Health Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Health Media Articles from Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important health articles reported in the mainstream media suggesting a cover-up.
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Questions for Dr. Marcia Angell
2009-08-12, New York Times blog
[Anne Underwood:] President Obama hopes to increase the number of Americans with insurance and to rein in costs. Do you believe any of the plans under consideration by Congress will accomplish those goals? [Dr. Marcia Angell:] They won’t, and that’s the essential problem. If you keep health care in the hands of for-profit companies, you can do one or the other — increase coverage by putting more money into the system, or control costs by decreasing coverage. But you cannot do both unless you change the basic structure of the system. Q. Segments of the health care industry — pharmaceutical companies, for instance — are promising to cut costs. A. It’s not going to happen. These are investor-owned companies. Their fiduciary responsibility is to maximize profits. If they behaved like charities, heads would roll in the executive suites. Q. But what about market mechanisms for reducing costs? Wouldn’t the public option, for instance, provide competition for the insurance companies? A. Theoretically it would, but I doubt the public plan will pass. Industry is lobbying against it, and the president has not said this is a “must.” Even if it does pass, I’m afraid the private insurance industry will use their clout in Congress — and they have enormous clout in Congress — to hobble the public option and use it as a dumping ground for the sickest while they cream off the young and healthy for themselves. Q. How? Won’t insurance companies have to cover all applicants regardless of health status? A. It’s hard to regulate an enormous industry without setting up a bureaucracy to oversee it. That’s very expensive and creates a whole new set of problems.
Note: Dr. Marcia Angell is a senior lecturer in social medicine at Harvard Medical School and former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. A longtime critic of the pharmaceutical industry, she has called for an end to market-driven delivery of health care in the United States. To read a two-page summary of her critique of market-driven health care, click here.
Health care alone can't make nation healthier, experts say
2009-08-12, Sacramento Bee/McClatchy News
Ask around for the healthiest country in the world, and the United States won't come close to topping the list. People live longer in just about every industrialized nation, from Canada to our north, throughout much of Europe, and around the Pacific in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. New mothers and their babies also face a rockier start here, with U.S. infant and maternal death rates double some of our industrialized peers. As debate swirls in Washington and at town halls nationwide over health care reform, there is also a more fundamental question - what about health? "If you want to see dramatic changes in health, you're not going to get there even by doubling the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system," said Dr. Richard Kravitz, a University of California, Davis, professor of medicine whose research interests include quality of care. "When you need it, you really need it â€¦ but in general, the benefits of medical care to populations are a little bit overrated," he said. When taken all together, the other factors that play a bigger role include education, income, toxins in the environment, crime, violence, family structure, stress, obesity, nutritious food and exercise. Across large populations, he said, numerous studies suggest that medical care contributes only modestly to overall health, perhaps somewhere between 10 percent and 25 percent. Health care for all would provide a "very large" improvement for some deprived populations, Kravitz said, but "a surtax on high fructose corn syrup would probably be more effective ... than anything we could do for the health care system, just because of obesity."
Note: For many highly informative reports on health issues, click here.
TV host Andrew Castle: 'my daughter almost died from Tamiflu'
2009-08-11, Times of London (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The [UK] Health Secretary appeared on breakfast television this morning in a bid to reassure concerned parents after scientists warned that children should not be given Tamiflu.
Instead he was confronted by a GMTV presenter who claimed that the drug had almost killed his daughter. Andy Burnham insisted that the Government was right to advise children to take the anti-viral drug despite a warning from researchers at the University of Oxford who called on the Department of Health urgently to reconsider its pandemic strategy. But he was tackled live on TV by Andrew Castle, Britain's former top tennis player, who said his older daughter, Georgina, had a respiratory collapse after being given the drug as a precaution during the containment stage of the pandemic. “I can tell you that my child - who was not diagnosed at all - she had asthma, she took Tamiflu and almost died,” he said. Georgina, 16, was given Tamiflu when five pupils at Alleyn’s School in south London were diagnosed with the illness in May. Castle, also a BBC tennis commentator, said he feared for his daughter’s life as medical professionals backed away from the potentially contagious child.
