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WaPo's Ceci Connolly plays Baghdad Bob to America’s health neglect system

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Ceci Connolly has an article entitled, U.S. 'Not Getting What We Pay For': Many Experts Say Health-Care System Inefficient, Wasteful, where she quotes, without irony, all the parasites of our health neglect system.

First a few words about Ceci Connolly; if you read The Daily Howler, you know that more than any other member of the celebrity press corps, she is responsible for smearing Al Gore and giving us Bush. An example of her notion of humor:
Smile-a-while (10/3/00)

Gunning for laughs: Speaking of jokes, Connolly has her own comic style, as the Financial Times described in August. The paper noted that Connolly is "hostile to the [Gore] campaign, doing little to hide [her] contempt for the candidate and his team:"

FINANCIAL TIMES: Connolly expressed her feelings most dramatically on last month's plane trip to North Carolina where the Gores were taking their pre-convention vacation. To lighten the mood on board, the campaign had given reporters beach accessories including plastic water pistols.

According to several witnesses, when Gore came back to chat with the press on his plane, Connolly put her arm around the vice-president's shoulder and held the gun to his head. It might have been a joke. But for the secret service on board, as well as the Gore campaign, there were no smiles.

Connolly was also instrumental in smearing Howard Dean in 2004 and misleading reporting about the debate leading up to the creation of Medicare Part D(eath). She is as bad as it gets. If you see her coming, cross the street to avoid her.

So today she has an article that reports on the health care debate in the same sense that Baghdad Bob provided information about the Ba’ath government of Iraq. She quotes all the members of the denial of care coalition who inform us, surprise, that we could reform our health care system by expanding the denial of care model. Let me give you a few of the high lights:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has already warned that improving and expanding health care will cost money in the short run -- money that his Republican counterpart, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), argues the government does not have. ...

Now as readers of this blog know, that is just plain not so. Medicare for All would save us $350 BILLION a year. After a few years, that would add up to real money. Never let anyone get away with the lie that we can’t afford single payer. What we can’t afford is to continue to support heath insurance parasites.

... A high-performance 21st-century health system, they say, must revolve around the central goal of paying for results. That will entail managing chronic illnesses better, adopting electronic medical records, coordinating care, researching what treatments work best, realigning financial incentives to reward success, encouraging prevention strategies and, most daunting but perhaps most important, saying no to expensive, unproven therapies. ...

And just who do you think will define unproven? This is a polite way of saying denial of care. Don’t fall for it.The administrative overhead mostly comes from dealing with a plethora of health insurance parasites, each with their own administrative procedures. Replace them all with Medicare for All and we wipe out all this cost.

... One way to reconfigure health spending is to shift large sums into prevention and wellness, said Reed Tuckson, a physician and executive vice president at UnitedHealth Group in Minneapolis. ....

Just a quick reminder of who the UnitedHealth Group is. They are the group that made an agreement with NY AG Cuomo after he investigated their data base denial of payment scam. So Connolly is calling swindlers and asking their opinion about reform. Try to believe she actually did that, try to believe it.

She also quotes Donald Berwick, president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Here is what Source Watch has to say about them:

In Fall 2007, Aspen announced its "Health Stewardship Project," to "reframe and broaden the national dialogue on health care reform leading up to the 2008 presidential election and beyond." [1]

In January 2008, Aspen announced that former New Jersey governor turned PR executive Christine Todd Whitman; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Julie Gerberding, and GE Healthcare president and CEO Joseph Hogan would co-chair the health project. "They join Mark Ganz, president and CEO of Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield, in leading the new project to help transform health care," stated an Aspen press release. [1]
Health Stewardship Project advisory board

From an Aspen Institute press release: [1]

* Adam Bosworth, founder and CEO, Keas Inc.
* Donald Berwick, president and CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
* Linda Carnes, senior advisor, CDC Office of Enterprise Communications
* Delos "Toby" Cosgrove, president and CEO, The Cleveland Clinic
* Craig Fuller, executive vice president, APCO Worldwide
* Mark Ganz, president and CEO of Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield
* Julie Gerberding, director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
* C. Martin Harris, chief information officer, Cleveland Clinic Foundation
* Joseph Hogan, president and CEO of GE Healthcare
* Robert Honigberg, chief medical officer, GE Healthcare
* Mark Pauly, chair of the Health Care Systems Department, the Wharton School of Business
* Bradley Perkins, chief, CDC Office of Strategy and Innovation
* Michael Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, Harvard Business School
* Franklin Raines, president, Revolution Health
* Elizabeth Teisberg, associate professor, Darden Graduate School of Business, UVA
Christine Todd Whitman, founder and president, The Whitman Strategy Group

Clearly, just another front group for the right wing noise machine. Thank you Source Watch for making this easy.

Check out the denial of care coalition’s notion of preventive medicine:

... It is possible to change the incentives, Kaplan said. Partnering with Starbucks and the insurer Aetna, Virginia Mason devised a new strategy for dealing with back pain, the leading medical complaint of Starbucks' coffee-pouring baristas. Virginia Mason made big money on MRIs, but there is little scientific data that the scans resolve the problem.

So they flipped the process, trying physical therapy first. To make up for some of Virginia Mason's lost revenue, Aetna increased its payment for the therapy. Today, the majority of Starbucks employees with back trouble return to work within 48 hours without an MRI or a prescription, Kaplan said.

"We've shown that you can have superior outcomes at lower costs," Kaplan bragged. He acknowledged, however, that the success on back pain is "one small vignette" in a mega-mess. ...

In defense of Starbucks, they have health insurance for their employees. Duncan Donuts does not. However, if you were really serious about prevention, you would have a workplace ergonomic specialist go over the workplace and work out how you could design a work environment that would not result in back pain. This is why we need unions, but that is another discussion.

The best part is saved for the end:

... The members of Darling's group are in the vanguard of a movement toward comparative effectiveness research, which evaluates various drugs, devices and treatments and publicizes which work best and at what cost. Ideally, doctors and patients armed with that data could make more rational decisions -- such as whether to choose a more expensive, but therapeutically equivalent, medication.

Former Senator Thomas A. Daschle, Obama's choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services, endorsed the use of comparative effectiveness data in a book he co-authored. ...

Perfect, just perfect isn’t it?

Writing about health care reform in 2008 without calling John Conyers for a quote is like writing about civil rights in 1964 and not calling Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. for a quote. You just look stupid. The 93 cosponsors of HR 676 include three local Representatives, Donna Edwards, Jim Moran, and Eleanor Holmes Norton. The Washington Post’s remaining readers in their home delivery market are familiar with this issue. This sort of disembling just makes The Post look like the Iraqi Information Minister. It’s embarrassing.

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