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At big moment, President Obama goes small

By BEN SMITH | 7/23/09

…The president’s remarks on his chosen subject, health care, were cautious and choreographed, hemmed in on one side by the calculations of his professional wordsmiths, on the other by the delicacy of negotiations with two houses of Congress.

He never detailed his own plan or named a single victim of America’s broken system, and he spoke largely in the abstractions of blue pills, red pills and legislative processes. It’s not easy to turn delivery system reform into a rallying cry for change, but at times, it was as if Obama wasn’t even trying…


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Take the red pill, Mr. President

By: David Freddoso

… Last night, President Obama appeared to have taken the blue pill before his press conference. How else could he convince himself, the Congressional Budget Office’s numbers notwithstanding, that his health care reform bill will not increase both health care costs and the federal deficit? How else can he continue to make the argument that a massive expansion of government spending on health care will solve rather than exacerbate the current problems? How can he repeatedly express such absolute certainty that such a measure will easily pay for itself several times over in the long run? Why can he not at least acknowledge the possibility that it will become a costly and useless trillion-dollar boondoggle that follows in the footsteps of his stimulus package?

With his example of the red and blue pills, and another about whether a child’s hypothetical tonsils should be removed, President Obama unwittingly presents the real problem with his plan for reform….

… The Mayo Clinic which President Obama praised in his speech last night is the same Mayo Clinic whose president signed onto a letter to Congress yesterday, expressing fears that a government-option health care plan Obama wants to establish will do more of this cost-shifting. The letter states:

Under the current Medicare system, a majority of doctors and hospitals that care for Medicare patients are paid substantially less than it costs to treat them. Many providers are therefore already approaching a point where they can not afford to see Medicare patients. Expansion of a Medicare-type plan without a method to define, measure, and pay for healthy outcomes for patients will move many doctors and hospitals across this threshold, and ultimately hurt the patients who seek our care. We should not put more Americans into the current unsustainable system.

President Obama brushed off this concern last night near the end of his press conference, citing a hopeful but very vague blog post on Mayo’s website that went up a day before the letter was sent. In addition to ignoring budgetary and medical concerns, he repeated his dubious promise that his plan will not force millions of Americans out of health insurance plans they already have and like. He had no comforting words to convince anyone of the wisdom of creating two new taxes on employers — one of them a tax that punishes small businesses with a higher tax rate if they create more jobs — in the middle of a recession…


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FACT CHECK: Obama’s health care claims adrift?

By CALVIN WOODWARD and JIM KUHNHENN,

OBAMA: “We already have rough agreement” on some aspects of what a health care overhaul should involve, and one is: “It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you’re happy with it.”

THE FACTS: In House legislation, a commission appointed by the government would determine what is and isn’t covered by insurance plans offered in a new purchasing pool, including a plan sponsored by the government. The bill also holds out the possibility that, over time, those standards could be imposed on all private insurance plans, not just the ones in the pool.

Indeed, Obama went on to lay out other principles of reform that plainly show the government making key decisions in health care. He said insurance companies would be barred from dropping coverage when someone gets too sick, limits would be set on out-of-pocket expenses, and preventive care such as checkups and mammograms would be covered.

It’s true that people would not be forced to give up a private plan and go with a public one. The question is whether all of those private plans would still be in place if the government entered the marketplace in a bigger way.

He addressed some of the nuances under questioning. “Can I guarantee that there are going to be no changes in the health care delivery system?” he said. “No. The whole point of this is to try to encourage changes that work for the American people and make them healthier.”

He acknowledged then that the “government already is making some of these decisions.”

___

OBAMA: “I have also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade, and I mean it.”

THE FACTS: The president has said repeatedly that he wants “deficit-neutral” health care legislation, meaning that every dollar increase in cost is met with a dollar of new revenue or a dollar of savings. But some things are more neutral than others. White House Budget Director Peter Orszag told reporters this week that the promise does not apply to proposed spending of about $245 billion over the next decade to increase fees for doctors serving Medicare patients. Democrats and the Obama administration argue that the extra payment, designed to prevent a scheduled cut of about 21 percent in doctor fees, already was part of the administration’s policy, with or without a health care overhaul.

Beyond that, budget experts have warned about various accounting gimmicks that can mask true burdens on the deficit. The bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget lists a variety of them, including back-loading the heaviest costs at the end of the 10-year period and beyond.

___

OBAMA: “You haven’t seen me out there blaming the Republicans.”

THE FACTS: Obama did so in his opening statement, saying, “I’ve heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it’s better politics to ‘go for the kill.’ Another Republican senator said that defeating health reform is about ‘breaking’ me.”

___

OBAMA: “I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home, and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”

THE FACTS: The facts are in dispute between black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the white police sergeant who arrested him at his Cambridge, Mass., home when officers went there to investigate a reported break-in. But this much is clear: Gates wasn’t arrested for being in his own home, as Obama implies, but for allegedly being belligerent when the sergeant demanded his identification. The president did mention that the professor was charged with disorderly conduct. Charges were dropped.

___

OBAMA: “If we had done nothing, if you had the same old budget as opposed to the changes we made in our budget, you’d have a $9.3 trillion deficit over the next 10 years. Because of the changes we’ve made, it’s going to be $7.1 trillion.”

THE FACTS: Obama’s numbers are based on figures compiled by his own budget office. But they rely on assumptions about economic growth that some economists find too optimistic. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, in its own analysis of the president’s budget numbers, concluded that the cumulative deficit over the next decade would be $9.1 trillion.


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Memo to President Obama: America’s doctors are neither stupid nor dishonest

By Stephanie Gutmann

As I write this the polls are not yet in on how many Americans actually watched President Obama’s press conference on Wednesday night or if the 55-minute exercise helped sell his ideas for health care overhaul. But there’s one group he clearly didn’t help himself with: America’s hardworking, generally honest, generally top-notch doctors.

Already radio talk shows like Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” report being deluged by calls from doctors who are furious about what they heard. And who can blame them? The president used incredibly condescending language, implying over and over again that there is waste in the system, not because of over-regulation and fear of lawsuits, but because doctors are lazy or informed or – shudder! – “out for profit.”

Asked if Americans are going to have to “give anything up to make this [sweeping overhaul including coverage of the entire population] happen”, the president replied sunnily: “They’re going to have to give up paying for things that don’t make them healthier. And I – speaking as an American – I think that’s the kind of change you want.”


THE HEALTH CARE BLOG

Op-Ed: Healthcare Reform Lessons From Mayo Clinic

By LEONARD L. BERRY and KENT D. SELTMAN

mayoThree goals underscore our nation’s ongoing healthcare reform debate:1) insurance for the uninsured, 2) improved quality, and 3) reduced cost.  Mayo Clinic serves as a model for higher quality healthcare at a lower cost.

President Obama, after referencing Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, advised, “We should learn from their successes and promote the best practices, not the most expensive ones.”  Atul Gawande writes in The New Yorker, “Rochester, Minnesota, where the Mayo Clinic dominates the scene, has fantastically high levels of technological capability and quality, but its Medicare spending is in the lowest fifteen per cent of the country-$6,688 per enrollee in 2006.”

Two pivotal lessons from our recent in-depth study of Mayo Clinic demonstrate cost efficiency and clinical effectiveness.

1. Patient-first medicine.  Throughout its 140-year history, Mayo Clinic has never put money first but lives its primary value:  the needs of the patient come first.  Mayo doctors, as all employees, are on salary.  No doctor earns more by ordering an extra test or procedure.  No doctor earns less by referring a patient to another Mayo physician with more expertise.

Core values guide organizational behavior, and Mayo Clinic’s patient-first core value guides the more than 43,000 employees.  For instance, the head of transfusion medicine noticed a day-shift technician working at 2:00 a.m. as he dealt with an emergency.  The technician explained that she was redoing a test to correct an earlier mistake.  “Why not repeat it the next day?” she was asked. She replied, “I can’t have patients at Mayo Clinic waiting an extra day in the hospital because I fouled up a test.”

Dr. Robert Waller, who retired as Mayo Clinic CEO in 1999, remembers a conversation with a cardiologist whose patient needed a pacemaker. Option A: a Medicare-approved model requiring relatively involved surgery and several days of postoperative hospitalization.  Option B: a new model that could be implanted more simply with only one day of hospitalization.  Option B was not yet Medicare-approved and meant no
reimbursement to Mayo.  Dr. Waller recalls:  “This was a no-brainer – use the pacemaker that is best for the patient.”

Healthcare is a sacred service.  The patient’s quality of life – and life itself – is at stake.  The needs of the patient must be at the center of healthcare reform. This will require, among other steps, revamping doctors’ compensation to encourage efficient and effective care that truly serves patients.  Until we pay doctors for better care, rather than for more care, we cannot successfully reform healthcare.

2. Team medicine.  Mayo Clinic does not have a monopoly on highly capable doctors and nurses, but it has a competitive advantage because its highly capable clinicians pool their knowledge.  When clinicians truly work together, as at Mayo, the result is more efficiency, less duplication of effort, and a greater likelihood of correctly diagnosing and effectively treating a patient earlier in the process.