He said: “Nobody checked that she had swine flu beforehand. The Health Protection Agency just handed it out at Alleyn’s School in south London and a lot of kids suffered in the school very heavily. It almost cost my older child her life." The study published yesterday warned that Tamiflu can cause vomiting in some children, which can lead to dehydration and the need for hospital treatment.
Note: Remember that the drug companies often place profits above public health. For an article showing how Donald Rumsfeld, former chairman of the board at the pharmaceutical which produced Tamiflu, personally made millions from the sale of Tamiflu during the avian flu scare, click here. To read an article with more information showing that Tamiflu and Relenza may not be safe for children, click here.
Legislators for sale
A special comment on health care reform in this country. The insurance industry owns the Republican Party. Not exclusively. Pharma owns part of it, too. Hospitals and HMO's, another part. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota ... has thus far received from the Health Sector, campaign contributions ... amounting to $1,206,176. How about Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite? Are you truly worth every dollar of the $369,000,255 ... you have received over the years from the Health Sector? [And Democrat] Bart Gordon of Tennessee ... $1,173,000 in donations from the Health Sector. [Democratic Senator] Max Baucus of Montana, ... you're supposed to be negotiating all this out with the Republicans and hesitant Democrats? Your price has been ... $414,000 in donations from hospitals, about $667,000 from the insurance companies and just over $1,000,000 from Big Pharma. Mr. Baucus, you are not the Senator from Schering-Plough Global Health Care, even if they have already given you $76,000 towards your re-election. We could bring up Senator Hagan ... who, at $628,000, appears to represent the insurance industry and not North Dakota. I could bring up Sen. Carper, and Sen. Blanche Lincoln. I could bring up all the other Democrats doing their masters' bidding in the House or the Senate. Every poll, every analysis, every vote, every region of this country supports health care reform, and the essential great leveling agent of a government-funded alternative to ... profiteering private insurance corporations.
Note: For an excellent analysis of the huge influence of the pharmaceutical industry over our government by the former editor-in-chief of the esteemed New England Journal of Medicine, click here. It's time to get the money influence out of politics and shift from our current one dollar equals one vote to one person equals one vote.
Flu Vaccine Panel Creates Priority List
2009-07-30, Washington Post
A complicated list of who should get [swine] flu vaccine in the fall is now set. When the vaccine starts arriving in September, first in line will be pregnant women; the caretakers of infants; children and young adults; older people with chronic illness; and health-care workers. That's the advice of a 15-member committee of experts, which met all day Wednesday at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to advise the federal government on vaccine policy. The priority list names targeted groups and suggests the order in which they should be vaccinated. "The results of this meeting will kick planning into high gear," said Pascale Wortley of the CDC's Immunization Services Division. "This is a watershed moment." All that's missing is the vaccine, knowledge of how well it works and the nitty-gritty details of how to deliver it to people's arms and noses. The vaccine will come in two forms: the traditional flu shot and a "live" vaccine squirted into the nose that contains a weakened version of the new virus. Some of the vaccine will be stored in multi-dose vials containing thimerosal, an antibacterial additive that contains mercury. But there will also be single-dose syringes without thimerosal, a substance that some assert is harmful to children. Among the many unanswered questions is whether two doses will be necessary to provide full protection, how close in time two shots can be given and how big the dose will be. Vaccination programs may start before the answers are known.
Note: Why is thimerosal being used? It is a mercury additive around which there appears to be a major cover-up. For several other revealing articles which suggest an dangerous agenda with the swine flu vaccine, click here.
Will Safety Fears Hurt Swine Flu Vaccinations?
