From Volume 36, Issue 36 of EIR Online, Published Sept. 18, 2009

United States News Digest

Palin Calls Obama Out on Death Panels

Sept. 9 (EIRNS)—In an op-ed titled "Obama and the Bureaucratization of Health Care," in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, the day President Barack Obama was to address a joint session of Congress on his Nazi "health-care" bill, former Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin explicitly denounced Obama's proposed Independent Medicare Advisory Council (IMAC) policy, to document what she had earlier called the administration's "death panels":

"He's asked Congress to create an Independent Medicare Advisory Council—an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts charged with containing Medicare costs. In an interview with the New York Times in April, the president suggested that such a group, working outside of normal political channels, should guide decisions regarding that 'huge driver of cost [for] the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives.' Given such statements, is it any wonder that many of the sick and elderly are concerned that the Democrats' proposals will ultimately lead to rationing of their health care by—dare I say it—death panels? Establishment voices dismissed that phrase, but it rang true for many Americans. Working through 'normal political channels', they made themselves heard, and as a result Congress will likely reject a wrong-headed proposal to authorize end-of-life counseling in this cost-cutting context. But the fact remains that the Democrats' proposals would still empower unelected bureaucrats to make decisions affecting life and death health care matters."

Grassley Defends Warning Against British-Style Euthanasia

Sept. 9 (EIRNS)—Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), one of the "Gang of Six" bipartisan team supposedly working to come up with a Senate version of the President's health-care bill, was challenged in a C-SPAN interview on Sept. 8, on his statement that the Obama plan wanted to "pull the plug on Grandma"—but Grassley stood his ground. Explaining that he had made this statement in the heat of a town meeting, he then said that the debate on the bill was indeed heading in this direction: "Connect the dots—you've got a concern on saving money, a concern about a government-sponsored health plan, and you have the VA [Veterans Administration] putting out a book telling doctors they must get involved in end of life issues. You put all of that together ... and everybody figures that the government is going to be in the middle of end of life issues, just like they are in England."

Congressman Demands Obama's Czars Testify Before Congress

Sept. 9 (EIRNS)—The day after Lyndon LaRouche's Sept. 8 webcast address attacking President Obama's adoption of the "unitary executive" dictatorial principle, as reflected in his adoption of "signing statements" and unconstitutional "czars," Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) called for the President's "czars," or appointed high-level advisors, to testify before Congress about their "authority and responsibilities" in the Executive branch. McHenry wrote to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), asking the officials to testify. "If the czars have high-level, decision-making authority as their titles would indicate, then it is my concern that their appointment without Senate approval represents a circumvention of our Constitutionally mandated confirmation process," McHenry, who is a member of the committee, said in his letter.

Baucus Wears Obama Mustache; Senate Bill Is Murderous

Sept. 8 (EIRNS)—Pushed by President Barack Obama, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) unveiled his health-care "reform" legislative proposal on Sept. 7, and it is full of measures for denial of medical care, in line with Obama's Nazi-modelled euthanasia thrust. This character of Baucus's proposed "bipartisan" Senate bill is more significant than the much-reported facts: that it sets up no "public option"; and that it taxes existing health benefits to pay for bringing in millions of new customers for the HMOs. The Baucus bill, toward which the White House is now pushing the House Democratic leaders, confirms Lyndon LaRouche's assessment of Obama's health-care "reform" as modeled on Hitler's T-4 euthanasia program.

* In Medicaid, the Baucus bill defines thinly veiled "pre-existing conditions" for denial of care, simply changing the name to "preventable conditions." "The Secretary would also establish procedures for and provide grants to states to collect and voluntarily report health care quality data for Medicaid-eligible adults. Additionally, the Secretary, in consultation with states, would be required to identify specific preventable health care acquired conditions [obesity-related, smoking-related, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions—ed.] and would prohibit payments for services related to such conditions."