Medical care in America is highly fragmented, impeding both efficiency and effectiveness.  Patients with multiple or complex illnesses are often treated by physicians from different medical practices who may not communicate with one another.  Not so at Mayo Clinic, which functions like a medical department store with staff experts for each medical specialty.  Working in an organizational culture that demands teamwork and using tools such as an electronic medical record and a sophisticated communication system, Mayo clinicians collaborate to provide the specific expertise needed by the individual patient.

Consider the case of “Don,” who endured an undiagnosed tumor on the base of his tongue for two years.  Both his dentist and an ENT physician told him the discomfort in his mouth was not clinically significant.  When another ENT doctor diagnosed cancer and recommended immediate surgery (that would end Don’s ability to speak), Don contacted Mayo Clinic.  Two weeks later he met his Mayo team of three physicians (ENT, medical oncology, and radiation oncology specialists).  The team dismissed surgery and recommended radiation and chemotherapy instead.  Today, five years after Don’s initial cancer diagnosis, he is cancer-free and living a normal life.  He still sees his initial physician team at six-month’s check-ups. Don’s story illustrates Mayo Clinic at its best.

Teamwork is vital to improving medical efficiency and effectiveness, and health reform must include bold investments that encourage and enable it.  Encouraging medical practices, financially and otherwise, to coordinate a patient’s healthcare over time (called “patient-centered medical homes”) should be in the health reform blueprint.  So should the transformation from proprietary paper medical records to universal electronic records available as needed by treating clinicians.

A time to learn.  Few organizations survive for more than 100 years, much less thrive like Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic is not perfect.  Its integrated, multispecialty medical model works wonderfully — most of the time.  Stories like Don’s occur each day at Mayo, but the Clinic cannot help every patient.  Nor is Mayo Clinic the only medical institution that merits consideration in healthcare reform discussions.

Yet, the way Mayo conducts its business, governs itself, and sustains focus on its core values of patient-first needs and collaborative medicine is deeply instructive.  Never have such lessons been more important to our nation’s healthcare.

Leonard L. Berry and Kent D. Seltman, authors of Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic (McGraw Hill, 2008).  Berry holds the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership in the Mays Business School, Texas A&M University.  Seltman retired from Mayo Clinic in 2008 after serving as director of marketing from 1992 through 2006.

More on the Mayo Clinic:


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Hot Air:  Why did Obama meet with the CBO?

ABC News:  Obama Defends Criticism of Cambridge Police in Arrest of Gates

The Hill:  Police union condemns Obama’s comments

The Smoking Gun:  Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Police Report

The New Yorker:  The Cost Conundrum

The Heritage Foundation:  Lawmakers Should Approach Wyden–Bennett Health Bill with Caution

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Time: Transcript: Obama’s White House Press Conference on Health Care Reform

Dick Morris/Eileen McGann: RHETORIC V. REALITY: HEALTH CARE BY ORWELL


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WH Excerpts of President Obama News Conf — Growth of Medical Expenditures — France’s Health Care Video — Ron Paul Health Care Video — CMS Links — Univ of Michigan M Library Links



THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
_______________________________________________________________
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      July 22, 2009

Excerpts of the President’s Opening Remarks at Tonight’s News Conference
-As Prepared for Delivery-

That is why I’ve said that even as we rescue this economy from a full-blown crisis, we must rebuild it stronger than before.  And health insurance reform is central to that effort.

This is not just about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance.  Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage if they become too sick, or lose their job, or change their job.  It’s about every small business that has been forced to lay off employees or cut back on their coverage because it became too expensive.  And it’s about the fact that the biggest driving force behind our federal deficit is the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid.

So let me be clear:  if we do not control these costs, we will not be able to control our deficit.  If we do not reform health care, your premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket.  If we do not act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day.  These are the consequences of inaction.  These are the stakes of the debate we’re having right now.

I realize that with all the charges and criticisms being thrown around in Washington, many Americans may be wondering, “What’s in this for me?  How does my family stand to benefit from health insurance reform?”

Tonight I want to answer those questions.  Because even though Congress is still working through a few key issues, we already have agreement on the following areas:

If you already have health insurance, the reform we’re proposing will provide you with more security and more stability.  It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you’re happy with it.  It will prevent insurance companies from dropping your coverage if you get too sick.  It will give you the security of knowing that if you lose your job, move, or change your job, you will still be able to have coverage.  It will limit the amount your insurance company can force you to pay for your medical costs out of your own pocket.  And it will cover preventive care like check-ups and mammograms that save lives and money.

If you don’t have health insurance, or are a small business looking to cover your employees, you’ll be able to choose a quality, affordable health plan through a health insurance exchange – a marketplace that promotes choice and competition   Finally, no insurance company will be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition.

I have also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade – and I mean it.

I understand how easy it is for this town to become consumed in the game of politics – to turn every issue into running tally of who’s up and who’s down.  I’ve heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it’s better politics to “go for the kill.”  Another Republican Senator said that defeating health reform is about “breaking” me.

So let me be clear:  This isn’t about me.  I have great health insurance, and so does every Member of Congress.  This debate is about the letters I read when I sit in the Oval Office every day, and the stories I hear at town hall meetings…This debate is not a game for these Americans, and they cannot afford to wait for reform any longer.  They are counting on us to get this done.  They are looking to us for leadership.  And we must not let them down.  We will pass reform that lowers cost, promotes choice, and provides coverage that every American can count on.  And we will do it this year.


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Source:  CMS


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Source:  CMS


Related Uploaded Documents @ Docstoc

2006 MEDICAID MANAGED CARE ENROLLMENT REPORT SUMMARY STATISTICS AS OF JUNE 30, 2006

2007 NATIONAL SUMMARY OF STATE MEDICAID MANAGED CARE PROGRAMS

Net Reported Medicaid and SCHIP Expenditures FY97-FY04




Long-Term Growth of Medical Expenditures — Public and Private

May 2005

Printer Friendly Version in PDF Format

This Issue Brief is available on the Internet at:

http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/medicalexpenditures/

Contents

  • Historical Perspective
  • The Significance of Public Funding of The Nation’s Health Care
  • The Importance of Governmental Sources in Financing Medical Care for the Aged
  • Future Perspective

As the population of the United States ages, it will consume more health care. Older people suffer diseases and other medical problems to a greater extent than younger people. And with health care prices continuing to rise much faster than other goods and services, the use and societal cost of health care is expected to soar in the future. Since public programs finance much of the aged’s health care, over time there will be growing pressure on federal and state budgets, and long-term strains on public funds will put upward pressure on tax rates. That, in turn, could cause lawmakers to re-examine the coverage commitments they have made through federal and state health care programs.Whatever the outcome of those competing pressures, steps to moderate the growth of health care prices and increase efficiency and effectiveness of health care delivery are essential to moderating the economic burden that future health care costs are likely to impose.

Historical Perspective

National Health Expenditures
1960 1985 2003
(in billions of current dollars)
Aggregate spending 27 427 1,679
Per capita 143 1,765 5,670
(in billions of constant 2003 dollars)*
Aggregate spending 166 730 1,679
Per capita 891 3,019 5,670
Share of GDP 5.1% 10.1% 15.3%
Source:  National Health Expenditures, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary, National Health Statistics Group; U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis; and U.S. Bureau of the Census
* Adjusted for changes in the Consumer Price Index for all-Urban Consumers, “all items”

The nation’s spending on medical care has been on an unrelenting upward path for a number of decades. In 1960, aggregate health expenditures in the U.S. totaled $27 billion; in 2003, the figure stood at nearly $1.7 trillion — a 63-fold rise. In contrast, the U.S. population grew by only 51 percent. Health expenditures per capita (or per person) rose from $143 in 1960 to $5,670 in 2003 — a 40-fold rise. General inflation pushed up prices of goods and services in the economy by 5-fold. In contrast, the recorded rise in prices for medical care was 12-fold, driven mostly by increases in hospital charges and doctors’ fees.[1] The overall economic dimensions of the growth have been equally impressive, with the share of the economy devoted to health care tripling over the period, rising from approximately 5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1960 to over 15 percent in 2003.

Inflation and the Rise in Health Care Prices
1960-2003 1990-2003
(Percent increase in prices)
Inflation generally
515% 41%
Medical care overall 1,232% 82%
Medical care services 1,469% 88%
Source: Consumer Price Index for All-Urban Consumers, loc. cit.

Consumption of health care by the elderly is larger than for the rest of the population. In 1999, per capita health care spending for the U.S. population as a whole, it was $3,834. For the population under age 65, it was $2,793. For the population age 65 or older, it was $11,089, or nearly four times as high. Even within the aged population, the divergence was significant. For those ages 65 to 74, it was only $8,167 compared to $20,001 for those persons age 85 or older. Medicare enrollees, 87 percent of whom were age 65 or older, comprised 14.5 percent of the total population that year, but they accounted for 37 percent of the nation’s personal health care expenditures.[2] For two million recipients residing in nursing homes full-time (three quarters of whom were age 75 and older), the per capita costs were $44,520. Among recipients age 85 and older, 22 percent resided in nursing homes.[3] Persons age 85 and older comprised 1.6 percent of the population in 1999, but they accounted for more than 8 percent of the nation’s personal health care spending.

