Category: Healthcare Politics

Can Senator Landrieu Win One More Time?

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by Elliott Stonecipher

One More time?
One More time?

Yes, as we know, national political eyes are now on Louisiana, more so than other states where Democrats could lose U. S. Senate seats come November.  If those races end up as they now stand, our nation’s last election in determining which party controls the U. S. Senate would be a December run-off for Senator Mary Landrieu’s seat.

It is a fact that Senator Landrieu wins her campaigns, all of them in her career except the 1995 governor’s race.  In that long record of wins, she at times won ugly, too ugly for some of us.  For that and other reasons, Senator Landrieu now finds herself, by acclamation, in the electoral fight of her life.  Her political career may or may not end this year, and more than a few of us believe Louisiana needs precisely the showdown it takes to determine that.

That Senator Landrieu is our last Democrat standing among statewide elected officials has only increased her power.  Our state’s good-sized army of Democrat Party soldiers, from rural parish officials to U. S. Attorneys, salute and serve but one leader.  They turn a supposed “red” political state to one yet producing, in many notable ways, a deep purple political product.  That the Senator often works and votes in opposition to the will of Louisiana’s majority is well-known, as in her unflaggingly strong support of President Obama.  The most recent poll* on this race shows only one-in-three of the rest of us support him.

2014 Political Tug of War-LandrieuEqually dramatic would be the change if the Senator loses.  Louisiana would then send no Democrat U. S. Senator to Washington for the first time since Reconstruction, and the state Democratic Party would slip into a political purgatory unknown to it in state history.
A Misunderestimation of Senator Landrieu’s Chances?

Many national analysts now conclude that Senator Landrieu will lose this election.  If I didn’t know so much about her previous campaigns, I would join in, but I do, so I don’t.

Yes, it is true that the Senator took her seat with only 50.2% of the vote in her 1996 defeat of State Representative Woody Jenkins, then increased her election percentage to only 51.7% when, in 2002, she beat Suzanne Terrell.  Then in 2008, even with the supercharged Dem turnout for President Obama, she beat State Treasurer John Kennedy with 52.7% of the vote.

That’s an unimpressive 2.5% increase in her winning percentage in 12 years, a period during which other statewide elections for Read more

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Create Your Own High!

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By Marion Marks
When you experience joy, you feel good because your powerful, magnificent and unique brain produces hormones, endorphins, that magnify your experiences. These self-produced chemicals give you happy and joyful feelings capable of giving you power to soar with your mind above issues others cannot handle.

Brain-produced hormones enter your blood stream even if you just act joyful, not only when you really are happy. Even if the joyful experience is totally imaginary and you know that it didn’t actually happen, when you speak and act as if that imaginary experience did happen, you get a dose of endorphins. You create your own “Legal High!”

The trip is totally free and entirely healthy. Some find that this knowledge inspires them to create and become their better self, or the person they believe they are capable of becoming. It’s Friday, enjoy the day!

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Why Leges Should VOTE NO HB1065 and SB568

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by Russ Van Norman MD

Fellow Louisianians, I am writing this to urge you to contact your legislators about two very dangerous bills that are set to be heard in our current legislative session. HB 1065 by Representative Pope and SB 568 by Senator Mills are two aggressive scope of practice bills that would allow non-physician optometrists to perform surgical procedures on the eye.

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LA Population Centers

Optometrists perform a four-year training period through a school of optometry. An ophthalmologist would perform four years of Medical School, one intern year, three to four years of residency training, and some performing an additional one to two years of fellowship training. The additional years of training that medical doctors do are absolutely imperative as that is the time where surgical skills are honed.

Unfortunately, these bills would bypass this training and allow unqualified non-physicians to operate on patients, and it is not just a few procedures that they are looking to perform. These bills would allow them the ability to perform over 100 different recognized surgical procedures by Medicare. However, the worst part of these pieces of Read more

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Mary Landrieu might lose…

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But not because of her Obamacare vote

By Robert Mann

Bob MannFrom Baton Rouge to Washington, the verdict among political observers is that Sen. Mary Landrieu’s 2009 vote for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) doomed her re-election. Perhaps they’re right. But let’s imagine Landrieu had opposed and, therefore, killed the bill.

Had she stopped Obamacare, would Republicans be holding parades in her honor? Would the Democratic Party’s base, including black leaders, now celebrate her decision to abandon them on this monumental vote?Landrieu-Obama arrive in New Orleans

Of course not. Landrieu is not in trouble only because she supported Obamacare. If she had opposed the ACA, Republicans would still attack her with gusto, as would some leading Democrats. Politically, at least, she had no attractive alternative.

It’s not even clear that Obamacare will decide this race. In a special election last Tuesday for a vacant Florida congressional seat, Democrat Alex Sink lost narrowly to her Republican opponent. But a survey by Sink’s pollster suggests her opposition to repealing Obamacare actually helped her with independents who don’t want the law repealed. While an obsession with Obamacare motivates conservative voters, it appears Sink was primarily done in by low Democratic turnout.Obamacare-Who-gets-it

Perhaps one lesson for Landrieu and other Democrats is that they must effectively and aggressively champion the health care law to the party’s base, not just meekly defend it.

The very the idea that Obamacare is broadly unpopular is Read more

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Is Team Jindal Printing Money?

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by CB ForgotstonJindal Print Money

Today, we learn of yet another addition by Team Jindal to the  proposed FY15 state budget.