* In Medicare, Baucus would create a Medicare Commission (MC)—what OMB director and behaviorist economist Peter Orszag drafted as the Independent Medicare Advisory Commission (IMAC). Since LaRouche has destroyed IMAC politically in this Summer's mass strike ferment, Baucus uses a different term for the same thing. His MC "would submit proposals to Congress to extend Medicare solvency and improve quality in the Medicare program. Congress would have an opportunity to ... pass an alternative proposal with an equivalent amount of budgetary savings. Should Congress not pass an alternative measure, the Secretary of HHS would be required to implement the provisions included in the original MC proposal." The MC's purpose would be "to reduce annual market basket [payment] updates for hospitals, home health providers, nursing homes, hospice providers, long-term care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities, including adjustments to reflect expected gains in productivity."

* A second national board, "comprised of health care providers, experts, and stakeholders," would be set up "to identify physicians' services that are overvalued in the Medicare physician fee schedule. In consultation with the expert panel, the Secretary would be required to adjust payments for those services...."

* A "Physician Value-Based Purchasing" provision would "require all eligible health professionals to participate by 2011, establishing payment incentives for physicians to appropriately order high-cost imaging services, expanding the Medicare physician feedback program, and penalizing physicians who utilize significantly more resources than their peers.

* A "Hospital Value-Based Purchasing" provision would tie "a percentage of hospital payment" to hospital outcomes with patients "related to common and high-cost conditions, such as cardiac, surgical and pneumonia care." The more serious the patient's condition, the greater risk the hospital is then taking in treating the person, of having its overall payments cut.

The same is imposed on home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, and other medical care providers.

* A "Reducing Avoidable Hospital Readmissions" provision "would direct CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a Federal agency] to track national and hospital-specific data on the readmission rates of Medicare participating hospitals for certain high-cost conditions that have high rates of potentially avoidable hospital readmissions. Starting in 2011, hospitals with readmission rates above a certain threshold would have payments for the original hospitalization reduced by 20%...."

* Medicare payments to hospitals for treatment of uninsured, non-paying patients would be progressively cut starting in FY 2015.

Machinists Head Challenges Obama 'Recovery' Propaganda

Sept. 8 (EIRNS)—In sharp contrast to President Obama's lying "recovery" propaganda in his Cincinnati Labor Day speech, Tom Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, proposed to "Dedicate this Labor Day to Those Not Working."

In an op-ed in the Wichita Eagle, Buffenbarger ripped into the Administration's fraudulent unemployment statistics, and came up with a realistic number of 30.5 million, or 19.7%, unemployment. He then wrote: "So here's my suggestion: Let's dramatically change the nature of Labor Day. A member of the Machinists union, Matthew McGuire, is credited with the idea of setting aside one day a year to celebrate work, and to give people a chance to enjoy a day off with their family and friends. But with 30.5 million of us idled to some degree, it seems to me that this is no time to celebrate the work we do. Instead, let's dedicate this Labor Day to those who are not working."

Buffenbarger was the most outspoken labor official in opposition to Barack Obama during the 2008 Presidential primary campaign.

GOP Mainstream Picks Up LaRouche's Obama-Hitler Polemic

Sept. 10 (EIRNS)—"The Obama-Hitler issue came from Lyndon LaRouche and Anton Chaitkin," Daily Beast right-wing profiler Max Blumenthal warned today on NPR's "Fresh Air" program, in an ineffective effort at slander: "Anton Chaitkin describes himself as an historian, but he is associated with Lyndon LaRouche! He publicly accused [Obama health advisor] Ezekiel Emanuel of a plan for Hitler death panels based on Hitler's T-4 program. He did this long before anyone else did it, in a public forum....

"LaRouche began to distribute leaflets with Obama wearing a Hitler mustache. Right-wing groups adopted this rhetoric. Subsequently, mainstream Republicans began echoing LaRouche. Like Sarah Palin, talking about death panels. And Sen. Grassley, the senior Senator from Iowa...."

Someone should explain to poor Blumenthal, that's how leadership works.

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