Per-Capita Health Care Spending by the Aged Compared to that of the Rest of the Population, 1999
Age grouping Per Capita Personal Health Care Spending
All ages $3,834
Under 65 2,793
65 and older 11,089
19-44 2,706
45-54 3,713
55-64 5,590
65-74 8,167
75-84 12,244
85 and older 20,001
Source:  Age Estimates in the National Health Accounts, Sean P. Keehan, Helen C. Lazenby, Mark A. Zezza, and Aaron C. Catlin, Health Care Financing Review, December 2, 2004.
Health Care Spending By Medicare Population Age 65 Or Older, By Level Of Expenditures, 1999
Share of health care expenditures incurred by:
Top 1 percent of users Top 5 percent of users Top 10 percent of users
12.8% 35.9% 53.8%
Source: Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, loc. cit.

While average expenditures by age group illustrate the effects of higher age on the consumption of health care, they don’t show the concentration of use of health care within the elderly population. In any given year, the bulk of medical care expenses tend to be incurred by a relatively small group of people. In 1999, 1 percent of Medicare enrollees age 65 or older incurred 13 percent of that group’s health care expenditures. The top 10 percent with the highest expenditures incurred 54 percent.

The significance of that concentration is not only that the nation’s health care costs will rise as the aged grow in numbers, those costs will be amplified as those in the population with the highest incidence of health care expenses grow as a share of the population. In the 8-year period alone, 1992 to 2000, the percent of the Medicare population made up of persons age 85 and older grew from 9.7 percent to 10.9 percent.[4]

The Significance of Public Funding of The Nation’s Health Care

In 2003, public funding sources — Federal and State and local governments combined — directly financed nearly half of the nation’s health expenditures. This encompasses personal health care, research, construction, supplies and other related costs. They covered 44 percent of the spending done for personal health care including care of the active military and veterans. Over the past half century, government entities have assumed an increasingly greater role in meeting the nation’s health care needs. In 1960, they funded 25 percent of aggregate national health expenditures. With the advent of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, the governmental share rose quickly to 38 percent in 1970, and continued to rise thereafter, reaching 46 percent in 2003.

Changing Public (Federal And State) And Private Financing of
National Health Expenditures
1960 1970 1980 1990 2003
(in percent)
Public funds 25 38 43 41 46
Private funds 75 62 57 59 54
Source: National Health Expenditures, loc. cit.

2003 chart

1996 chart

The largest source of personal health care financing today comes from private insurance, which furnished 36 percent of the funding for those expenditures in 2003. Out-of-pocket spending accounted for 16 percent, making it the next largest private source. Medicare and the federal share of Medicaid comprise the bulk of the federal government’s support. The States’ share of Medicaid is the largest component furnished by State and local governments.

Sources of Financing of Personal Health Care, 1960 and 2003
1960 2003
Percent funded by:
Private insurance 21 36
Out of pocket 55 16
Medicare 19
Medicaid* 17
Other private 2 4
Other Federal 9 4
Other State and local 13 3
Source: National Health Expenditures, loc. cit
* Consists of both federal and state funding.

Among those sources, the federal component grew the most over the past four decades, rising from 9 percent of personal health care spending in 1960 to 33 percent in 2003. Although Medicaid’s emergence in 1966 significantly raised the federal government’s spending on medical care for the poor, the share of personal health care spending on medical care for the poor financed by state and local governments (which includes their matching funds for Medicaid) actually slipped a little over the four-decade period, with their share dropping from ­13 percent in 1960 to 11 percent in 2002.

Federal and State Government Financing of
Personal Health Care Spending, 1960 and 2003
1960 2003
Percent funded by:
Federal government 9 33
State and local governments 13 11
Source: National Health Expenditures, loc. cit.

It is important to note that while private sources still appear to be financing the majority of the nation’s health expenditures — at 54 percent in 2003 — the figure masks the indirect support that the federal and state and local governments provide through tax preferences for health care. More than $100 billion in so-called tax expenditures for health care were incurred by the federal government alone in 2003. Those tax expenditures represent income taxes that are foregone because employers and individuals are allowed to exclude from taxable income that portion of their income used for health insurance premiums and/or related expenses. If those foregone tax receipts are taken into account, the majority of the nation’s health spending — more than 60 percent — was either directly financed by federal and state and local governments in 2003 or indirectly supported through the tax provisions.

With growth of public programs and private insurance during the past four decades, the role of direct payments between individuals and health care providers changed substantially. In 1960, individuals paid directly for more than half of all their personal health care needs — paying 55 percent of their medical costs out-of-pocket. In 2003, only 16 percent of personal health care spending was covered out-of-pocket, making third parties the predominant means of financing medical care in the U.S. Although a large number of factors are thought to have contributed to the escalation of medical costs, the expansion of third-party payers (whether governmental or private) may have lessened incentives for individuals to be cost conscious about their consumption of medical services.[5]

The Importance of Governmental Sources in Financing Medical Care for the Aged

Sources Of Personal Health Care Financing
For Medicare And Non–Medicare Populations, 2000
Medicare Population Non-Medicare Population
Percent funded by:
Medicare 52.3
Medicaid 12.2 19.2
Private insurance
12.2 47.7
Out-of-pocket
19.4 15.8
Other*
3.9 17.3
Source: Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, loc. cit.
* Consists of a mix of governmental and private sources

Comparisons of the funding sources for medical care of the Medicare and non-Medicare populations reflect how important public funding has become for the aged. Public funds directly financed less than half of the nation’s health expenditures in 2000, but it was the aged who received the bulk of this support. Approximately two-thirds of their health care costs were financed by public programs, and more than half came from Medicare.

The reliance of the aged on public health care programs has changed very substantially over the past half century, notably because Medicare coverage didn’t exist prior to 1966. But even since the advent of Medicare, the public role has grown. As described by the Medicare program’s chief actuary —

“For the population age 65 or over, Medicare paid for about 42 percent of total personal health care expenditures in fiscal year 1968. By calendar year 1997, this percentage had increased to 55 percent, with most of the balance covered by Medicaid, private health insurance, and the beneficiaries’ own out-of-pocket payments… Medicare’s increased share is in part attributable to the Part B deductible, which was $50 in 1968 and has been increased only three times since then, to $100 currently. Because covered costs increased far more rapidly, a greater proportion of covered costs is in excess of the deductible and is therefore reimbursable by Medicare. In 1968, only 38 percent of beneficiaries had Part B costs in excess of the deductible, but by 1997, this proportion had risen to 87 percent… Medicare’s increasing share has also reflected rapid growth in the prices, utilization, and intensity of such covered services as physician, skilled nursing, and home health care. On the other hand, in some years, certain non-covered costs—such as for prescription drugs and long-term nursing home care—increased more rapidly than health costs generally, thereby adding to the portion funded by non-Medicare sources. Overall, the trend has been toward a greater Medicare share of the total personal health care costs of the aged”

The chief actuary also noted —

“…the relatively small decline in Medicaid outlays as a percentage of total personal health care expenditures for beneficiaries over age 65. The proportion of older persons with incomes below the poverty thresholds (who are the most likely to be eligible for Medicaid) fell from roughly 16 percent in 1966 to 11 percent in 1997… The impact of this trend on Medicaid expenditures was largely offset, however, by expansions in coverage, including the creation of Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs) and Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries (SLMBs). (Medicaid pays the Medicare premium[s] on behalf of QMBs and SLMBs and also the beneficiary cost-sharing liabilities for QMBs.) In addition, during this period, Medicaid absorbed a substantial portion of the rapidly increasing expenditures for nursing home care.

The proportion of health care service costs paid directly by beneficiaries has declined significantly since the beginning of the program, from about 28 percent in 1968 to 20 percent currently. This change is attributable primarily to the increased shares covered by Medicare and private health insurance…” [6]

Sources of Funding for Personal Health Care Expenditures for Persons 65 or Over, 1968 and 1997
Fiscal Year 1968 Fiscal Year 1997
Percent from:
Medicare
42% 55%
Medicaid
14% 11%
Other
11% 3%
Out of Pocket
28% 20%
Private Health Insurance
5% 11%
Source: Trends in Medicare Expenditures and Financial Status, 1966-2000, Richard S. Foster, Health Care Financing Review, Fall 2000.

In 2003, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the growth in national health expenditures over the 1970 to 2001 period exceeded the growth in gross domestic product by 2.5 percentage points annually. Medicare, however, grew at a rate that was 3 percentage points greater over a roughly comparable period. Medicaid grew at a rate 2.7 percentage points greater. [7]On an annual basis, these differences may seem small, but when compounded over decades, they help explain how Medicare’s and Medicaid’s combined share of the personal health care expenditures grew from 19 percent in 1970 to 37 percent in 2002. In effect, over a 32-year period, these two major public programs nearly doubled their role in financing the nation’s health care expenditures.

