Posts Tagged ‘Harry Reid’

A Taste of What’s to Come: UK Cutting Back on Operations to Save Costs, Elderly Hit Hardest

June 6, 2010

The case for repealing Obamacare grows stronger each day.  The harsh reality of Nationalized Healthcare is that it’s simply unaffordable over time, as we’re also seeing with Social Security and Medicare.  For proof look no further than the UK, where operations such as hernias, joint replacements, and cataract surgery are being cut back in order to save costs.  Sorry Seniors. 

From the Daily Mail via Gateway Pundit:

Millions of patients face losing NHS care as bosses prepare to axe treatments to make £20billion of savings by 2014, a top doctor has warned.

Among procedures being targeted by health trusts are hernias, joint replacements, ear and nose procedures, varicose veins and cataract surgery.

Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association’s consultants

He said primary care trusts – which commission care – are already compiling lists of ‘low value’ operations that would no longer be provided.

These include hip replacements for obese patients and some operations for hernias and gallstones. Procedures for varicose veins, ear and nose problems including grommets in children are also not funded in some areas.

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A Taste of What’s to Come: Greeks Riot Over Loss of Entitlements, Social Programs

May 11, 2010

Excellent read from Vasko Kohlmayer in the American Thinker on how the US, with our out-of-control-spending and record deficits courtesy of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, may soon go the way of Greece.

What’s happening in Greece is this: The Greek people are angry because their government pledged to make cuts in social spending.

It is not that the Greek government is inherently stingy. Quite to the contrary, the Greek government has been one of the most generous when it comes to paying for social goodies…so much so that for years it spent far more than it could really afford. Fox News correctly observed that “Greece lived for years beyond its means, borrowing money and spilling red ink to finance excessive government spending, offer socialized health care and provide lavish wages for federal workers.”

Things, however, came to a head last year when the country’s budget deficit reached 13 percent of GDP and its national debt ballooned to 113 percent of GDP. Faced with these figures, investors lost faith in the government’s ability to service its debts. To compensate for the risk of further lending, creditors began to demand high interest rates on Greek bonds. With the source of cheap funding dried up and unable to raise enough cash, the Greek government found itself on the brink of default.

Broke and humiliated, the Greek government applied for aid to other members of the Eurozone. Not willing to let the whole monetary regime go into seizures, they promised a bailout of 110 billion euros. But the funds would be disbursed only if the Greeks agreed to bring spending under control. Not having any choice, the country’s officials agreed to a package of austerity measures. Then all hell broke loose. According to the Wall Street Journal,

[H]ooded protesters smashed the front window of Marfin Bank in central Athens and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. The three victims died from asphyxiation from smoke inhalation, the Athens coroner’s office said. Four others were seriously injured there, fire department officials said.

It is something of a paradox that the Greek people still demand money even though their government is flat-out broke. Even the blind among them should be able to see that the state simply does not have the funds to meet the citizens’ demands. The country has only debts that it cannot pay. After years of profligate spending, Greece has gone bankrupt.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect in all this, from our point of view, is the fact that America’s finances are almost as bad as those of Greece. Lest you think it an exaggeration, consider these numbers. Last year our budget deficit reached a record peacetime high of 9.9 percent of GDP. Despite the fact that this was supposed to be a one-off contingency necessitated by the crisis of 2008, federal spending is accelerating.

In the proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2011, the Obama administration projected that this year’s deficit will reach 10.6 percent of GDP. This may come as a surprise, since the mainstream media have largely chosen not to publicize this disturbing fact. You can, however, easily see it for yourself by clicking on this link. It will take you to the budget’s summary tables. The first table is labeled S-1 and called “Budget Totals.” There you can see the figure in the third row of the table’s lower section. Also note that the table is tucked away toward the end of the long document (page 146 out of 179). So much for the promised transparency.

The situation is equally dire when it comes to our public debt. The present size of the American economy is just above $14 trillion. As of this writing, the total public debt of the federal government is nearly $13 trillion. This means that it currently constitutes more than 90 percent of GDP. Worse yet, the federal budget is poised to expand steeply in the months and years ahead. In a report the International Monetary Fund prepared last month, the agency estimated that the U.S. debt would jump to 110 percent of GDP by 2015. In light of this, the IMF issued an urgent call on the U.S. government to “move beyond health-care reform to restrain its yawning fiscal deficit.”

