaking out, in unison ­
    with all joining in.

    Together, we can bring about the most sweeping change to our health-care
    system in history.

    Together, passing health-care reform for our families is what people of good
    will from all faiths, who embrace the Golden Rule and seek the common ground
    of justice and fairness, can do. Join me.

    Together on mission,



    Canadians Back ‘Public Solutions’ to Improve Care, Poll Finds
    Posted by: “bigraccoon” bigraccoon@earthlink.net

    Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:56 am (PDT)

    August 12, 2009


    Canadians Back ŒPublic Solutions’ to Improve Care, Poll Finds
    by André Picard

    An overwhelming 86 per cent of Canadians favour ³public solutions² for
    bolstering medicare, according to a new poll.

    The survey, commissioned by the Canadian Health Coalition, is being released Wednesday as a pre-emptive strike.

    That is because the Canadian Medical Association, at its coming general council meeting, plans to stage a high-profile discussion about transforming medicare, and it will release its own poll on support for privately delivered care.

    Michael McBane, national co-ordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition, said he has no doubt that poll will show strong support for ³privatization schemes² but the ³language used in the CMA survey was so vague and misleading that its results cannot possible be interpreted as support for more for-profit medicine.²

    He said that the outgoing CMA president, Robert Ouellet, operates private medical imaging clinics and is promoting a personal agenda that is out of step with Canadian values.

    ³Canadians have told us they want to keep our health-care system public and to improve it with made-in-Canada solutions. They also have told us they flat-out reject Dr. Ouellet’s proposal to provide us with American-style two-tier medicine,² he said.

    In fact, Dr. Ouellet has explicitly rejected a U.S.-style system. In a recent speech launching a new campaign entitled Time To Transform Healthcare, he said: ³The U.S. is a very poor performer. Why look to a system that ranks below ours for lessons?²

    Rather, Dr. Ouellet has actively promoted European-style health care, with a mix of private and publicly delivered care. He is particularly keen on ³activity-based funding,² in which hospitals would receive funding based on the number of patients they treat and their efficiency. Currently, hospitals receive block funding.

    The new poll, conducted by Nanos Research, surveyed 1,001 Canadians between April 25 and May 03. The results are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

    Those polled were asked the following question: ³Thinking about the future of Canada’s public health-care system, would you support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or oppose public solutions to make our public health care stronger?²

    A total of 86.2 per cent of respondents said they support or somewhat support public solutions, while 8.2 per cent said they oppose or somewhat oppose the approach. The balance, 5.7 per cent, said they were unsure.

    ³With more than eight in 10 Canadians supporting public solutions to make public health care stronger, there is compelling evidence that Canadians across all demographics would prefer a public over a for-profit health-care system,² said Nik Nanos, president of Nanos Research.

    A recent report by Health Canada, entitled Healthy Canadians ­ A Federal Report on Comparable Health Indicators 2008, found that 85.2 per cent of Canadians were ³very satisfied² or ³somewhat satisfied² with health-care services overall. That level was unchanged from 2005, the last time the survey was conducted.

    UK health system hits back at US critics
    Posted by: “bigraccoon” bigraccoon@earthlink.net
    Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:03 am (PDT)

    UK health system hits back at US critics

    Raphael G. Satter, Associated Press Writer

    Britain’s health care service say
    it is sick of being lied about.

    Pilloried by right-wing critics of President Barack Obama’s health care plan, Britain’s National Health Service, known here as the NHS, is fighting back.

    “People have been saying some untruths in the States,” a spokesman for Britain Department of Health said in a telephone interview. “There’s been all these ridiculous claims made by the American health lobby about Obama’s health care plan … and they’ve used the NHS as an example. A lot of it has been untrue.”

    He spoke anonymously in line with department policy.

    A particularly outlandish example of a U.S. editorial, printed in the Investor’s Business Daily, claimed that renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who is disabled, “wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.”

    Hawking, who was born and lives in Britain, personally debunked the claim. “I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS,” he told The Guardian newspaper. Investor’s Business Daily has since corrected the editorial.

    As the debate over how best to look after American patients rages on,
    Britain’s socialized health care system has increasingly found itself being drawn into the argument. Critics of the Obama administration’s plan to overhaul US health care say the president is seeking to model the U.S. system on that of Britain or Canada ‹ places they paint as countries where patients linger for months on waiting lists and are forbidden from paying for their own medication.