2009-07-30, ABC News
With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hoping to have 120 million doses of H1N1 swine flu virus vaccine ready before flu season this fall, some are raising concerns over what they see as an effort to rush the drug through safety trials. The source of many of these concerns is the probability that the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal will be an ingredient in some of the doses of the new vaccine. Concern over thimerosal has lingered for years. Groups opposed to current vaccination practices continue to condemn thimerosal as a toxin responsible for the development of autism and related ailments in children. Additionally, the possibility that the swine flu vaccine could also contain an adjuvant, an ingredient that would allow more doses to be created from existing supplies of the vaccine, has also worried these groups. "We don't have adequate safety studies on this vaccine before we are moving forward to market," said Lyn Redwood, president and co-founder of the group SafeMinds. "I'm really not convinced that we know for sure that the risk of the disease outweighs the risk of the vaccine, especially since this is a brand new additive that we have never used before in combination with thimerosal." During the 1976-77 flu season, a vaccine developed to prevent the spread of a strain of the swine flu was linked to an as-yet-unexplained increase in cases of a rare neurological condition known as Guillain-Barre syndrome in those who received immunizations.
Note: For many powerful reports from reliable sources on the dangers of vaccines, click here.
Thimerosal and the Swine Flu Vaccine
2009-07-29, ABC News blogs
Today at the CDC in Atlanta, health officials are huddled, trying to game plan the best way to dole out a vaccine for swine flu. But what about the vaccine preservative thimerosal? Here is what the CDC says about Thimerosal: "There is no convincing evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site." Thimerosal is no longer used in all child vaccines made in the US except for the flu vaccine. Here is the CDC on Thimerosal and flu shots: "Yes, the majority of influenza vaccines distributed in the United States currently contain Thimerosal as a preservative. However, some contain only trace amounts of Thimerosal and are considered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be preservative-free." It would seem likely that the new Swine Flu vaccine therefore would contain some amount of Thimerosal. It would also seem likely that will give some parents pause.
Note: For a powerful article on a major cover-up around thimerosal written by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., click here. For many powerful reports from reliable sources on the dangers of vaccines, click here.
Glaxo profits soar as drug firm charges NHS £6 for swine flu vaccine that costs £1 to make
2009-07-23, Daily Mail (One of the UK's largest-circulation newspapers)
Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline was accused of cashing in on swine flu after it revealed its profits have risen 10 per cent since the virus was identified. It announced profits yesterday of £2.1billion in the past three months. Sales of vaccines and antiviral drugs could push the figure up even higher. GSK chief executive Andrew Witty admitted the swine flu crisis would be a 'significant financial event for the company'. Sales of the company's Relenza inhaler, an alternative to Tamiflu used by pregnant women among others, are expected to top £600million. And this figure could be boosted by up to £2billion once deliveries of the swine flu vaccine begin in September. But Mr Witty denied Europe's biggest drugs company was gearing up to cash in. He admitted it was planning to charge the UK £6 a jab, but vociferously denied reports it cost a pound to manufacture. Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: 'This is clearly a bonanza for the company. This is a staggeringly substantial return. I will write to the National Audit Office to determine whether we got the best deal for the taxpayer.' Susi Squire of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: 'We need an assurance from the Government that they have got the most competitive rate out of GlaxoSmith-Kline.' Geoff Martin of London Health Emergency said: 'It's a scandal that any company could use the swine flu pandemic as an opportunity to jack up profits. 'The Government should step in and impose a windfall tax on private companies that have hit the jackpot as a result of the flu crisis.'
Note: For more on profiteering in the vaccination industry, click here.
A Whole Industry Is Waiting For A Pandemic
2009-07-21, Der Spiegel (Germany's leading news magazine)
In an interview with SPIEGEL, epidemiologist Tom Jefferson speaks about dangerous fear-mongering, misguided, money-driven research and why we should all be washing our hands a lot more often. SPIEGEL: Do you consider the swine flu to be particularly worrisome? Jefferson: There are some people who make predictions year after year, and they get worse and worse. None of them so far have come about, and these people are still there making these predictions. Sometimes you get the feeling that there is a whole industry almost waiting for a pandemic to occur. SPIEGEL: Who do you mean? Jefferson: The WHO and public health officials, virologists and the pharmaceutical companies. They've built this machine around the impending pandemic. And there's a lot of money involved, and influence, and careers, and entire institutions! And all it took was one of these influenza viruses to mutate to start the machine grinding. SPIEGEL: Do you think the WHO declared a pandemic prematurely? Jefferson: Don't you think there's something noteworthy about the fact that the WHO has changed its definition of pandemic? The old definition was a new virus, which went around quickly, for which you didn't have immunity, and which created a high morbidity and mortality rate. Now the last two have been dropped, and that's how swine flu has been categorized as a pandemic.