Stark as the IMF estimates are, the figures are understated. Given our current pace of borrowing, it now seems likely that our national debt will breach the critical 100 percent milestone early next year. The 110-percent mark will be then reached by the close of 2013 at the latest. And this does not factor in increased spending on health care, which will occur as a result of the recently passed health care reform bill.

It is important that we keep in mind that these numbers refer only to the outstanding public debt of the American federal government, which is only one part of the government’s total obligations. A far greater portion of our national debt is made up of unfunded liabilities inherent in entitlement programs, which, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve, amount to some $104 trillion. 

When we consider all these numbers, we will quickly realize that our government’s balance sheet looks rather similar to, if not worse than, that of Greece. In any case, it is patently obvious that like the Greek state, the American federal government will not be able to make good on its obligations.

You Lie! Obamacare to Increase Cost of Healthcare

April 23, 2010

Shocker!  Per a report from the Department of Health and Human Services, Obamacare will actually increase the cost of healthcare over time.   From Foxnews.com:

President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law will increase the nation’s health care tab instead of bringing costs down, government economic forecasters concluded Thursday in a sobering assessment of the sweeping legislation.  A report by economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department said the health care remake will achieve Obama’s aim of expanding health insurance — adding 34 million Americans to the coverage rolls.

But the analysis also found that the law falls short of the president’s twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years. That increase could get bigger, however, since the report also warned that Medicare cuts in the law may be unrealistic and unsustainable, forcing lawmakers to roll them back. 

The mixed verdict for Obama’s signature issue is the first comprehensive look by neutral experts.  In particular, the warnings about Medicare could become a major political liability for Democratic lawmakers in the midterm elections. The report projected that Medicare cuts could drive about 15 percent of hospitals and other institutional providers into the red, “possibly jeopardizing access” to care for seniors.

IRS Commissioner: Buy Health Insurance or Lose Tax Refund

April 7, 2010

IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman spoke at the National Press Club earlier this week and told the crowd that for those individuals who don’t pay for Obamacare, their payments will be taken from their tax refunds.  From the Daily Caller via Gateway Pundit:

IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman told reporters yesterday at the National Press Club that the government plans on punishing those who don’t purchase government health care by confiscating their tax refunds.
The Daily Caller reported:

Individuals who don’t purchase health insurance may lose their tax refunds according to IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. After acknowledging the recently passed health-care bill limits the agency’s options for enforcing the individual mandate, Shulman told reporters that the most likely way to penalize individuals that don’t comply is by reducing or confiscating their tax refunds.

Speaking at the National Press Club on Monday, Shulman downplayed the IRS’s role in enforcing the recent overhaul of the health insurance industry by claiming the agency would not aggressively target individuals who don’t purchase coverage. He noted that the health-care bill expressly forbids the agency from freezing bank accounts, seizing assets or pursuing criminal charges, but when pressed said the IRS would most likely use tax refund offsets to penalize those that don’t comply with the mandate. The IRS uses refund offsets to collect from individuals that owe the federal government a delinquent debt.

Harry Reid on Aftermath of Obamacare: “People are so nice to me”.

April 6, 2010

From his Greta interview which aired on 3/5/2010.

Obamacare Triggers Sell-Off in US Treasuries

March 29, 2010

Great.  November (pick a year) can’t get here soon enough.  From The Telegraph via Gateway Pundit:

The yield on 10-year Treasuries – the benchmark price of global capital – surged 30 basis points in just two days last week to over 3.9pc, the highest level since the Lehman crisis. Alan Greenspan, ex-head of the US Federal Reserve, said the abrupt move may be “the canary in the coal mine”, a warning to Washington that it can no longer borrow with impunity. He said there is a “huge overhang of federal debt, which we have never seen before”.

David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff said Treasury yields have ratcheted up 90 basis points since December in a “destabilising fashion”, for the wrong reasons. Growth has not been strong enough to revive fears of inflation. Commodity prices peaked in January and US home sales have fallen for the last three months, pointing to a double-dip in the housing market.