According to a story in today’s Advocate, money has been added to the proposed FY15 budget to pay the state’s portion of an increase in premiums for state employees and retirees’ healthcare insurance. No dollar amount was revealed, but its safe to say that it is in the millions of dollars.

The rate increase should be no surprise, as it was predicted last year when Bobby Jindal gave the Read more

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LA Hospital Privatization & Biomed Worms Turn …

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by Elliott Stonecipher

The Heart of Health Care for 75% of the region
Shreveport Medical Center – University Health?

The LSU hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe are once again in the news, as detailed in an article updating the main reasons why by Marsha Shuler at The Advocate.  As reported, Governor Jindal’s sketchy hospital privatization op is now, finally and officially, teed-up by the state Department of Health & Hospitals (DHH) for possible approval by the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Too much control?
Too much control?

The documentary record detailing DHH pursuit of CMS approval, shown on this page from DHH’s BayouHealth website, is extensive, underscoring the fact that gaining approval has been anything but routine.  Clearly, CMS scrutiny is focused on the way the Jindal administration rigged his healthcare restructuring to secure from new hospital “partners” extraordinary amounts of money, in advance, to be used in broader state budgetary needs.

Censorship-ControlRather than an emphasis in his healthcare push on the protection of the public’s interests, the focus has been on Jindal’s political control of every aspect of every one of these deals around the state.  Jindal uses the huge hospital lease pre-payments from partners even given that the state’s Legislative Fiscal Office has stressed from the jump that this is a mistake to Read more

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Jindal Awards $34 million Contract to ObamaCare Rollout Failure Firm

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Taxpayer Toilet Paper MoneyWhat quality work does Louisiana expect and receive from the firm recently awarded $34 million and the Legislative Auditor examination of their work on the Road Home program was deemed unacceptable? It’s only fair to ask what Jindal is thinking, as he criticized the president’s choice of this company, especially since this same company holds two state contracts worth $32.8 million was the lead IT contractor of the Affordable Health Care enrollment web page rolled out late last year.

The firm in question is CGI Technologies and Solutions, headquartered in Quebec, Toronto and one of the largest tech firms in the Americas. As if working out the knots of the Obamacare rollout were not enough, Jindal feels they have learned the lesson and do a better job in Louisiana. Troubling – at best to consider. Healthcare_Model

Alvarez & Marsal, another international consulting firm, recently received a $4 million contract from Jindal’s desk to conduct an efficiency study of state government to determine possible savings. The thought of another outside firm resolving state inefficiencies must yield massive savings or Read more

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Will Senator Landrieu’s Hypocrisy Matter in Louisiana?

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by Elliott Stonecipher

Breaking Through to PoliticiansWe have no way of knowing what manner of things actually get through to today’s top American politicians.  From our nation’s highest-ranking office holders, we learn more each day about how carefully arranged and scripted and spun and packaged and teleprompted all things are.  Electoral accountability at the ballot box, no matter how devout our commitment to the notion, is thus being systemically compromised.

Thus, we are left to wonder whether or not Louisiana’s senior U. S. Senator Mary Landrieu was, even in the slightest, concerned about Kimberly Strassel’s article about her in the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago.  Based on its content and timing, if we apply America’s old political rules, the Senator would be very concerned.  Though I read the article the day it was published, many Louisianans, judging from my remarkable number of related emails, are only now beginning to receive it from friends and others.2014 Political Tug of War-Landrieu

Honestly, I was surprised when I realized the article surprised me – almost nothing of the like does anymore – but the described Landrieu op is certainly stunning, even by today’s lowest-of-low standards.  Ms. Strassel works from data in the public domain,  gathered and analyzed by a new non-profit group, Keep Louisiana Working, and exposes the way Senator Landrieu’s leadership political action committee, JAZZ PAC, funds anti-energy Read more

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ObamaCare, Bro_Surance, Ho_Surance or No_Surance

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Get the Message!

BROsurance-kegSure, it’s humorous to some. Sure, it’s distasteful to many. However, fact of life is that EVERYONE (even the rich!) gets sick and, some day, dies. Well, the fact may be hard to swallow, however getting the message thru some mediums may be finally sinking in as well-developed marketing goes into full-court-press mode. Key-Surance

And if you haven’t seen the Colorado push, here is a link to a few other edgy graphics to set you off.

Wel-rounded-suranceThere’s the Affordable Care Act. There’s Obamacare. And then there’s brosurance and hosurance.

The terms popped up this month as two Read more

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Can Vitter Live with vote on Obamacare Amendment

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Can you live with a vote senator?
Can you live with a vote senator?

(Originally published in Politico, Nov. 5, 2013) Senate Democrats have made an offer for Sen. David Vitter: You can have a vote on your health care amendment, but you have to live with the outcome.

The idea is to get the issue out of the way once and for all, so Vitter doesn’t continuously push for a vote on virtually every bill that comes to the floor, according to several people familiar with the matter. The Vitter plan — which would kill federal dollars to help pay for lawmakers’ and their aides’ Obamacare coverage — has become a major sticking point as the Louisiana Republican has demanded a vote.Diaper Dave

It’s unlikely that Vitter would go along with this approach, and senior Democratic aides didn’t think it would come up for a vote during the debate over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a gay-rights bill the Senate is poised to take up this week.

A Vitter aide said the senator will not agree to the request from Senate Democrats that he not bring up his amendment again during this Congress.

Full story here

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