Fallout from the Arizona shooting

Most people commenting on the Arizona shooting are speculating about motive, the role of public discourse on the shooter, and the shooter's mental health.  I confess my bias from the start - from what I have read, the shooter Jared Loughner sounds like he is paranoid schizophrenic. Of course, I am not engaging in a formal diagnosis since I have no direct data. However, the signs are certainly suggestive. What is bound to happen for some time to come is the blaming of the event on ideology. … [Read more...]

The website that cried wolf: World Net Daily and death panels

Today, the far right website, World Net Daily, is accusing the President of using the Food & Drug Administration drug approval process as a way to ration health care via “death panels.”  As evidence for the claim, this front page story by Greg Koprowski states that “new drug approvals declined dramatically last year” citing a drop in such drug approvals from 25 in 2009 to 21 in 2010. Although website claims the article is “breaking news,” the other evidence offered is a quote … [Read more...]

Obama Administration rescinds voluntary advance care planning rule

Just about an hour ago, the Health and Human Services Department rescinded the Medicare rule on voluntary advance care planning that had been misrepresented as the return of "death panels" by some social conservatives. I will comment more on this story but for now here is a link to the Federal Register and relevant portions of the order. II. Provisions of the Amendment In the July 13, 2010 Federal Register (75 FR 40039), we published the proposed rule entitled "Medicare Program; Payment … [Read more...]

Administration reverses course on end-of-life care planning regulation

UPDATE: I just spoke with an Obama Administration official who said the new proposed rule would be published at 4:15pm today in the Federal Register. This will allow for comment. He also confirmed to me that the advance care planning provision remains in the initial Welcome to Medicare visit with a physician. That provision was included by via statute during the Bush Administration in 2008. In other words, all of the bluster from social conservatives is a bit late. The Administration official … [Read more...]

Fact checking the death panel scare

One thing I have learned in the culture wars is to check the specifics of breathless claims from both left and right. So here is a claim from the Liberty Counsel that is making its way around the echo chamber: Medicare Regulations Revive “Death Panels” of ObamaCare Bill Is this true? Is Medicare about to unleash a panel of Dr. Deaths on the nation's elderly? Not at all. This Wall Street Journal article has it about right, describing what Medicare is about to implement via their … [Read more...]

Paul Kengor: God Gets His Healthcare Bill

Note: The recent healthcare reform certainly is historic, in the sense that it most likely will be considered an important, perhaps defining, event in the Obama Presidency. Whatever eventually happens politically as a result, there are important elements of public discourse which marked the debate. One of those elements --religious rhetoric-- is the subject of Dr. Kengor's column.   God Gets His Healthcare Bill By Dr. Paul Kengor  The most frustrating thing I’ve dealt with in … [Read more...]

Health care reform: Who must buy insurance?

The Christian Science Monitor takes a simple stab at this question here. But here’s a key thing to remember: There is a simple concept at the center of this rambling, Rube Goldbergian machine. Democratic healthcare reform would expand insurance coverage in America by requiring people to obtain it. That’s right. The healthcare reform bill would mandate that most US citizens and legal residents purchase “minimal essential coverage” for themselves and their dependents. They can get this … [Read more...]

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill: Is CNSNews trying to change the subject?

This morning the conservative CNSNews reported on Tom Lantos Human Rights Committee Hearing on Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill. As I read the piece, I wondered if the reporter was trying to change the subject of the bill. The article seems quite focused on the following section of the Anti-Homosexuality bill pertaining to HIV positive persons: 3. Aggravated homosexuality. (1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the (b) offender is a person living with … [Read more...]


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