 The trigger for last week’s sell-off was poor demand at Treasury auctions, linked to the passage of the Obama health care reform. Critics say it will add $1 trillion (£670bn) to America’s debt over the next decade, a claim disputed fiercely by Democrats.

View the full article here.

Democrat Hypocrisy: Congress and Senior Staffers Exempt Themselves from Obamacare

March 25, 2010

From John McLaughlin in the American Thinker:

 From the New Ledger blog comes news reported by Ben Domenech of an interesting item in the newly passed ObamaCare legislation now being scrutinized in detail:

One such surprise is found on page 158 of the legislation, which appears to create a carveout for senior staff members in the leadership offices and on congressional committees, essentially exempting those senior Democrat staffers who wrote the bill from being forced to purchase health care plans in the same way as other Americans.

Sweet, huh?  Domenech explains that, during passage of the legislation, controversy arose as to whether Congress would commit to placing themselves under the same health care exchanges being mandated for average citizens.  To that end, the words were added to the legislation mandating that each Member of Congress and the Member’s congressional staff would have health plans created under the Healthcare Act.

Sounds great until you dig into those pesky details — such as the definition of “congressional staff” (emphasis added):

(ii) DEFINITIONS- In this section:
(I) MEMBER OF CONGRESS- The term ‘Member of Congress’ means any member of the House of Representatives or the Senate.
(II) CONGRESSIONAL STAFF- The term ‘congressional staff’ means all full-time and part-time employees employed by the official office of a Member of Congress, whether in Washington, DC or outside of Washington, DC.

Thus, by this definition, the legislation applies only to a Member of Congress and the member’s personal office staff.  It does not apply to the Democrat staffers employed by the various Congressional committees or the Congressional leadership.  Domenech confirms:
According to the Congressional Research Service, this definition of staff will only apply to those staffers employed within a member’s “personal office” – meaning that it will absolutely not apply to committee staff members, and may not apply to leadership staff.
 

Harry Reid on 9.7% Unemployment: “Only 36,000 people lost their jobs today, which is really good”.

March 5, 2010

Reid on Why Jobs Bill Should Be Passed: “Men, when they’re out of work, tend to become abusive”.

February 23, 2010

Liberal Bigotry on Full Display

February 6, 2010

Great read from Bob Weir in The American Thinker on several recent episodes that highlight the bigotry, and hypocrisy, of liberals.

“For an hour, I forgot that Obama was black,” said Chris Mathews, the host of MS-NBC’s “Hardball,” after he finished watching President Obama’s State of the Union address. Did Mathews mean that he’s not used to hearing from articulate blacks who sound just like educated whites?

Recently, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was quoted in the book Game Change as saying privately that Obama, as a black candidate, could be successful thanks in part to his “light-skinned” appearance and speaking patterns “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Did he mean that Obama wouldn’t have reached the White House if he was darker-skinned or spoke with the African-American vernacular English known as Ebonics?

In the same book, it was reported that Bill Clinton, when he was trying to persuade Ted Kennedy not to support Obama, remarked to the senator, “A few years ago, this guy [Obama] would have been getting us coffee.” Did he mean that Obama’s race qualified him only for menial jobs? During the 2008 campaign for president, Senator Joe Biden, referring to Senator Barack Obama, said, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Evidently, these folks haven’t spent much time around black people. Hence, they’re shocked when they come across blacks who are physically attractive, well-spoken, well-dressed, and who bathe regularly.

View the full article here.

Obama on Reid: “He’s always been on the right side of history”. Reid on Iraq: “This war is lost”.

January 12, 2010

Good clip of Obama defending Reid’s recent comments where he states Reid has “…always been on the right side of history”.  Obama obviously forgets Reid’s comment on the Iraq war where he states “This war is lost”.

Harry Reid on Obama in 2008: Light-skinned with no negro dialect

January 10, 2010

From apnews.myway.com in reference to Game Change, the new book from John Heilemann and Mark Halperin on the 2008 election in which Harry Reid referred to Obama as light-skinned with no negro dialect. 