    A Republican National Committee ad said that in the U.K. “individuals lose their right to make their own health care choices.” Another ad launched earlier this month by the anti-tax group Club for Growth claimed that government bureaucrats in Britain had calculated six months of life to be worth $22,750. “Under their socialized system, if your treatment costs more, you’re out of luck,” the ad says, as footage of an elderly man weeping at a woman’s bedside alternate with clips of the Union Jack and Big Ben.

    The online attacks on Britain’s health care system have been paired with strident criticism from Republican lawmakers.

    In an interview widely interpreted here as an attack on the U.K., Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa told a local radio station last week that “countries that have government-run health care” would not have given Sen. Edward Kennedy, who suffers from a brain tumor, the same standard of care as in the U.S. because he is too old. Another Republican, Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia, said that the U.K. and Canada “don’t have the appreciation of life as we do in our society, evidently.”

    The criticism, widely covered in the U.K. media, has clearly stung Britain’s left-leaning Labour government. The Department of Health took the unusual step of contacting The Associated Press and e-mailing it a three-page rebuttal to what it said were misconceptions about the NHS being bandied about in the U.S. media ‹ each one followed with the words: “Not true.”

    At the top of the list was the idea that a patient in his late 70s would not be treated for a brain tumor because he was too old ‹ a transparent reference to Grassley’s comments about Kennedy.

    And what of Republicans’ claim that British patients are robbed of their medical choices? False again, the department said.

    “Everyone who is cared for by the NHS in England has formal rights to make choices about the service that they receive,” it said in its rebuttal.

    Then followed a fact sheet comparing selected statistics such as health spending per capita, infant mortality, life expectancy, and more. Each one showed England outperforming its trans-Atlantic counterpart.

    The British government offers health care for free at the point of need, a service pioneered by Labour in 1948. In the six decades since, its promise of universal medical care, from cradle to grave, is taken for granted by Britons to such an extent that politicians ‹ even fiscal conservatives ‹ are loath to attack it.

    But the NHS faces significant challenges, not least a multibillion pound (dollar) deficit predicted to open up over the next five years. It has its critics too, particularly cancer patients who complain that the government refuses to cover costlier drugs, leaving those who need expensive treatments to pay for them out of pocket.

    Nevertheless, many in the British press bristled at the criticism from
    America’s right wing.

    “How dare the Republicans bad-mouth our free health care system?” Guardian columnist Michele Hanson wrote Wednesday. “If I’d been born in the U.S., I’d probably be dead by now.”


  3. Posted by: “Mike Hersh” mikehersh@mikehersh.com mike_hersh_dot_com
    Sun Aug 16, 2009 3:01 am (PDT)

    Whole Foods is NOT a company that cares for communities and they have built their brand with the dollars of deceived progressives. No more. Whole Foods’ anti-union, anti-health reform, right-wing activities do not deserve our support.

    John Mackey, CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on 8/12/2009 quoting Margaret Thatcher and suggesting that healthcare is a commodity that only the rich, like him, deserve. (see below) He’s contributed money made from us to Tom DeLay’s campaigns and legal defense fund.

    This boycott is gaining strength. Vote with your wallet! We have choices NOT CEOed by an anti-healthcare right wing fanatic. Most places have co-ops. Support farmers’ markets. My Organic Market is 100% wind powered and has great offerings. We have a moral obligation not to support right wing businesses. Whole Foods has the right to be as hateful and selfish as they wanna be. We also have the right to starve them of our hard-earned money.

    NYC Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/boycottwholefoodsnyc/
    Austin Boycott Meetup Sunday, Aug 16:

    If you are planning to spend your hard-earned progressive $ elsewhere, please call or visit your local store to let the manager know WHY.

    You can also call or email national HQ if you’d like:

    World Headquarters
    Whole Foods Market, Inc.
    550 Bowie Street
    Austin, TX 78703-4644
    512.477.5566 voicemail
    512.482.7000 fax


  4. United States: Industry-backed opponents of healthcare reform react
    with racism, violence

    By Don Fitz
    August 14, 2009 — St. Louis — Did you hear about the town hall meeting
    in St. Louis on August 6, where union thugs attacked a black
    conservative and sent him to the hospital with multiple injuries? Well,
    it didn’t happen exactly like that. In fact, events were the opposite of
    what talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly broadcast and what
    the corporate media relayed across the US.

    * Read more http://links.org.au/node/1205


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