Future Perspective

The Social Security and Medicare trustees project a major rise in the aged’s share of the population in the coming decades. Where people age 65 and older represent 12 percent of the overall population today, they will represent 18 percent in 2025. Moreover, the rise is not solely the result of the post-World War II baby boom generation reaching its advanced years. Major improvements in longevity and a decline in the nation’s birth rate over the past 30 years are projected to lead to further increases in the aged’s share of the population after the passing of the baby boomers.

Projected Rise in Aged Population
2005 2025 2045 2065 2080
Number of aged 37 million 62 million 79 million 89 million 96 million
Share of total population 12% 18% 21% 22% 23%
Source:The 2005 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds, Washington, D.C., March 23, 2005

For Medicare, these looming demographics mean a growing number of people will become eligible for coverage each year, and each successive group of new enrollees will receive benefits for a longer period of their lives. For Medicaid, they mean a growing number of people will need and become eligible for nursing home and related institutional care. For both programs and the federal government generally, they mean a declining proportion of the population will be in the primary working age band of 20 to 65, from which much of the government’s tax base emanates.

Compounding the growth from demographic trends is the uncertain but still resilient rise in prices and use of medical care. To what extent they can continue to grow at these rates is uncertain.

Drop in Birth Rates and Rising Life Expectancy, 1965-2080(actual and projected)
1965 2005 2045 2080
Births per woman in her lifetime 2.88 2.02 1.95 1.95
Life expectancy at age 65:
–Average age of death for men 78.5 82.0 84.4 86.1
–Average age of death for women 83.0 84.7 87.0 88.7
Source: 2005 Social Security trustees’ report, loc. cit.
Comparison of Per Person Growth of Medicare, Medicaid, and Gross Domestic Product, 1970-2003
Average annual per person growth in percent
GDP Medicare Medicaid
1970-2003 6.3 9.4 8.8*
1980-2003 5.0 7.4 7.1
1990-2003 3.8 5.6 6.0
The Long Term Budget Outlook, CBO, loc. cit.
*For the 1975-2003 period.

The higher per person growth in national health expenditures and Medicare and Medicaid narrowed in the latter portion of the 1970-2003 period (Medicaid less so than Medicare), but nonetheless it still grew considerably faster than the overall economy. Recognizing this trend, the Medicare trustees in their central long-range forecast — the so-called “intermediate” projections — have assumed that per enrollee costs for Medicare will grow at an ultimate rate 1 percentage point faster than gross domestic product.[8] This is lower than experienced during the 1990-2003 period, but still greater than experienced by the economy generally.

Narrowing Difference Between Growth of National Health Expenditures and Growth of Gross Domestic Product
Amount by which national health expenditures exceeding growth in GDP (in percent)
1960-2001 2.5
1970-2001 2.3
1980-2001 2.3
1990-2001 1.5
Source:The Long-Term budget Outlook, CBO, loc. cit.

Combining this assumption with their demographic outlook, the Medicare trustees project that Medicare expenditures could rise from 2.7 percent of gross domestic product today to 9.6 percent in 2050 and reach 13.9 percent in 2080. Under a scenario with similar assumptions, the Congressional Budget Office projects that Medicare and Medicaid combined could rise to 11.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2050.[9] Expenditures of that magnitude today would represent more than half of the entire federal budget. While recognizing the great uncertainty surrounding their forecast, the Medicare trustees state that their projections —

“continue to demonstrate the need for timely and effective action to address Medicare’s financial challenges — both the long range financial imbalance facing the HI [Hospital Insurance] trust fund and the heightened problem of rapid growth of expenditures…. The sooner the solutions are enacted, the more flexible and gradual they can be…”[10]

What can be said about future private expenditures is uncertain but equally problematic. Health insurance premiums have been rising rapidly. By one report, in 2002 health insurance premiums “rose at a rate eight times faster than general inflation; experiencing the largest one-year surge in premiums in more than a decade.”[11] A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that “premiums charged for job-based health insurance rose by 11.2 percent in 2003, exceeding previous rates of growth. All types of health plans — including HMOs, PPOs, and POSs — demonstrated double-digit increases in cost.” Kaiser reported that the premiums paid by employers for employees’ family coverage rose from an average of $6,438 in 2000 to $9,086 in 2003, and that the average amount workers paid toward those premiums rose nearly 50 percent, from an average of $1,619 in 2000 to $2,412 in 2003. [12]

As premiums rise, it is reasonable to assume that employers will attempt to constrain their costs.[13] Workers could be expected to shoulder more of their medical expenses directly either by being required to pay a greater share of the employer’s premiums or by having increased cost-sharing requirements. Premium hikes for Medicare benefits (i.e. now required for non-hospital services and drug coverage) and for health insurance policies supplementing Medicare (i.e., Medigap policies) would likely have a similar effect on the aged. Large premium increases may cause policymakers to impose higher medical deductibles or coinsurance and may cause recipients to seek less expensive supplemental coverage with higher cost-sharing requirements. When such out-of-pocket expenses would have a restraining impact on medical prices is uncertain. Moreover, as they emerge, policymakers could step in and require governments to assume an even greater share of the burden. The tension, however, between further governmental absorption of out-of-pocket costs and governmental budgets will only grow stronger as costs already imbedded in public programs rise.

The continuing rise in medical costs has promoted calls for fundamental change of the nation’s health care systems. Some advocate greater governmental intervention to directly or indirectly control prices and utilization. Others believe greater free market competition in insuring those costs offers the most promising route. Still others believe that medical technology and innovation, greater advocacy of healthier lifestyles, promoting increased case management practices, and making further applications of information technology to the dissemination of effective medical advances and the paperwork “maze” for treatment and services will make the health care system considerably less costly.

Thus far, there appears to be no consensus about what the best solution to the rising price tag for health care might be. Given that uncertainty, it is likely that some combination of the various major policy prescriptions will evolve and be implemented as the cost pressures, both public and private, magnify in the years to come.


Endnotes:

[1] As measured by the Consumer Price Index for All-Urban Consumers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.
[2]Trends in the MCBS, 1992-2000, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
[3]SeeMedicare Current Beneficiary Survey, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Older Americans 2000: Key Indicators of Well-being, Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics.
[4]Trends in the MCBS, 1992-2000, loc. cit.
[5]The Long Term Budget Outlook, Congressional Budget Office, December 2003.
[6]Trends in Medicare Expenditures and Financial Status, loc. cit. It should be noted that recent legislation raised the Part B deductible to $110 in 2005, and larger premiums for high-income enrollees will be phased in over a five-year period beginning in 2007.
[7] The Long Term Budget Outlook, CBO, loc. cit.
[8] See The 2004 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds, Washington, D.C., March 23, 2004.
[9] The Long-Term Budget Outlook, loc. cit.
[10]The 2004 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds, loc. cit. Hospital Insurance (HI) is Part A of Medicare; Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) is made up of the traditional Part B and the new Part D prescription drug benefit.
[11]Health Care Costs, National Coalition on Health Care, 2004.
[12] Cost of Health Insurance, Employer Health Benefits: 2004 Annual Survey,Kaiser Family Foundation.
[13] A study by the Washington Business Group on Health, representing nearly 200 major employers, found that 80 percent of employers offering employee health insurance planned to increase co-payments or cost sharing in 2003, compared with 65 percent who answered that way in 2001. In a more recent study, the group found that 57 percent planned to increase cost sharing for 2004. (Martinez, As Health Costs Increase, Workers Must Pay More,” Wall Street Journal , June 16, 2003.) A New York Times article reported that “After corporate income taxes, employee benefits are the second largest structural cost for American manufacturers, adding 5.8 percent to costs.” (Daniel Gross, Whose Problem is Health Care, The New York Times, February 8, 2004.)


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Computer Data & Systems
Statistics, Trends & Reports
Research

UM_library_logoHealth Care: Statistics, Trends & Reports

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AARP Bulletin Today — Bloomberg Video — One Citizen Speaking — Aretha Franklin “Stand Up” Video


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aarp_logo_s10“To serve, not be served.”

AARP sent me one of those unsolicited AARP membership letters with the pre-printed membership card.  So I called their 800 number and said I was interested in joining however I have a few questions and wanted to understand the AARP position on the Healthcare Bill.

The nice lady that I spoke with was located in Nevada.  She explained to me that AARP supports this bill and it not a “socialist” plan as some are saying.  She went on to tell me that this plan would cover the 47 million individuals not insured and that number was probably a lot higher.  I asked for the source of this data however she was not sure where I could find this information.

She went on to say that this plan would cover the “donut hole” and wanted to know if I knew about this “donut hole”.  I said that I was not familiar with this term.  She explained that her son does not have medical coverage and this is the “donut hole”.  I told her that I now understand because I also have a daughter who had purchased her own medical insurance and I would be sure to tell my daughter about this “donut hole” and it would disappear under this new plan.