WASHINGTON (AP) – The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate apologized on Saturday for comments he made about Barack Obama’s race during the 2008 presidential bid.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described then-Sen. Barack Obama as “light skinned” and “with no Negro dialect.” Obama is the nation’s first African-American president.

“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments,” Reid said in a statement released after the excerpts were reported on the Web site of The Atlantic.

“I was a proud and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama during the campaign and have worked as hard as I can to advance President Obama’s legislative agenda.”

Reid remained neutral during the bitter Democratic primary that became a marathon contest between Obama and then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom Obama tapped as the United States’ top diplomat after the election.

Reid’s comments are included in a book set to be published on Monday. “Game Change” was written by Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin and New York magazine’s John Heilemann; the pair describe the book in interviews during Sunday’s “60 Minutes” on CBS.

The Democrat Party is truly the Party of Hypocrisy.

Obamacare: Senate Bill Takes Aim at Middle Class

January 5, 2010

From Foxnews.com:

The Senate health care bill could end up hitting middle-class workers hard, through a new tax on insurance plans that could ultimately cut through to their wages. 

Both the House and Senate packages will have to be aligned and passed again in both chambers of Congress before a final bill makes its way to President Obama’s desk. Both bills raise money for the sweeping overhaul of America’s health insurance system by cutting about a half-trillion dollars from Medicare and raising lots of new revenue. 

The House bill raises it by imposing a 5.4 percent surtax on people making $500,000 a year or more — a strictly money-raising move with no impact on health care itself. But the Senate bill raises the biggest chunk of its new revenue through a 40 percent tax on so-called Cadillac health insurance plans — plans that cost more than $23,000 per family. 

And that tax, critics say, will trigger a series of changes that will result in billions of dollars in new taxes on the middle class over the next decade. 

First, the tax will hit plans widely used by middle-class employees. The majority of workers with the high-value plans are union members and state government employees who are not considered wealthy, even though Obama advisers like to say the tax is aimed at benefits enjoyed by the likes of Wall Street bankers. 

“A lot of those folks that have Cadillac plans have Chevy wages. And that’s what makes it, has made it, somewhat controversial and a real issue of contention,” said Jim Kessler, vice president for policy with the non-profit think tank Third Way. 

Second, some say the tax will make many of the high-value plans too expensive and slowly cause them to disappear — since employers could wind up cutting back on benefits they offer to avoid any passed-on price increase. 

Third, as those union members and other workers lose their health benefits, which are not taxable, the Senate assumes the lost benefits will be replaced by wages, which are taxable. 

Christina Romer, chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, referred to this scenario during a speech in October, saying workers could end up with more “take-home wages” that are taxed. 

“A smaller fraction of your compensation takes the form of health insurance — you actually see it in your pocket in terms of wages. Of course when you get things in your pocket in terms of wages, you pay taxes on them,” Romer said. 

In fact, the Senate is counting on raising $120 billion in new taxes over the next 10 years, the majority of which will come from the middle class. Another $30 billion is expected to roll in from the actual tax on insurance plans, but far more comes from wages.

“This is a big tax on the middle class,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, noting that 95 percent of people with the so-called Cadillac plans make under $250,000. 

Stewart Acuff, with the Utility Workers Union of America, said the House financing plan is actually “much fairer” since it taps money from the wealthy. 

“They got a $2.5 trillion tax cut from President Bush, and asking them to give a little of that back to provide one of the most necessary things in a democracy, which is health care for our people … is the fairer way to go,” he said. 

Acuff noted that Obama campaigned against the idea of a tax on insurance plans when Sen. John McCain, his  Republican rival, talked about it during the presidential campaign in 2008. 

But Obama has since embraced a tax on the insurance plans themselves, and unions are urging Congress and the White House to reconsider. 

2010 Resolutions from Karl Rove

January 1, 2010

Karl Rove sounds off in the Wall Street Journal with his list of 2010 resolutions.

President Obama not only left Washington, D.C., for the holidays, but the lower 48 as well. So I thought I’d offer a few New Year’s resolutions for him and others to come back to in the coming year.