Note: For lots more on the Swine Flu "false pandemic," click here.
Agencies to set up mass swine flu vaccinations
2009-07-21, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Public health experts are gearing up for swine flu vaccinations this fall in what could be the largest mass-immunization campaign since the polio vaccine was introduced more than 50 years ago. Local public health agencies will bear much of the responsibility for vaccinating the public. For now, there are more questions than answers with regard to flu vaccinations, including how much of the vaccine will be made, when it will available, and who will get it first. In fact, the federal government has not officially announced plans to make a vaccine widely available, although it is expected to do so by the end of summer. "There's still a lot of information we have to figure out, and we're learning as we go," said Dr. Mantu Davis, deputy health officer with the Alameda County Public Health Department. "It's definitely a larger vaccination than anything we've seen, or anything in my lifetime." California authorities designed a mass vaccination plan years ago, under the assumption of a deadly pandemic flu and a limited vaccine supply, said Dr. John Talarico with the state public health department's Center for Infectious Disease. That plan is being revised, given that swine flu seems to be fairly mild so far and that a relatively large amount of vaccine may be available, even if it's not enough to give to everyone at once. A swine flu vaccine is still being designed, and the World Health Organization reported last week that a licensed version may not be available until the end of the year - weeks after the start of the flu season. An unlicensed vaccine - one that is still being tested but is deemed safe enough for the general public - may be available sooner.
Note: After hundreds died and thousands were crippled by a vaccine for the swine flu in 1976, how can they be talking about using an unlicensed vaccine? For lots more on the swine flu scare and the billions in profits for well-connnected pharmaceutical corporations and their major investors, click here.
Legal immunity set for swine flu vaccine makers
2009-07-20, MSNBC/Associated Press
The last time the government embarked on a major vaccine campaign against a new swine flu, thousands filed claims contending they suffered side effects from the shots. This time, the government has already taken steps to head that off. Vaccine makers and federal officials will be immune from lawsuits that result from any new swine flu vaccine, under a document signed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, government health officials said Friday. Since the 1980s, the government has protected vaccine makers against lawsuits over the use of childhood vaccines. The document signed by Sebelius last month grants immunity to those making a swine flu vaccine, under the provisions of a 2006 law for public health emergencies. It allows for a compensation fund, if needed. The government takes such steps to encourage drug companies to make vaccines, and it's worked. Federal officials have contracted with five manufacturers to make a swine flu vaccine. The last time the government faced a new swine flu virus was in 1976. Federal officials vaccinated 40 million Americans during a national campaign. A pandemic never materialized, but thousands who got the shots filed injury claims, saying they suffered a paralyzing condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome or other side effects.
Note: Note for a powerfully revealing CBS report on blatant fear mongering and profiteering from the 1976 swine flue scare, click here. For many revealing reports on corruption in the medical/governmental complex, click here.
Swine flu tally halted as school year fears loom
2009-07-17, MSNBC News
Worldwide cases of the new H1N1 swine flu virus are spreading so fast that overwhelmed global health officials have stopped counting and officials with the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they'll soon follow suit. "We don't know the extent of the challenges that we'll face in the weeks and months ahead," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for the Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Schuchat did not elaborate on how the CDC would inform the public about the extent of the outbreak, which has been confirmed in more than 40,600 people and implicated in 263 deaths in the United States. WHO had reported nearly 95,000 cases including 429 deaths worldwide. Earlier Friday, WHO officials said tracking individual swine flu cases is too overwhelming for countries where the virus is spreading widely. WHO will no longer issue global totals of swine flu cases, although it will continue to track the global epidemic.
Note: Why would they stop counting cases? The numbers have always at best been estimates. Millions died in the 1918 flu epidemic and they have counted and reported those numbers extenstively. Could it be someone or some group does't want us to know how few are actually dying? For several other revealing articles which suggest an dangerous agenda with the swine flu vaccine, click here.