At the end of the conversation I declined to join AARP.  I explained that I don’t think we should change the entire system just for the unemployed or otherwise those that would be covered by either medicare or medicaid.  I explained that I like my current plan and why not just fix the areas that need improvement?  The nice lady suggest that I read their website and I explained that I was reading their website and this was the reason I was calling because I did not understand their position(s).  I wonder now how many AARP members that voted for this new Administration due to AARP’s influence?  Note:  For the record, per Wiki:

The term “donut hole” (or “doughnut hole“) refers to a coverage gap within the defined standard benefit under the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. Under the defined standard benefit package, there is a gap in coverage between the initial coverage limit and the catastrophic coverage threshold. Within this gap, the beneficiary pays 100% of the cost of prescription drugs before catastrophic coverage kicks in.

See previous Posting:  CBO/JCT Preliminary Analysis: America’s Affordable Health Choices Act



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Lessons From Home: What Obama’s Grandmother Taught Him About Long-Term Care

From the Editor,  By: Jim Toedtman | March 2, 2009

obama_grandparentsBarack Obama wants to reform the nation’s health care system. That’s good news. The better news is his intimate knowledge of the reasons that reform is so necessary. Perhaps no president has taken office with such personal exposure to the critical aspects of American health care—especially the challenges we face in restructuring a fractured system and bringing costs and services into balance with needs.

Lessons from home, namely the experiences of his mother and grandmother, will come into sharp focus as Obama proposes his first federal budget. His administration and Congress must wrestle with the conflicting dynamics of a soaring national debt, lagging revenue and a $2 trillion annual health care bill that still leaves 45 million Americans uninsured and consumes one-quarter of the federalbudget—even as U.S. infant mortality rates are higher, and longevity lower, than in the rest of the industrial world.

“My mother died very suddenly and very young,” Obama told the AARP Bulletin last fall. [Read the complete interview at bulletin.aarp.org.] Ann Dunham died in 1995 at age 52 after working as a consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Ford Foundation and Women’s World Banking. She taught her son an important lesson about access to health care. “She’d go from contract to contract and would be able to buy health insurance [only] when she got a new contract,” Obama said. “When she got sick, she had just signed up for a new job, a new contract, and she had a lot of arguments of whether this was a preexisting condition of which she had no knowledge whatsoever.” Later he added, “As someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make sure those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and who need care the most.”

From his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who continued living in the same Honolulu apartment where he had been raised, Obama learned important social and economics lessons about long-term care. “What I’ve learned from watching my grandmother is that with some modest help she’s able to remain independent,” he told the Bulletin shortly before she died. “And that costs the system much less than if she’d gone into a long-term care facility. The problem we have is that so much of our system is built around institutional care that we end up spending more money than we need to and probably with worse outcomes in a lot of cases.

“These are not abstractions for me,” he said frequently during the campaign. Nor are they abstractions for millions of Americans. As AARP’s leaders write in a letter to the White House [see page 10], this is an important moment for the nation. With the approaching retirement of 78 million boomers, reining in health care costs and strengthening the core safety net are crucial to stabilizing the nation’s finances and establishing an upgraded and rational system of health care. Starting points are the leadership of the president and the firsthand lessons he learned from his mother and grandmother. His first book was titled Dreams From My Father. His next must be “Lessons Learned.”

Related:

AARP Bulletin today:  A. Barry Rand on Closing the Doughnut Hole (Video)

AARP Bulletin today:  Obama Unveils ‘Doughnut Hole’ Solution


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Is AARP playing racial and social politics at their member’s expense?

One Citizen Speaking, July 19, 2009

Why would AARP blindly support a healthcare system which is ill-defined and which appears to feature a “best practices” approach which may be extremely hostile to the needs of senior citizens seeking advanced healthcare in the last stages of life?

…“Prior to joining AARP, Mr. Rand distinguished himself as a leader of social change in some of our nation’s largest corporate and educational institutions.”

… “Approximately seven million people have AARP branded health insurance, including drug coverage and medigap, as of April 2007  and AARP earns more income from selling insurance to members than it does from membership dues.”

…“In early 2007 AARP launched “Divided We Fail, ” designed to address health care and long-term financial security. The initiative was launched with Business Roundtable and the Service Employees International Union, and encompasses advertising in national outlets and in the primary states, online activities, and traditional grassroots work, in order to engage the public, business and elected officials in the debate, and to encourage public leaders to offer solutions, according to the AARP.”

The SEIU, under investigation for corruption within the leadership of some of its locals, openly advocates for “in-home” family health workers in California (a program riddled with fraud)  and is trying to unionize these workers with an eventuality of becoming California State employees. It is my opinion that the SEIU is to unions as ACORN is to community organizing…


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AARP Annual Reports (Source: AARP) (pdf)


Related Links:

Michelle Malkin:  The left-wing mortgage counseling racket

Zimbio:  Why would AARP support Daschle Plan?

Dick Morris:  OBAMA WILL REPEAL MEDICARE

WSJ:  Obama Endorses Drug Companies’ Plan to Cut Costs for Seniors

LewRockwell:  Are There Really 47 Million Americans Who Can’t Afford Health Insurance?

Topix:  Why Is AARP trying to sell its members on Obama’s health plan?

The Hill:  New AARP chief gave big to Obama

Politico:  AARP threatens senators on health care reform

American Thinker:  ‘Shock the Monkey’ Healthcare

Politico:  WH discloses health-care execs’ visits

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Update:  Added Politico Link

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Lt. Col. Dr. David Earl-Graeff Letter — Ledger Inquirer — Daily Beast — Executive Order 13489/12667/13233


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I-5 Los Angeles

As I stated in my post (The “Natural Born Citizenship” Problem Is Not Going Away) last week, “I don’t know what to believe”.  I was in the military during the Carter Administration and I know first hand the harm that was caused to the leadership in the rank and file.

It is only a matter of time when an aircrew will refuse their orders to fly into a combat mission or a group of Army soldiers will disobey orders using this “birth certificate” issue as their justification.  I’m from the “old school” and believe our military members should not be involved in such actions.  I raised my right hand to serve my country and to follow all “lawful” orders.  If the below article is correct, and 170 military members are now joining in this action, we have far more serious situation than the media would like us to believe.


Dr. Orly Taitz Esquire

Defend Our Freedoms Foundation 26302 La Paz ste 211, Mission Viejo CA 92691 Copyright 2009

drorlytaitzesq-02A letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates written by one of my plaintiffs

Flight Surgeon, Lt. Col. Dr. David Earl-Graeff

July 19th, 2009

Orly,

As I told my commander I am concerned that this issue is much more prevalent in our military than one might think. Like an illness that is wide spread but is only manifesting itself by few subtle signs or symptoms. A good analogy is like a extensive lung cancer that initially presents with the patient complaining only of a persistent hoarse voice. This is because many are still afraid to say anything out of fear of repercussions as Maj. Cook has now been the subject of. My concern is for the well being and moral of our fighting forces and their fitness for duty and my own obligations which are now and remain conflicted. This is part and parcel of the duty of  Flight Surgeon as I was trained to do in the Air Force. I understand  that this is not the customary path to address this issue but the normal channels to get this issue resolved, although not the fault of my immediate commander, I am convinced are broken. It is in my opinion part of the illness. We must get this resolved and use  everything in our power to do so given the gravity of the situation.

David

Honorable Robert M. Gates, 3 Mar. 2009

Enough is enough! You must be aware at this point of the tempest brewing among the Rank and File. I am writing you in an effort to appeal to your sense of concern for the Military; a concern we share not only for the Military as a whole but for each and every individual who wears the Uniform in the Service of our Country. I am in this regard specifically asking you for your help. I implore you to not wait until the “pot boils over” and we find ourselves in total disarray.

I am convinced, beyond any doubt, that the moral well being and efficiency of our fighting forces to defend our Country is soon to be hanging in a precarious balance if not already. In my humble estimation this is NOT a theoretical possibility to construct a thesis or a contingency plan about. It is a reality and is happening right now. Resolution of this issue must be accomplished in the most expeditious manner available at your disposal to gain immediate relief to those of us who are struggling to fully comply with our sworn Oath to the Constitution while being conflicted by questions relating to the qualifications of the POTUS to hold the office in full and absolute compliance with the Natural Born Citizen Clause.

Regardless of differences in the color of our uniforms, the color of our skin, religion or gender WE are Brothers and Sisters in Arms and our family is being torn apart. Are you not looking and listening to what is happening around you? How can anyone of good conscious stand by and let this happen to us? I for one cannot! You must care enough to intercede to stop this. Is this not within your power to do so? Why have you not acted already? What is it that you are waiting for?