First, to Mr. Obama’s staff: The Norwegian Nobel Committee didn’t want to wake the president to tell him about his prize earlier this year, but there shouldn’t be any reluctance to reassure the nation after a terrorist attack. Also, why not resolve to have a few less “historic” moments? How many can one president really have, anyway? A little more grace toward his predecessor would help him, as would less TV time. He is wearing out his welcome and his speechwriters—judging by the quality of their work lately.

In 2010, Mr. Obama should work on his habit of leaving a room of people with deeply divided opinions thinking he agrees with all of them. That leads to disagreements over essential issues, like the meaning of his pledge to begin withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2011 and the nature of the new military mission there.

Finally, Mr. Obama should work on meaning what he says. He didn’t last year with all those health-care deadlines and tough talk supporting the public option. Now Mr. Obama will pivot to jobs and deficit reduction. As he tries to do that, voters will wonder if it’s just a ruse to save Democrats.

Vice President Joe Biden should resolve to speak publicly less. Every time he opens his mouth, the West Wing staff uses him to make the president look good by comparison.

White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers should take a lead from Santa Clause and make her list and check it twice . . . at the White House gates.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano should resolve to take a systems analysis course before she again declares that a system “worked.”

The Democratic congressional leadership should resolve to come up with Plan B. After rejecting bipartisanship in 2009, they won’t be able to pass bills in 2010 with only Democrats. Too many vulnerable Democrats will flake on big votes.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi-who has reportedly let it be known that she is comfortable with losing scores of House seats to pass ObamaCare-might resolve to treat her pet Blue Dogs a little better.  As for the Blue Dogs, why not resolve to become Republicans?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should resolve to strive for a little less unity in his caucus and in the meantime enjoy this term in office. It’s likely to be his last unless Nevada Republicans tear themselves apart next year for the privilege of running against him.

Republican congressional leaders should resolve not to sit on their laurels. They’re winning the battle for public opinion on health care, cap and trade, and spending, but by next fall, it won’t be enough to surf voter dissatisfaction with Mr. Obama and Democrats. Voters will want to know what Republican candidates would do.

A second Contract with America won’t suffice. The GOP really won in 1994 by arming candidates with a basket of issues to pick from. Next year, candidates must be fluent in kitchen-table issues from jobs to health care to deficits to spending.

Ambitious Republicans should resolve to run next year. There will be a wave of voter support for GOP positions, but authenticity, passion and conviction matter. Voters can smell them, so bone up on the issues and say what you believe, not what someone tells you to say.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine should resolve not to blame himself for the coming political tsunami that’ll hit his party next November. He should press Mr. Obama to raise lots of money to spend on close races in states where Democrats are in charge of redistricting. If not, he’ll face a very ugly 2012 congressional election, too.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele had a great year in generating enthusiasm among small donors, but ends 2009 with less cash on hand than he had when he started the year. He should resolve to stop giving paid speeches and instead use his time repairing frayed relationships with major donors, whose support is critical to winning legislatures that will redraw congressional districts in 2011.

Tea Party members should resolve to resist being turned into another partisan political group. The movement’s power stems from its ideas, not from any party it supports, and it has been very successful in educating Americans and arousing the country. It should let its members set their own personal course in primaries and fall elections.

As for me, I resolve to speak well of Mr. Obama more frequently, curry favor with liberals by being more critical of my fellow conservatives, and be guided by the words of Mark Twain, who said that the start of a New Year “is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

Nevada Governor Slams Harry Reid for Obamacare

December 30, 2009

Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons slams Harry Reid, D-NV, for Obamacare and calls it a “Knife in the back”.

Democrats Cut $43 Billion from Medicare Home Health Care

December 7, 2009

This is supposed to be the Party of the People?  Maybe they meant the Party of the ‘Young’ People, since they’ve essentially hung homebound Medicare recipients, most of which are elderly, out to dry with their latest move.

From Carol Brown in the American Thinker:

As Senate Democrats hung together last week on a “test” vote on health care reform, their willingness to cut Medicare to fund their colossal plan revealed their willingness to abandon the most vulnerable among us – the frail and elderly. Many among the oldest of the old receive in-home care, something that is essential as it helps reduce hospital admissions or winding up in a nursing home. It also provides access to medical services for those with the added challenge of living in rural communities.

