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Health News Tidbits

Here are some fun bits of information to keep you entertained/outraged this week.


FAIR, an organization that promotes Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, is raising awareness about the lack of single-payer coverage in the mainstream media.

Their spokesperson?  President Obama’s personal physician, Dr. David Scheiner.

Dr. Scheiner was disinvited from speaking at an ABC News forum on healthcare reform just 2 days before the event, after it was revealed that he planned to ask questions about HR 676, the National Health Care Act (known as the single-payer bill).

FAIR is encouraging folks to forward the video of Dr. Scheiner (below) to their friends, and to sign this petition calling for a more fair-and-balanced approach to healthcare news reporting.

As part of this campaign, FAIR cites a recent New York Times/CBS poll showing that Americans prefer a single-payer system 2 to 1 over our current patchwork of private providers.

Despite this statistic, the organization claims that only a handful of the hundreds of health news stories published earlier this year talked about the single-payer proposal.


Harry and Louise are back!  Only this time, they’re supporting healthcare reform.

The same actors that appeared in a 1990’s ad designed to dismantle public support for Clinton’s healthcare initiative are at it again.

But now, they are working for Families USA, and a trade group representing drug makers, to promote President Obama’s healthcare overhaul.

Harry (Johnson) and Louise (Claire Clark) used to talk about how healthcare reform would result in a loss of choice for middle-income Americans.

In the newest rendition of the ads, however, the couple sits at the kitchen table and discusses the need for insurance coverage that folks can keep even once they lose their jobs.  They also mention the “plight of the uninsured!”

Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families USA, said that the $4 million ads will run for three weeks on national cable networks such CNN and MSNBC.

The two actors also recently attended a celebratory rally announcing the passage of the Senate HELP committee’s overhaul bill.

Have Harry and Louise grown wiser with age?

Here are the original Harry and Louise ads:


Even doctors in Congress have trouble agreeing when it comes to healthcare reform.  There are currently 16 doctors in Congress, 2 in the Senate and 14 in the House.  11 of the doctors are Republicans and 5 are Democrats.  And 7 of them serve on the three committees (Senate Finance Committee, Senate HELP Committee and the House Tri-Committee) that are preparing the different reform packages.

The congressional doctors agree that folks need better access to sufficient insurance coverage.  They believe that 1) insurance should be more portable, and that 2) insurers should not be able to discriminate against folks with pre-existing illnesses.

But when it comes to the public insurance option, the doctors are divided.

Republican doctors have formed a group called the “G.O.P Doctors Caucus” and are uniform in their opposition to the public plan.  They favor granting tax credits, or other tax deductions, as an alternative solution to help people buy coverage.

Some Democratic doctors are also undecided about the public option.

Representative Vic Snyder (D-AR) said that he is “hesitant” about the public option.  He wants to make sure that the program will pay for itself.  At the same time, he mentioned that he has had very good experiences with the Medicaid program, calling it his “most efficient payer.”

Rep. Steve Kagen (D-WI), on the other hand, supports having a national public option.  He once saw two children who were so ill with asthma that they could not go to school.  He prescribed them the necessary medications, only to learn that their mother was unable to fill the prescriptions due to the cost.  He gave the mother free samples of the drugs, but says that the nation needs a public option as a long-term solution.

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) sums up the disagreement between congressional doctors as such, “Doctors are very individualistic.  We all think we’re right.”

Hmmm…we wouldn’t describe the doctors’ behavior as individualistic.  If anything, it seems that they have chosen party allegiance over their former profession.  After all, aren’t they more or less just toeing the party line?

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • John Nagle July 21, 2009, 9:38 am

    That last paragraph is the kind of analysis that is never done in the media. Likewise with the last paragraphs on the first two sections. Great blog.

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