If you have any doubts of what I am saying is true you need look no further than the comments made on the Military.com site regarding the actions of Lt. Scott Easterling who in my opinion is an absolutely courageous young Army Officer. Irrespective of your personal opinion of his actions, one thing is abundantly clear; the horrible, hateful and demeaning things that were being said about him and one to the other among my Brothers and Sisters in Arms were things that I have NEVER experienced in ALL my years of military service. It is no less than gut retching to see this happening. The wounds that are being inflicted will NOT be healed by any Medicine I have at my disposal. There is nothing I learned in Medical School or in my training as a Flight Surgeon that can fix this; save the absolute power of Truth. The POTUS must stop concealing the documents once and for all and the issue of his qualifications must be addressed. Make no mistake; any adverse consequences to the troops as a result of your failure to act responsibly will be in large part directly on your head.

Have you considered the legal ramifications for our fighting forces if for any reason the POTUS is not qualified. Are they in Iraq illegally? If so does this make them terrorists under International law as the Islamic radical elements have been calling them? Have they given up their Geneva protections and do not even know this? If so when captured can they be killed or tortured without International legal ramifications? Have they been stripped of the legal protections by the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief act? Are you willing to allow this risk to them when they are fighting for us?

Once again I find myself at a loss of words to try to explain the abject and total dismay I have at the administration to include the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to allow the painful division now occurring in our military to proceed unabated. I hope that do not need to remind you that you as well took an Oath to support and defend the Constitution. As a point of honor you are either willing to do this or you are not. If you are not then preserve your honor, resign and let someone who cares more about us than that do what is right.

I again respectfully implore you to act within your powers and help us. It is absolutely true and is my Prayer to my Creator to allow me to suffer the slings and arrows of being thought a fool rather than to have my convictions realized that persons of responsibility have allowed through negligence to have the Office of the President of the United States to be USURPED; it is self evident however, that whatever the outcome we must know the truth.

V/R

Lt Col David A. Earl-Graef USAFR MC


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Support of general added to Obama presidential eligibility suit disputed

By Lily Gordon – lgordon@ledger-enquirer.com

Friday, Jul. 17, 2009

An e-mail purporting to be from the two-star general listed as a plaintiff in the controversial federal lawsuit questioning Barack Obama’s eligibility as president says he never agreed to be a party to the suit.

On Wednesday night, the Ledger-Enquirer received an e-mail from a person identifying himself as Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Carroll D. Childers.

“You have bad information,” the e-mail says. “I have not joined the lawsuit brought by Maj. Cook. Please retract that information and do not print it again.”

In the story that first appeared Wednesday on ledger-enquirer.com, then later in Thursday’s print edition of the Ledger-Enquirer, Cook’s attorney filed a revised pleading after the revocation of Cook’s orders, which continued to push for a preliminary injunction. The revision also introduced two additional plaintiffs: Childers and Lt. Col. David Earl Graeff…

… The suit said in part: “Major General Carol (sic) Dean Childers retired but subject to lifetime recall, and Lt. Col. David Earl Graeff – Medical Surgeon in U.S. Airforce (sic) Active Reserves, subject to recall any day, join in this Application for Preliminary Injunction because it is a matter of unparalleled public interest and importance and because it is clearly a matter arising from issues of a recurring nature that will escape review unless the Court exercises its discretionary jurisdiction.”

Reached for comment on her cell phone Thursday afternoon, the plaintiffs’ California-based attorney, Orly Taitz, said she had a signed consent form from Childers. “Probably it’s some kind of mistake,” Taitz said. “I don’t know what happened.”

Later Thursday afternoon, the person identifying himself as Childers in an e-mail said several months ago he signed a “motion” Taitz filed requesting that a judge unseal specific personnel records, which Taitz thinks will either verify or disprove Obama’s status as a natural born citizen of the United States.

“Not being a lawyer, I was not aware that other subsequent court filings, in such cases as Major Cook, might also tie me to such subsequent cases,” the e-mail said. “I have notified Dr. Taitz that I am no longer a plaintiff in any motion she might process.”

Lt. Col. Maria Quon, a public affairs officer with the U.S. Army Human Resources Command-St. Louis, said Thursday afternoon that according to the Army records, Maj. Gen. Carroll Dean Childers retired from the Army National Guard in 1999.


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The Obama Haters’ Next Move

Crackpot anti-Obama conspiracy theorists now include congressmen, a former GOP presidential candidate and an Army major. John Avlon on the “Birthers” attempts to pass federal legislation, and their new claims 170 soldiers will refuse to serve the president.

Last week, a U.S. Army major named Stefan Frederick Cook made news when he refused deployment to Afghanistan on the grounds that President Barack Obama might not be a natural-born citizen and therefore is constitutionally ineligible to give orders as commander in chief. Now Cook’s lawyer says she has 170 more soldiers willing to file similar protests against the president.

Welcome to the world of the “Birthers”—right-wing conspiracy theorists committed to undoing the 2008 presidential election by trying to prove that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. The movement is evidence that Obama Derangement Syndrome is going viral from the far right, proliferating beyond fringe-festival Internet sites. It’s in danger of a quiet mainstreaming along partisan lines—reaching into talk radio, cable news, the armed services, and even the halls of Congress.

The 170 number thrown out by Cook’s lawyer has the feel of Joe McCarthy’s claim that he had a list of 205 communists working in Harry Truman’s State Department—i.e. pseudo-specific, intentionally inflammatory, and ultimately bogus. But what’s not in question is the nine Republican congressmen who have co-sponsored a bill that, in response to this much-debunked conspiracy theory, would require presidential campaigns to provide “a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate.”

Asked whether Obama “is a U.S. citizen,” bill co-sponsor Randy Neugebauer, a Texas Republican, replied: “I don’t know. I’ve never seen him produce documents that would say one way or another.”

Major Cook—a distinguished combat veteran—appears to have been a willing pawn in the Birthers’ efforts to bring attention to their cause. He re-enlisted as a reservist in May, with the apparent intention of carrying out this political performance-art litigation. When the military shrugged and said he didn’t have to go to AfPak (issuing a statement saying, “This in no way validates any of the outlandish claims made by Major Cook”) and a judge threw out the case, Cook’s legal team celebrated it as a smoking-gun victory. WorldNetDaily—whose editor and CEO has been a major supporter of Birther petition efforts and roadside billboards—trumpeted it as “Bombshell: Orders Revoked for Soldier Challenging Prez.”

In the wake of this “success,” Cook’s lawyer, Dr. Orly Taitz, and her frequent plaintiff, Ambassador Alan Keyes, appeared on CNN to debate the issue. I’d hit the Birthers in my “Wingnut Watch” segment on the Campbell Brown show earlier in the week and was asked to counter their claims alongside New York Daily News columnist Errol Louis.

Before going on air, Keyes had his eyes closed as if in prayer while Taitz was jumpy and pie-eyed, like a patient off her meds. Anchor Kitty Pilgrim then went through a thorough 3-1/2 minute dismantling of the Birther arguments, including the long-ago issuance of Obama’s August 1961 certificate of live birth, its validation by Hawaii’s Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, and two birth announcements published in Honolulu papers. (Both FactCheck.org and Snopes have published detailed investigations and refutations of the non-scandal.) …



Executive Order 13489: Presidential Records
Barack Obama’s Executive Orders
Signed on 21 January 2009.  Federal Register page and date: 74 Fed. Reg. 4669 26 January 2009.Restores the wording of Executive Order 12667, and revokes the Bush administration replacement Executive Order 13233.

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to establish policies and procedures governing the assertion of executive privilege by incumbent and former Presidents in connection with the release of Presidential records by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) pursuant to the Presidential Records Act of 1978, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Definitions. For purposes of this order:

(a) “Archivist” refers to the Archivist of the United States or his designee.

(b) “NARA” refers to the National Archives and Records Administration.

(c) “Presidential Records Act” refers to the Presidential Records Act, 44 U.S.C. 2201-2207.

(d) “NARA regulations” refers to the NARA regulations implementing the Presidential Records Act, 36 C.F.R. Part 1270.

(e) “Presidential records” refers to those documentary materials maintained by NARA pursuant to the Presidential Records Act, including Vice Presidential records.

(f) “Former President” refers to the former President during whose term or terms of office particular Presidential records were created.

(g) A “substantial question of executive privilege” exists if NARA’s disclosure of Presidential records might impair national security (including the conduct of foreign relations), law enforcement, or the deliberative processes of the executive branch.

(h) A “final court order” is a court order from which no appeal may be taken.

Sec. 2. Notice of Intent to Disclose Presidential Records.

(a) When the Archivist provides notice to the incumbent and former Presidents of his intent to disclose Presidential records pursuant to section 1270.46 of the NARA regulations, the Archivist, using any guidelines provided by the incumbent and former Presidents, shall identify any specific materials, the disclosure of which he believes may raise a substantial question of executive privilege. However, nothing in this order is intended to affect the right of the incumbent or former Presidents to invoke executive privilege with respect to materials not identified by the Archivist. Copies of the notice for the incumbent President shall be delivered to the President (through the Counsel to the President) and the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel). The copy of the notice for the former President shall be delivered to the former President or his designated representative.