Chemicals and Our Health
2009-07-16, New York Times
However careful you are about your health, your body is almost certainly home to troubling chemicals called phthalates. These are ubiquitous in modern life, found in plastic bottles, cosmetics, some toys, hair conditioners, and fragrances — and many scientists have linked them to everything from sexual deformities in babies to obesity and diabetes.
The problem is that phthalates suppress male hormones and sometimes mimic female hormones. Chemicals called endocrine disruptors are believed to explain the proliferation of “intersex fish” — male fish that produce eggs — as well as sexual deformities in animals and humans. Phthalates ... are among the most common endocrine disruptors, and among the most difficult to avoid. They’re even in tap water, and levels soar in certain plastic water bottles. In girls, some research suggests that phthalates may cause early onset puberty. Most vulnerable of all, it seems, are male fetuses in the first trimester of pregnancy, just as they are differentiating their sex. At that stage, scholars believe, phthalates may “feminize” these boys. “Commonly used phthalates may undervirilize humans,” concluded a study by the University of Rochester. There has also been a flurry of scientific articles questioning whether endocrine disruptors are tied to obesity, autism and allergies, although the evidence there is less firm than with genital abnormalities and depressed sperm count. Dr. Theo Colborn, the founder of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, ... tells researchers working with her to toss out plastic water bottles and use stainless steel instead. “I don’t have plastic food containers in my house,” she added. “I use glass.”
Note: For many more important health reports from reliable sources, click here.
Pandemic flu shows need for pharma incentives: WHO
2009-07-14, Reuters News
Pharmaceutical firms need incentives, including lucrative patents, to keep creating drugs and vaccines against emergent threats such as the H1N1 influenza pandemic, the World Health Organization's head said on Tuesday. "Progress in public health depends on innovation. Some of the greatest strides forward for health have followed the development and introduction of new medicines and vaccines," said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said. Chan, who last month declared a full pandemic underway from the H1N1 virus, said that patents can help ensure that companies develop medicines to "stay ahead of the development of drug resistance" in diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. The discovery of isolated H1N1 infections that resist the anti-viral Tamiflu, made by Roche and Gilead, and the global scramble to secure flu vaccines have shown the importance of robust research and development, Chan said. "Innovation is needed to keep pace with the emergence of new diseases, including pandemic influenza caused by the new H1N1 virus," she told a meeting on intellectual property and health, a contentious issue that has divided rich and poor nations.
Note: How much more blatant can it get? The WHO is telling us to pump money into the corrupt pharmaceutical corporations, who make huge profits from fear mongering and health disasters. When profit drives the health industry, which do you think comes first, money or public health? For lots more revealing, reliable information on the fear-mongering around swine flu, click here and here.
Swine flu vaccine rushed through safety checks
2009-07-13, Times of London (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A swine flu vaccine will be fast-tracked for use in Britain within five days once it is developed, and 130 million doses are on order. The Department of Health expects to have enough vaccine this year to give it to half the population. Further supplies will be available if needed. Each person will need two doses of the vaccine, unless one single jab is found to provide high rates of immunity. The first doses specific to the H1N1 swine flu virus are set to arrive in September and could be given regulatory approval in less than a week. The move came after the first British patient without underlying health problems died from swine flu, taking the number of swine flu-linked deaths in Britain to 15. Peter Holden, the British Medical Association’s lead negotiator on swine flu, said that ... although swine flu was not generally causing serious illness in patients, health officials were eager to start a mass vaccination campaign, starting first on groups that were susceptible to infection or prone to complications. It is likely that the elderly would be given a seasonal flu jab to guard against other circulating flu strains — as happens every year — as well as the swine flu vaccination. “The high-risk groups will be done at GPs’ surgeries. People are still making decisions over this, but we want to get cracking before we get a second wave, which is traditionally far more virulent,” Dr Holden said. It takes several weeks or months to make flu vaccines, which are cultured using chicken eggs. The European Medicines Agency said the fast-tracked approval procedure has involved trials of a “mock-up” vaccine and that the speed would not compromise patient safety. “The vaccines are authorised with a detailed risk management plan,” the agency said.
