Category Archives: NPR.ORG

Learn to Speak Tea Bag

(Hat tip to Juan Melli and Jorge Santos via Rob Tornoe)

NPR.com
Learning a new language doesn’t have to be hard, especially when “Tea Bag” is so minimalistic! Mark Fiore offers his personal take in this animation. The Wall Street Journal dubbed Fiore “the undisputed guru of the form.” He creates political animation from an undisclosed location somewhere in San Francisco.

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Filed under Mark Fiore, NPR.ORG, Tea Party, Teabaggers, Teabagging

Can Canadians Purchase Private Health Insurance?

The August Town Halls have buried any meaningful coverage of the health care debate. Groups like Freedomworks and Americans For Prosperity are generating wild rumors about the proposed health care reform and the overwhelming majority of media coverage has merely contrasted protesters’ claims with administration retorts, while failing to correct the record. The format creates the illusion of balance and, by giving equal time to a false claim, pads disingenuous arguments.

Fortunately, this report from NPR’s Sarah Varney is a respite from the norm. Rather than reprinting the claim that Canadian health care system indiscriminately rations care, Varney actually examines the Canadian health care system and concludes that it’s getting a “bum rap.” Just like Medicare beneficiaries who protest against “government health care,” protesters who use Canadian care as an example of “government interference” or rationing, will be surprised to learn that the Canadian health care system relies on both government and private insurers to provide Canadians with comprehensive coverage:

Canada has a universal health care system that’s paid for through income taxes and sales tax. All Canadians are covered, and they can see any doctor they want anywhere in the country with no copays or deductibles….And while the individual provinces and territories set their overall health budgets and administer the health plans, the delivery of medical care is private. Doctors run their own businesses and then bill the government.

As it turns out, the system works fairly well:

– Physicians in Canada earn a good living and aren’t faced with the same administrative hassles that American doctors gripe about.

– The Commonwealth Fund looked at deaths that could have been prevented with access to quality medical care in the leading 19 industrialized countries. In the latest survey, the United States ranked last and Canada came in sixth.

– When federal spending on Canadian health care declined during a recession in the 1990s, lines for non-urgent procedures — and some urgent ones — grew. In response, Canada’s government poured billions of dollars into reducing wait times in the five medical areas deemed most troublesome, including cancer care, cardiac care and joint replacement surgery. And wait times for these services has dropped: Most provinces now report those times on publicly available Web sites.

Few Canadians go south for medical care. Canadian researchers say it’s a bit like getting struck by lighting — it’s extremely rare, but when it happens, everyone talks about it.

– Public opinion polls continue to show strong support for publicly financed, universal health care in Canada.

Varney contradicts the oft-repeated claim that Canadians can’t purchase health insurance coverage by writing that many Canadians purchase private coverage for “optometry, dentistry and outpatient prescription drugs” — services the public plan does not cover. Yet at the end of the piece, she quotes a pollster who notes that the Canadian health care system “‘is not something that everybody is completely satisfied with or complacent about.’ About half of Canadians say they would like the option to buy a private health insurance plan. Currently, that’s not allowed.”

Canadians can purchase supplemental private coverage for services that are not covered by the public plan, but cannot purchase private insurance for basic services. As CBC News points out, private health insurance is “a crucial part of the system,” and Canadians spent about $43.2 billion on private coverage in 2005. Private insurance covers “anything beyond what the public system will pay for. For instance, should you have to spend some time in the hospital, the public system will cover the cost of your bed in a ward, which usually has three other patients. If you want a private room, the extra charge will come out of your pocket, unless you have extended health coverage either through your employer or through a policy you have bought yourself.”

Basic services are covered by the government precisely because the large risk pools allow the government to negotiate cheaper rates with providers and control health care costs. The government fears, with good reason, that if Canadians can leave the purchasing pools, the government’s market power would diminish.

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Filed under Americans for Prosperity, Canadian health care system, NPR.ORG, private insurance, The Wonk Room, Think Progress, universal coverage

Cheney Has Moles in Obama Administration, Reporter Says

Raw Story

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has moles in the Obama government which report back to him from the Pentagon, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh told NPR and MSNBC on Tuesday.

Speaking with NPR’s Terri Gross, Hersh revealed that the former Vice President — who he characterized as “really smart” — has individuals that report back to him from key positions in government. He called these individuals “stay-behinds,” an intelligence term generally applied to insiders left behind in foreign governments after the occupying power is driven out.

“He’s put people back,” Hersh said. “They call it a stay-behind. It’s sort of an intelligence term of art. When you leave a country and, you know, you’ve driven out, you know, you’ve lost the war. You leave people behind. It’s a stay-behind that you can continue to contacts with, to do sabotage, whatever you want to do.

“Cheney’s left a stay behind,” Hersh continued. “He’s got people in a lot of agencies that still tell him what’s going on. Particularly in defense, obviously. Also in the NSA, there’s still people that talk to him. He still knows what’s going on. Can he still control policy up to a point? Probably up to a point, a minor point. But he’s still there. He’s still a presence.”

Click >>>HERE  to finsh reading this breaking story and to hear an audio clip explaining Cheney’s actions

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Filed under "stay behinds", Countdown with Keith Olberman, Dick Cheney, MSNBC, NPR.ORG, NSA, Seymour Hersh, the Pentagon

>Quote of the Day

>“People have to break out of some of the ideological rigidity and gridlock that we’ve been carrying around for too long.”

– President Barack Obama, responding to a question from NPR’s Mara Liasson during his first press conference that was Nationally televised last night.

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Filed under Mara Liasson, NPR.ORG, President Obama, press conference, Quote of the day

Quote of the Day

“People have to break out of some of the ideological rigidity and gridlock that we’ve been carrying around for too long.”

– President Barack Obama, responding to a question from NPR’s Mara Liasson during his first press conference that was Nationally televised last night.

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Filed under Mara Liasson, NPR.ORG, President Obama, press conference, Quote of the day

>Anheuser-Busch Sues Belgian Suitor

>NPR.org is reporting that Anheuser-Busch has sued InBev, calling the Belgian brewer’s plan to buy the iconic U.S. brewer “illegal.” Matt Sepic, of member station KWMU in St. Louis, says the suit seeks to bar InBev from soliciting support from Anheuser-Busch shareholders.

Click on the headline to read and hear all about it

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Filed under Anheuser-Busch, hostile takeover, InBev, NPR.ORG

Anheuser-Busch Sues Belgian Suitor

NPR.org is reporting that Anheuser-Busch has sued InBev, calling the Belgian brewer’s plan to buy the iconic U.S. brewer “illegal.” Matt Sepic, of member station KWMU in St. Louis, says the suit seeks to bar InBev from soliciting support from Anheuser-Busch shareholders.

Click on the headline to read and hear all about it

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Filed under Anheuser-Busch, hostile takeover, InBev, NPR.ORG