‘Death panels’ were an overblown claim – until now

From DailyCaller.com:

During the debate over ObamaCare, the bill’s opponents were excoriated for talk of rationing and “death panels.” And in fairness, with a few minor exceptions governing Medicare reimbursements, the law does not directly ration care or allow the government to dictate how doctors practice medicine.

But if President Obama wanted to keep a lid on that particular controversy, he just selected about the worst possible nominee for director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the office that oversees government health care programs. Obama’s pick, Dr. Donald Berwick, is an outspoken admirer of the British National Health Service and its rationing arm, the National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness (NICE).

“I am romantic about the National Health Service. I love it,” Berwick said during a 2008 speech to British physicians, going on to call it “generous, hopeful, confident, joyous, and just.” He compared the wonders of British health care to a U.S. system that he described as trapped in “the darkness of private enterprise.”

Berwick was referring to a British health care system where 750,000 patients are awaiting admission to NHS hospitals. The government’s official target for diagnostic testing was a wait of no more than 18 weeks by 2008. The reality doesn’t come close. The latest estimates suggest that for most specialties, only 30 to 50 percent of patients are treated within 18 weeks. For trauma and orthopedics patients, the figure is only 20 percent.

Overall, more than half of British patients wait more than 18 weeks for care. Every year, 50,000 surgeries are canceled because patients become too sick on the waiting list to proceed.

The one thing the NHS is good at is saving money. After all, it is far cheaper to let the sick die than to provide care.

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Scientists Question Safety Of New Airport Scanners

From NPR:

After the “underwear bomber” incident on Christmas Day, President Obama accelerated the deployment of new airport scanners that look beneath travelers’ clothes to spot any weapons or explosives.

Fifty-two of these state-of-the-art machines are already scanning passengers at 23 U.S. airports. By the end of 2011, there will be 1,000 machines and two out of every three passengers will be asked to step into one of the new machines for a six-second head-to-toe scan before boarding.

About half of these machines will be so-called X-ray back-scatter scanners. They use low-energy X-rays to peer beneath passengers’ clothing. That has some scientists worried.

‘Potential Risk’

“Many people will approach this as, ‘Oh, it must be safe, the government has thought about this and I’ll just submit to it,'” says David Agard, a biochemist and biophysicist at the University of California, San Francisco. “But there really is no threshold of low dose being OK. Any dose of X-rays produces some potential risk.”

Agard and several of his UCSF colleagues recently wrote a letter to John Holdren the president’s science adviser, asking for a more thorough look at the risks of exposing all those airline passengers to X-rays. The other signers are John Sedat, a molecular biologist and the group’s leader; Marc Shuman, a cancer specialist; and Robert Stroud, a biochemist and biophysicist.

“Ionizing radiation such as the X-rays used in these scanners have the potential to induce chromosome damage, and that can lead to cancer,” Agard says.

The San Francisco group thinks both the machine’s manufacturer, Rapiscan, and government officials have miscalculated the dose that the X-ray scanners deliver to the skin — where nearly all the radiation is concentrated.

The stated dose — about .02 microsieverts, a medical unit of radiation — is averaged over the whole body, members of the UCSF group said in interviews. But they maintain that if the dose is calculated as what gets deposited in the skin, the number would be higher, though how much higher is unclear.

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Healthcare according to “Maxine”….

From Flopping Aces:

Let me get this straight… We are trying to pass passed a health care plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it but exempts themselves from it, to be signed by a president that also hasn’t read it and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that’s broke.

What could possibly go wrong?

… nuff said, Maxine. Couldn’t have done it better myself…. LOL

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Hallmark’s Shoebox Greetings artist, John Wagner.

Doctor tells Obama supporters: Go elsewhere for health care

From OrlandoSentinel.com:

Sign at the office door of Dr. Jack Cassell, a Mount Dora urologist.

Sign at the office door of Dr. Jack Cassell, a Mount Dora urologist. (Photo by Deirdre Lewis / April 1, 2010)

MOUNT DORA — A doctor who considers the national health-care overhaul to be bad medicine for the country posted a sign on his office door telling patients who voted for President Barack Obama to seek care “elsewhere.”

“I’m not turning anybody away — that would be unethical,” Dr. Jack Cassell, 56, a Mount Dora urologist and a registered Republican opposed to the health plan, told the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday. “But if they read the sign and turn the other way, so be it.”

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Outrage over Seven Hills West Public School putting autistic children in cage

From News.com.au (Australia):

A SYDNEY primary school that pens children with autism in a fenced area at lunchtimes should be investigated for human rights violations, the New South Wales Opposition says.

Parents with children at Seven Hills West Public School are angry that pupils with special needs are placed inside a fenced enclosure that has one tree, a bench and a dirt floor.

But the NSW Department of Education has defended the enclosure, saying it is used for new students with disabilities if they require more intense supervision while they adjust to school.

The school has 52 students with special needs.

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Up to 1,200 needless deaths, patients abused, staff bullied to meet targets… yet a secret inquiry into failing hospital says no one’s to blame

Coming soon to the USA, thanks to a government that thinks it knows what is best for the American people, regardless of what the people want.

From TheDailyMail (with video):

Not a single official has been disciplined over the worst-ever NHS hospital scandal, it emerged last night.

Up to 1,200 people lost their lives needlessly because Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust put government targets and cost-cutting ahead of patient care.

But none of the doctors, nurses and managers who failed them has suffered any formal sanction.

Enlarge   stafford

Relatives of patients involved in the report hold pictures of their loved ones outside the Moat House hotel near Stafford, after Robert Francis QC delivered his report

Indeed, some have either retired on lucrative pensions or have swiftly found new jobs.

Former chief executive Martin Yeates, who has since left with a £1million pension pot, six months’ salary and a reported £400,000 payoff, did not even give evidence to the inquiry which detailed the scale of the scandal yesterday.

He was said to be medically unfit to do so, though he sent some information to chairman Robert Francis through his solicitor.

The devastating-report into the Stafford Hospital-shambles’ laid waste to Labour’s decade-long obsession with box-ticking and league tables.

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Millions in U.S. Drink Dirty Water, Records Show

From The New York Times:

More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data.

That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage.

Regulators were informed of each of those violations as they occurred. But regulatory records show that fewer than 6 percent of the water systems that broke the law were ever fined or punished by state or federal officials, including those at the Environmental Protection Agency, which has ultimate responsibility for enforcing standards.

Studies indicate that drinking water contaminants are linked to millions of instances of illness within the United States each year.

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