Important Note: Don't be fooled by this media propaganda. The same rushed attitude is what led to hundreds of deaths from the swine flu vaccine in 1976. Click here for a powerful CBS 60 Minutes video showing how a huge vaccine propaganda campaign by the government led to these deaths. And a recent article in The Scotsman quotes a spokesperson for the Scottish government saying "We have said that a vaccine is being worked on and the plan is to vaccinate everybody." Remember that the media is beholden to pharmaceutical companies for billions of dollars in advertising income. For lots more powerful information on this vital topic, click here.
Swine flu doses on way to Wales
2009-07-13, BBC News
Enough doses of swine flu vaccines for everyone in Wales should begin arriving in the next few weeks. Latest figures show 64 confirmed Welsh cases, but new counting methods mean up to 1m people in Wales could be diagnosed with the illness long term. Up to six million doses would become available, with two per person, and those most at risk would be first in line to receive a jab. Experts will carry out tests and work out how to administer the vaccine. Wales' chief medical officer Dr Tony Jewell said it would be a huge logistical exercise. Dr Jewell said the vaccine would reduce the impact of a second phase of swine flu. "It will put us in a good position to modify it. It is an unprecedented situation," he said. So far 64 cases of swine flu in Wales have been confirmed by laboratory testing. Latest figures across Wales reveal that 426 people have gone to their local doctor in the past week with flu-like symptoms. Three were admitted to hospital over the last few days. Health officials said for every 100,000 people there have been 14.2 cases of flu-like illnesses. But Wales is behind other parts of the UK for infection rates. In Scotland the rate is 23.6 cases, while in England it is 51.9 cases. Seven people in Wales with swine flu had to be hospitalised but five have since been discharged. 17 people in the UK have died - all but one of them had underlying health problems. Experts say that for most people the illness is mild and gets better within five to seven days.
Note: 426 people had flu-like symptoms? Couldn't that be the normal flu? And all but one of the 17 who died had underlying health problems. Hmmmm. So why are they preparing six million vaccine doses? Could there be lots of money to be made here? A Wall Street Journal article states that $1 billion of our tax dollars have already been set aside with $7.5 billion more on the way. For more reliable information on manipulations involving swine flu, click here and here.
Swine flu resembles feared 1918 flu, study finds
The new H1N1 influenza virus bears a disturbing resemblance to the virus strain that caused the 1918 flu pandemic, with a greater ability to infect the lungs than common seasonal flu viruses, researchers reported on Monday. Separately, a top official at the World Health Organization said Monday a fully licensed swine flu vaccine might not be available until the end of the year. The report could affect many countries' vaccination plans. But countries could use emergency provisions to get the vaccines out quicker if they decide their populations need them. The swine flu viruses currently being used to develop a vaccine aren't producing enough of the ingredient needed for the vaccine, and WHO has asked its laboratory network to produce a new set of viruses as soon as possible. Other tests showed the virus could be controlled by the antiviral drugs Relenza, made by GlaxoSmithKline, and Tamiflu, made by Roche AG, the researchers said. The World Health Organization said on Monday that vaccine makers should start making immunizations against H1N1 and that healthcare workers should be first in line to get them. The WHO has previously estimated that the world could have as many as 4.9 billion doses of H1N1 swine flu vaccine ready for the next flu season — but this assumes people only need one shot and production yields are similar to seasonal vaccine.
Note: Who's making the big bucks here? Why is the WHO so strongly promoting billions of doses of vaccines for a disease in which the vast majority of the relatively few people who have died had underlying causes. For more on the blatant corruption of our health industry from reliable sources, click here and here.