Home health care will be a casualty of the current bill as it is slated to absorb more than 10% of the Medicare cut. Ironically, proponents of health care reform brag about how the bill will reduce costly hospitalizations of elderly folks. But by slashing home health care, the effect will be the opposite of their stated intentions. More elderly patients will be hospitalized as a result, not less.

Of course the Democrats have rationalizations for everything. But their explanations are nothing more than double talk that appears to be founded on something akin to the credibility of climate change. Democrats in both houses of Congress have rationalized the cuts by claiming that care will not be compromised. The Senate Finance Committee as gone so far as to suggest that the proposed changes would “encourage home care workers to become more productive.”

“Encourage home care workers to be more productive.” What does that even mean?

As far as I can tell, the expectation of increased productivity suggests that home care workers are currently slacking off on the job. But if the nurses who work for Eastern Maine Home Care cited in this article are any example, they sure aren’t slackers. These nurses see patients throughout rural parts of the state, traveling across fields and forests, using snowmobiles and cross country skis, doing whatever it takes to take care of their patients.

Perhaps the Democrats are counting on increased productivity in the form of home care workers increasing the length of their shift for no extra pay. Or, I suppose cutting corners could be another way to increase productivity.

View the full article here.

Reid’s Healthcare Bill: Uninsured Americans Pay Penalty Tax, But Uninsured Illegal Aliens Do Not

November 23, 2009

From Keith Hennessey:

Under Leader Reid’s amendment, in the year 2019 about 16 million U.S. citizens would be uninsured and be forced to pay a penalty tax of almost $800 per year.  About eight million illegal aliens would be uninsured and would owe no penalty tax.  Both groups would get their health care through a combination of out-of-pocket spending and use of uncompensated care in emergency rooms and free health clinics.

View the entire article here:

A Taste of What’s to Come: Liver Cancer Drug Deemed “Too Expensive” in Britain

November 19, 2009

If Government Healthcare passes, here’s another taste of what’s to come. (click here for a similar story)

A liver cancer drug that can extend the life of patients with severe liver cancer was deemed too expensive for use in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. (NICE) 

Make no mistake. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is a government entity that made the decision to NOT extend the lives of those patients with severe liver disease.  The decision was NOT made by the patient but by a government panel instead.  Those suffering with severe liver cancer were not allowed to choose and essentially told that their lives weren’t worth the cost of the drug.  This is Government Healthcare.

From the BBC:

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said the cost of Nexavar – about £3,000 a month – was “simply too high”.

But Macmillan Cancer Support said the decision was “a scandal”.

More than 3,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer every year in the UK and their prognosis is generally poor.

Only about 20% of patients are alive one year after diagnosis, dropping to just 5% after five years.

‘Disappointed’

Campaigner Kate Spall, who won the right to have two months of treatment for her mother, Pamela Northcott, in 2007, said it had prolonged her life by four-and-a-half “precious” months.

It had allowed her 58-year-old mother, from Dyserth in Denbighshire, “closure” and “peace”, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“The problem in Mum’s case is it took a year for me to fight for the treatment, so we’ll never know how well she could have done,” she said.

Prof Jonathan Waxman: “I’m very unhappy about the way these decisions are made”

“We had extra time, which was very precious to us all, her symptoms were helped greatly. And, more importantly, for Mum it was a case of getting some closure and peace.

“The psychological feeling when a group of people decide that you cannot have a treatment that can help you is really devastating.”

Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician Peter Johnson said the decision was “enormously frustrating” because there was no doubt about the drug’s effectiveness.

He said: “There’s no alternative treatment and there are no other places for people to go. It is expensive, but the only issue is cost and the number of patients affected are quite few – there’s probably only six or seven hundred patients a year.”

Nexavar – also known as sorafenib – had already been rejected in Scotland, despite studies showing it could extend the life of a liver cancer patient by up to six months.

‘Devastating disease’

The Scottish Medicines Consortium ruled that “the manufacturer’s justification of the treatment’s cost in relation to its benefit was not sufficient to gain acceptance”.

Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, agreed: “The price being asked by [the manufacturer] Bayer is simply too high to justify using NHS money which could be spent on better value cancer treatments.”

And the group’s clinical and public health director, Peter Littlejohns, added the drug was considered “just too expensive” by its advisory committees.

 ‘NICE, on behalf of the the NHS, has to look at the cost-effectiveness of care.’

Nexavar is routinely offered to cancer patients elsewhere in the world, and Mike Hobday, head of campaigns at Macmillan Cancer Support, said he was “extremely disappointed” at NICE’s decision.

“It is a scandal that the only licensed drug proven to significantly prolong the lives of people with this devastating disease has been rejected, leaving them with no treatment options,” he said.

Alison Rogers, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said: “The decision to reject a treatment for advanced liver cancer is a huge blow for patients.  There has to be a point when the NHS says no. It’s sadly but simply unrealistic.

“This is a treatment to extend life for people where all other options have run out.

“It is particularly hard for people with liver cancer given that treatments for many other advanced cancers have been given the green light by NICE.

“People with liver disease often face stigma and discrimination and sadly this decision feels like a further disadvantage to them.”

Earlier this year, a government review of end-of-life treatment said NICE should give extra weight to drugs that could extend a patient’s life.

The Department of Health said NICE was not ignoring that recommendation, but the NHS could not just pay for any drug at any cost.

A Taste of What’s to Come: Federal Panel Recommends Mammogram Screening Begin at Age 50 Instead of 40

November 17, 2009

Here’s the 1st of many cost-cutting measures if Government Healthcare passes.  Cost-cutting at the expense of patients, that is.  A Federal panel yesterday recommended women begin mammogram testing at age 50 instead of 40.  The American Cancer Society immediately issued a statement standing by their recommendation that mammogram testing begin at 40.  

From Washingtonpost.com:

Women in their 40s should stop routinely having annual mammograms and older women should cut back to one scheduled exam every other year, an influential federal task force has concluded, challenging the use of one of the most common medical tests.

In its first reevaluation of breast cancer screening since 2002, the independent government-appointed panel recommended the changes, citing evidence that the potential harm to women having annual exams beginning at age 40 outweighs the benefit.

Coming amid a highly charged national debate over health-care reform and simmering suspicions about the possibility of rationing medical services, the recommendations immediately became enveloped in controversy.

“We’re not saying women shouldn’t get screened. Screening does saves lives,” said Diana B. Petitti, vice chairman of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which released the recommendations Monday in a paper being published in Tuesday’s Annals of Internal Medicine. “But we are recommending against routine screening. There are important and serious negatives or harms that need to be considered carefully.”

Several patient advocacy groups and many breast cancer experts welcomed the new guidelines, saying they represent a growing recognition that more testing, exams and treatment are not always beneficial and, in fact, can harm patients. Mammograms produce false-positive results in about 10 percent of cases, causing anxiety and often prompting women to undergo unnecessary follow-up tests, sometimes-disfiguring biopsies and unneeded treatment, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

But the American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology and other experts condemned the change, saying the benefits of routine mammography have been clearly demonstrated and play a key role in reducing the number of mastectomies and the death toll from one of the most common cancers.

Tens of thousands of lives are being saved by mammography screening, and these idiots want to do away with it,” said Daniel B. Kopans, a radiology professor at Harvard Medical School. “It’s crazy — unethical, really.

View the full story here.

Obamacare Means Reduced Medicare Benefits

November 15, 2009

From Lori Montgomery in the Washington Post:

A plan to slash more than $500 billion from future Medicare spending — one of the biggest sources of funding for President Obama’s proposed overhaul of the nation’s health-care system — would sharply reduce benefits for some senior citizens and could jeopardize access to care for millions of others, according to a government evaluation released Saturday.

The report, requested by House Republicans, found that Medicare cuts contained in the health package approved by the House on Nov. 7 are likely to prove so costly to hospitals and nursing homes that they could stop taking Medicare altogether.

View the entire article here.