(b) Upon the passage of 30 days after receipt by the incumbent and former Presidents of a notice of intent to disclose Presidential records, the Archivist may disclose the records covered by the notice, unless during that time period the Archivist has received a claim of executive privilege by the incumbent or former President or the Archivist has been instructed by the incumbent President or his designee to extend the time period for a time certain and with reason for the extension of time provided in the notice. If a shorter period of time is required under the circumstances set forth in section 1270.44 of the NARA regulations, the Archivist shall so indicate in the notice.

Sec. 3. Claim of Executive Privilege by Incumbent President.

(a) Upon receipt of a notice of intent to disclose Presidential records, the Attorney General (directly or through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel) and the Counsel to the President shall review as they deem appropriate the records covered by the notice and consult with each other, the Archivist, and such other executive agencies as they deem appropriate concerning whether invocation of executive privilege is justified.

(b) The Attorney General and the Counsel to the President, in the exercise of their discretion and after appropriate review and consultation under subsection (a) of this section, may jointly determine that invocation of executive privilege is not justified. The Archivist shall be notified promptly of any such determination.

(c) If either the Attorney General or the Counsel to the President believes that the circumstances justify invocation of executive privilege, the issue shall be presented to the President by the Counsel to the President and the Attorney General.

(d) If the President decides to invoke executive privilege, the Counsel to the President shall notify the former President, the Archivist, and the Attorney General in writing of the claim of privilege and the specific Presidential records to which it relates. After receiving such notice, the Archivist shall not disclose the privileged records unless directed to do so by an incumbent President or by a final court order.

Sec. 4. Claim of Executive Privilege by Former President.

(a) Upon receipt of a claim of executive privilege by a living former President, the Archivist shall consult with the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel), the Counsel to the President, and such other executive agencies as the Archivist deems appropriate concerning the Archivist’s determination as to whether to honor the former President’s claim of privilege or instead to disclose the Presidential records notwithstanding the claim of privilege. Any determination under section 3 of this order that executive privilege shall not be invoked by the incumbent President shall not prejudice the Archivist’s determination with respect to the former President’s claim of privilege.

(b) In making the determination referred to in subsection (a) of this section, the Archivist shall abide by any instructions given him by the incumbent President or his designee unless otherwise directed by a final court order. The Archivist shall notify the incumbent and former Presidents of his determination at least 30 days prior to disclosure of the Presidential records, unless a shorter time period is required in the circumstances set forth in section 1270.44 of the NARA regulations. Copies of the notice for the incumbent President shall be delivered to the President (through the Counsel to the President) and the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel). The copy of the notice for the former President shall be delivered to the former President or his designated representative.

Sec. 5. General Provisions.

(a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) authority granted by law to a department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Sec. 6. Revocation. Executive Order 13233 of November 1, 2001, is revoked.

THE WHITE HOUSE,

January 21, 2009

—————-

Executive Order 13233
by George W. Bush
Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act
Delivered on 1 November 2001.

FURTHER IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS ACT

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to establish policies and procedures implementing section 2204 of title 44 of the United States Code with respect to constitutionally based privileges, including those that apply to Presidential records reflecting military, diplomatic, or national security secrets, Presidential communications, legal advice, legal work, or the deliberative processes of the President and the President’s advisors, and to do so in a manner consistent with the Supreme Court’s decisions in Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, 433 U.S. 425 (1977), and other cases, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Definitions.

For purposes of this order:

(a) “Archivist” refers to the Archivist of the United States or his designee.

(b) “Presidential records” refers to those documentary materials maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration pursuant to the Presidential Records Act, 44 U.S.C. 2201-2207.

(c) “Former President” refers to the former President during whose term or terms of office particular Presidential records were created.

Sec. 2. Constitutional and Legal Background.

(a) For a period not to exceed 12 years after the conclusion of a Presidency, the Archivist administers records in accordance with the limitations on access imposed by section 2204 of title 44. After expiration of that period, section 2204(c) of title 44 directs that the Archivist administer Presidential records in accordance with section 552 of title 5, the Freedom of Information Act, including by withholding, as appropriate, records subject to exemptions (b)(1), (b)(2), (b)(3), (b)(4), (b)(6), (b)(7), (b)(8), and (b)(9) of section 552. Section 2204(c)(1) of title 44 provides that exemption (b)(5) of section 552 is not available to the Archivist as a basis for withholding records, but section 2204(c)(2) recognizes that the former President or the incumbent President may assert any constitutionally based privileges, including those ordinarily encompassed within exemption (b)(5) of section 552. The President’s constitutionally based privileges subsume privileges for records that reflect: military, diplomatic, or national security secrets (the state secrets privilege); communications of the President or his advisors (the presidential communications privilege); legal advice or legal work (the attorney-client or attorney work product privileges); and the deliberative processes of the President or his advisors (the deliberative process privilege).

(b) In Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, the Supreme Court set forth the constitutional basis for the President’s privileges for confidential communications: “Unless [the President] can give his advisers some assurance of confidentiality, a President could not expect to receive the full and frank submissions of facts and opinions upon which effective discharge of his duties depends.” 433 U.S. at 448-49. The Court cited the precedent of the Constitutional Convention, the records of which were “sealed for more than 30 years after the Convention.” Id. at 447 n.11. Based on those precedents and principles, the Court ruled that constitutionally based privileges available to a President “survive[] the individual President’s tenure.” Id. at 449. The Court also held that a former President, although no longer a Government official, may assert constitutionally based privileges with respect to his Administration’s Presidential records, and expressly rejected the argument that “only an incumbent President can assert the privilege of the Presidency.” Id. at 448.

(c) The Supreme Court has held that a party seeking to overcome the constitutionally based privileges that apply to Presidential records must establish at least a “demonstrated, specific need” for particular records, a standard that turns on the nature of the proceeding and the importance of the information to that proceeding. See United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 713 (1974). Notwithstanding the constitutionally based privileges that apply to Presidential records, many former Presidents have authorized access, after what they considered an appropriate period of repose, to those records or categories of records (including otherwise privileged records) to which the former Presidents or their representatives in their discretion decided to authorize access. See Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, 433 U.S. at 450-51.

Sec. 3. Procedure for Administering Privileged Presidential Records.

Consistent with the requirements of the Constitution and the Presidential Records Act, the Archivist shall administer Presidential records under section 2204(c) of title 44 in the following manner:

(a) At an appropriate time after the Archivist receives a request for access to Presidential records under section 2204(c)(1), the Archivist shall provide notice to the former President and the incumbent President and, as soon as practicable, shall provide the former President and the incumbent President copies of any records that the former President and the incumbent President request to review.

(b) After receiving the records he requests, the former President shall review those records as expeditiously as possible, and for no longer than 90 days for requests that are not unduly burdensome. The Archivist shall not permit access to the records by a requester during this period of review or when requested by the former President to extend the time for review.

(c) After review of the records in question, or of any other potentially privileged records reviewed by the former President, the former President shall indicate to the Archivist whether the former President requests withholding of or authorizes access to any privileged records.

(d) Concurrent with or after the former President’s review of the records, the incumbent President or his designee may also review the records in question, or may utilize whatever other procedures the incumbent President deems appropriate to decide whether to concur in the former President’s decision to request withholding of or authorize access to the records.

(1) When the former President has requested withholding of the records:

(i) If under the standard set forth in section 4 below, the incumbent President concurs in the former President’s decision to request withholding of records as privileged, the incumbent President shall so inform the former President and the Archivist. The Archivist shall not permit access to those records by a requester unless and until the incumbent President advises the Archivist that the former President and the incumbent President agree to authorize access to the records or until so ordered by a final and nonappealable court order.

(ii) If under the standard set forth in section 4 below, the incumbent President does not concur in the former President’s decision to request withholding of the records as privileged, the incumbent President shall so inform the former President and the Archivist. Because the former President independently retains the right to assert constitutionally based privileges, the Archivist shall not permit access to the records by a requester unless and until the incumbent President advises the Archivist that the former President and the incumbent President agree to authorize access to the records or until so ordered by a final and nonappealable court order.

(2) When the former President has authorized access to the records:

(i) If under the standard set forth in section 4 below, the incumbent President concurs in the former President’s decision to authorize access to the records, the Archivist shall permit access to the records by the requester.

(ii) If under the standard set forth in section 4 below, the incumbent President does not concur in the former President’s decision to authorize access to the records, the incumbent President may independently order the Archivist to withhold privileged records. In that instance, the Archivist shall not permit access to the records by a requester unless and until the incumbent President advises the Archivist that the former President and the incumbent President agree to authorize access to the records or until so ordered by a final and nonappealable court order.

Sec. 4. Concurrence by Incumbent President.

Absent compelling circumstances, the incumbent President will concur in the privilege decision of the former President in response to a request for access under section 2204(c)(1). When the incumbent President concurs in the decision of the former President to request withholding of records within the scope of a constitutionally based privilege, the incumbent President will support that privilege claim in any forum in which the privilege claim is challenged.

Sec. 5. Incumbent President’s Right to Obtain Access.