Ignore the health scare professionals: you won't die of swine flu
2009-07-12, The Telegraph blogs (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Swine flu is a nasty disease, but no nastier than other strains of influenza. True, it has killed hundreds of people in Mexico; but even there, other variants of ‘flu virus have been far more lethal. Why, then, the urgent need to inoculate the entire British population? Perhaps I’m being overly cynical, but I can’t help wondering whether we’re being pushed into a wrong-headed course of action by the health scare industry. We’re told that Tamiflu needs to be taken at once, without a moment’s delay – meaning that anyone with a sniffle is likely to start glugging the stuff.
We’re also told that the virus may mutate, meaning – conveniently – that we’ll soon need a new variety of medicine. In any case, these flu vaccines have short shelf lives. Good news for the drug manufacturers and their lobbyists; bad news for the taxpayer. Ministers must suspect that the danger is being exaggerated. Yet they would rather spend gazillions than run the slightest risk of being accused of not having done enough. And, needless to say, there isn’t a medical advisory body in the world that will say: “Actually, minister, considering everything in the round, the danger posed by this virus is minor, and we recommend the disbandment of this panel”. You may think I am being unconscionably flippant. But back in April, when newspapers were filling their pages with science fiction scenarios of a deadly epidemic, I suggested that, taking everything together, we weren’t going to die of swine flu. Who has the better track record so far: the Big Pharma doom mongers, or this blog?
Affordable Health Care on the Critical List
2009-07-10, PBS Bill Moyers Journal
Quality, affordable health care is on the critical list in America. And so is the newspaper business. So maybe it's not surprising that one of the most powerful papers in the country attempted an unholy alliance, trying to turn a profit from its newsroom's coverage of the fight for health care reform. You may have missed the story because it broke on the eve of the July 4th weekend. The publisher of The Washington Post, Katharine Weymouth — one of the most powerful people in the nation's capital — invited top officials from the White House, the Cabinet and Congress to her home for an intimate, off-the-record dinner to discuss health care reform with some of her reporters and editors covering the story. But she then invited CEOs and lobbyists from the health care industry to come, too — providing they fork over $25,000 a head, or a quarter of a million if they want to sponsor a whole series of these cozy little get-togethers. And what is the inducement she offers them? Nothing less than — and I'm quoting the invitation verbatim — "An exclusive opportunity to participate in the health care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done." The invitation promises this private, intimate, and off-the-record dinner is an extension "of The Washington Post brand of journalistic inquiry into the issues, a unique opportunity for stakeholders to hear and be heard." Let that sink in. The "stakeholders" in health care reform in this case do not include the rabble — the folks across the country who actually need quality health care but can't afford it. If any of them showed up at the kitchen door on the night of this little soiree, a bouncer would drop kick them beyond the beltway.
Note: To read the complete text, click on the link above and scroll below the video box at the top of the page. For an excellent article on the Washington Post's ties to the CIA and manipulative politics, click here.
Wendell Potter on Profits Before Patients
2009-07-10, PBS Bill Moyers Journal
Last month, testimony in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation by a former health insurance insider named Wendell Potter made news even before it occurred: CBS NEWS headlined: "Cigna Whistleblower to Testify." After Potter's testimony the industry scrambled to do damage control: "Insurers defend rescissions, take heat for lack of transparency." In his first extended television interview since leaving the health insurance industry, Wendell Potter tells Bill Moyers why he left his successful career as the head of Public Relations for CIGNA, one of the nation's largest insurers, and decided to speak out against the industry. Potter began his trip from health care spokesperson to reform advocate while back home in Tennessee. Potter attended a "health care expedition," a makeshift health clinic set up at a fairgrounds, and he tells Bill Moyers, "It was absolutely stunning. When I walked through the fairground gates, I saw hundreds of people lined up, in the rain. It was raining that day. Lined up, waiting to get care, in animal stalls. Animal stalls." Looking back over his long career, Potter sees an industry corrupted by Wall Street expectations and greed. According to Potter, insurers have every incentive to deny coverage — every dollar they don't pay out to a claim is a dollar they can add to their profits, and Wall Street investors demand they pay out less every year. Under these conditions, Potter says, "You don't think about individual people. You think about the numbers, and whether or not you're going to meet Wall Street's expectations."
Note: To educate yourself on this important issue, watch this revealing PBS Bill Moyers segment available here.
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