Obama and Democrats: Healthcare a Priority but Economy, Jobs Are Not

November 9, 2009

Judging by Obama’s actions, or lack thereof, Healthcare is a priority for him and his administration.  Congress has spent many an hour on this topic, on legislation, on garnering votes, etc.  Obama even made an appearance on Capitol Hill on Saturday to rally the troops prior to that night’s vote.

But Healthcare isn’t at the top of the issues list with American citizens these days.  What is atop their list is a struggling economy and a skyrocketing unemployment rate.  The more Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress neglects these issues, the more the Democrats will suffer in 2010. Last Tuesday’s Governor elections in NJ and VA will hopefully be just the tip of the iceberg. 

From Nolan Finley of the Detroit News:

Americans are angry with Washington as much for what it isn’t doing as what it is.

What it isn’t doing the most is paying attention to the still-raging economic disaster.

Last week’s job numbers show unemployment nationally bumping past 10 percent and surpassing 15 percent in Michigan. Unemployment keeps climbing, even though President Barack Obama and Congress nine months ago committed $787 billion to creating jobs.

Since then, neither the White House nor Congress has spent a minute honestly analyzing whether the stimulus program is accomplishing its goal, and if not, what other approaches might work.

Instead, the administration is spinning dismal economic reports into positive news, allowing both it and Congress to ignore the economy while they pursue their ideological ends.

It ought to infuriate anyone who’s lost a job, can’t find a job, is worried about his job or lives in a community ravaged by a lack of jobs that Congress devotes nearly all of its energy to arguing about health care.

The promise of health care reform was not what got Democrats elected. Voters tossed Republicans on their fannies for ruining the economy, not because they didn’t enact wildly expensive social programs.

But while the economy tops every list of public concerns, job creation is not the hot topic in Washington.

In fact, Democratic leaders, obsessed with reworking America, have proved more than willing to sacrifice precious jobs during the worst economic climate in a half-century.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., rammed an energy-rationing bill through her Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week without a single Republican member in the room.

The bill would greatly limit America’s ability to produce the energy it needs to fuel an economic rebound. In other words, it’s a job killer.

Democrats are revealing that putting the country back to work is a lesser priority than passing their social agenda.

If that weren’t true, they wouldn’t even consider any measure that would raise taxes on job creators.

Higher taxes, particularly on business, always result in fewer jobs. Both the health care and climate change bills will trigger huge tax hikes for every taxpayer.

Democrats have learned nothing from history. During the Great Depression, each time the economy showed a spark, President Franklin Roosevelt snuffed it out with another tax increase or regulatory burden.

Obama is making the same mistake and justifying it by claiming health care and climate change are so urgent they can’t be delayed until the economy recovers, and perhaps we can afford the costs.

But one in 10 American workers are unemployed — one in seven in Michigan. Surely, that’s the most urgent priority.

If it doesn’t become so soon in Washington, the tea bags being hurled at the Capitol will turn into pitchforks.

Dirty Harry!

September 22, 2009

Senator Harry Reid, D-NV, threatened to go nuclear (reconciliation) in order to get the Democrats’ Healthcare bill passed.  From FoxNews.com:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threatened on Tuesday to use a procedural maneuver to steamroll opponents of health care reform, even as a Senate panel began delicate negotiations over a package that could have the best chance at passing. 

The Nevada Democrat, who has issued similar threats before, spoke as the Senate Finance Committee began debate over Chairman Max Baucus’ reform plan. Reid threatened to use a budgetary tool called reconciliation — also known as the “nuclear option” — that would allow Democrats to pass key parts of the legislation with a simple majority, as opposed to the 60 votes needed to avoid a Republican filibuster. 

“If we can’t work this out to do something within the committee structure, then we’ll be forced to do the reconciliation,” Reid said, adding that he views that as a “last resort.” 

“It remains to be seen as to whether we will have to do reconciliation. I am confident and hopeful we won’t have to do that, but time will only tell,” Reid said. 

Republican Sen. Richard Burr, N.C., said reconciliation would be a “grave mistake,” and that Reid underestimates the public concerns over the bill. 

Will Harry back up his talk? And is reconciliation even legal since it’s reserved only for budget matters?  We’ll know soon enough.  View the full article here.