This order does not expand or limit the incumbent President’s right to obtain access to the records of a former President pursuant to section 2205(2)(B).

Sec. 6. Right of Congress and Courts to Obtain Access.

This order does not expand or limit the rights of a court, House of Congress, or authorized committee or subcommittee of Congress to obtain access to the records of a former President pursuant to section 2205(2)(A) or section 2205(2)(C). With respect to such requests, the former President shall review the records in question and, within 21 days of receiving notice from the Archivist, indicate to the Archivist his decision with respect to any privilege. The incumbent President shall indicate his decision with respect to any privilege within 21 days after the former President has indicated his decision. Those periods may be extended by the former President or the incumbent President for requests that are burdensome. The Archivist shall not permit access to the records unless and until the incumbent President advises the Archivist that the former President and the incumbent President agree to authorize access to the records or until so ordered by a final and nonappealable court order.

Sec. 7. No Effect on Right to Withhold Records.

This order does not limit the former President’s or the incumbent President’s right to withhold records on any ground supplied by the Constitution, statute, or regulation.

Sec. 8. Withholding of Privileged Records During 12-Year Period.

In the period not to exceed 12 years after the conclusion of a Presidency during which section 2204(a) and section 2204(b) of title 44 apply, a former President or the incumbent President may request withholding of any privileged records not already protected from disclosure under section 2204. If the former President or the incumbent President so requests, the Archivist shall not permit access to any such privileged records unless and until the incumbent President advises the Archivist that the former President and the incumbent President agree to authorize access to the records or until so ordered by a final and nonappealable court order.

Sec. 9. Establishment of Procedures.

This order is not intended to indicate whether and under what circumstances a former President should assert or waive any privilege. The order is intended to establish procedures for former and incumbent Presidents to make privilege determinations.

Sec. 10. Designation of Representative.

The former President may designate a representative (or series or group of alternative representatives, as the former President in his discretion may determine) to act on his behalf for purposes of the Presidential Records Act and this order. Upon the death or disability of a former President, the former President’s designated representative shall act on his behalf for purposes of the Act and this order, including with respect to the assertion of constitutionally based privileges. In the absence of any designated representative after the former President’s death or disability, the family of the former President may designate a representative (or series or group of alternative representatives, as they in their discretion may determine) to act on the former President’s behalf for purposes of the Act and this order, including with respect to the assertion of constitutionally based privileges.

Sec. 11. Vice Presidential Records.

(a) Pursuant to section 2207 of title 44 of the United States Code, the Presidential Records Act applies to the executive records of the Vice President. Subject to subsections (b) and (c), this order shall also apply with respect to any such records that are subject to any constitutionally based privilege that the former Vice President may be entitled to invoke, but in the administration of this order with respect to such records, references in this order to a former President shall be deemed also to be references to the relevant former Vice President.

(b) Subsection (a) shall not be deemed to authorize a Vice President or former Vice President to invoke any constitutional privilege of a President or former President except as authorized by that President or former President.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to grant, limit, or otherwise affect any privilege of a President, Vice President, former President, or former Vice President.

Sec. 12. Judicial Review.

This order is intended to improve the internal management of the executive branch and is not intended to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party, other than a former President or his designated representative, against the United States, its agencies, its officers, or any person.

Sec. 13. Revocation.

Executive Order 12667 of January 18, 1989, is revoked.

GEORGE W. BUSH

THE WHITE HOUSE,
November 1, 2001.

—————–

Executive Order 12667
by Ronald Reagan
Presidential Records
Delivered on 18 January 1989
Revoked by Executive Order 13233, 1 November 2001. Restored by Barack Obama on 21 January 2009.

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and in order to establish policies and procedures governing the assertion of Executive privilege by incumbent and former Presidents in connection with the release of Presidential records by the National Archives and Records Administration pursuant to the Presidential Records Act of 1978, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Definitions.

For purposes of this Order:

(a) “Archivist” refers to the Archivist of the United States or his designee.

(b) “NARA” refers to the National Archives and Records Administration.

(c) “Presidential Records Act” refers to the Presidential Records Act of 1978 (Pub. L. No. 95-591, 92 Stat. 2523-27, as amended by Pub. L. No. 98-497, 98 Stat. 2287), codified at 44 U.S.C. 2201-2207.

(d) “NARA regulations” refers to the NARA regulations implementing the Presidential Records Act. 53 Fed. Reg. 50404 (1988), codified at 36 C.F.R. Part 1270.

(e) “Presidential records” refers to those documentary materials maintained by NARA pursuant to the Presidential Records Act and the NARA regulations.

(f) “Former President” refers to the former President during whose term or terms of office particular Presidential records were created.

(g) A “substantial question of Executive privilege” exists if NARA’s disclosure of Presidential records might impair the national security (including the conduct of foreign relations), law enforcement, or the deliberative processes of the Executive branch.

(h) A “final court order” is a court order from which no appeal may be taken.

Sec. 2. Notice of Intent to Disclose Presidential Records.

(a) When the Archivist provides notice to the incumbent and former Presidents of his intent to disclose Presidential records pursuant to section 1270.46 of the NARA regulations, the Archivist, utilizing any guidelines provided by the incumbent and former Presidents, shall identify any specific materials, the disclosure of which he believes may raise a substantial question of Executive privilege. However, nothing in this Order is intended to affect the right of the incumbent or former Presidents to invoke Executive privilege with respect to materials not identified by the Archivist. Copies of the notice for the incumbent President shall be delivered to the President (through the Counsel to the President) and the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel). The copy of the notice for the former President shall be delivered to the former President or his designated representative.

(b) Upon the passage of 30 days after receipt by the incumbent and former Presidents of a notice of intent to disclose Presidential records, the Archivist may disclose the records covered by the notice, unless during that time period the Archivist has received a claim of Executive privilege by the incumbent or former President or the Archivist has been instructed by the incumbent President or his designee to extend the time period. If a shorter time period is required under the circumstances set forth in section 1270.44 of the NARA regulations, the Archivist shall so indicate in the notice.

Sec. 3. Claim of Executive Privilege by Incumbent President.

(a) Upon receipt of a notice of intent to disclose Presidential records, the Attorney General (directly or through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel) and the Counsel to the President shall review as they deem appropriate the records covered by the notice and consult with each other, the Archivist, and such other Federal agencies as they deem appropriate concerning whether invocation of Executive privilege is justified.

(b) The Attorney General and the Counsel to the President, in the exercise of their discretion and after appropriate review and consultation under subsection (a) of this section, may jointly determine that invocation of Executive privilege is not justified. The Archivist shall be promptly notified of any such determination.

(c) If after appropriate review and consultation under subsection (a) of this section, either the Attorney General or the Counsel to the President believes that the circumstances justify invocation of Executive privilege, the issue shall be presented to the President by the Counsel to the President and the Attorney General.

(d) If the President decides to invoke Executive privilege, the Counsel to the President shall notify the former President, the Archivist, and the Attorney General in writing of the claim of privilege and the specific Presidential records to which it relates. After receiving such notice, the Archivist shall not disclose the privileged records unless directed to do so by an incumbent President or by a final court order.

Sec. 4. Claim of Executive Privilege by Former President.

(a) Upon receipt of a claim of Executive privilege by a former President, the Archivist shall consult with the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel), the Counsel to the President, and such other Federal agencies as he deems appropriate concerning the Archivist’s determination as to whether to honor the former President’s claim of privilege or instead to disclose the Presidential records notwithstanding the claim of privilege. Any determination under section 3 of this Order that Executive privilege shall not be invoked by the incumbent President shall not prejudice the Archivist’s determination with respect to the former President’s claim of privilege.

(b) In making the determination referred to in subsection (a) of this section, the Archivist shall abide by any instructions given him by the incumbent President or his designee unless otherwise directed by a final court order. The Archivist shall notify the incumbent and former Presidents of his determination at least 30 days prior to disclosure of the Presidential records, unless a shorter time period is required in the circumstances set forth in section 1270.44 of the NARA regulations. Copies of the notice for the incumbent President shall be delivered to the President (through the Counsel to the President) and the Attorney General (through the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel). The copy of the notice for the former President shall be delivered to the former President or his designated representative.

Sec. 5. Judicial Review. This Order is intended only to improve the internal management of the Executive branch and is not intended to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party against the United States, its agencies, its officers, or any person.

RONALD REAGAN
The White House,
January 18, 1989.

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:07 a. m., January 19, 1989]


090626washington


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Updates:  Added Related Links

END

Le Figaro — “1st Lady Of France” Sings In NY (Video) — Courrier International (Simulator Recreation) — FAB Recovery Operations (Video)


FRANCE-BRAZIL-AIR-ACCIDENT


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AF 447: lawyers based on the families of victims

One attracts its customers through the Association of Victims and dangled a spectacular in the United States

Fabrice Amedeo 16/07/2009 (English Translation)(Emphasis mine)

A name, phone number, a profile on Facebook. The “Association for the truth about flight AF 447″ has not been slow to organize. Yet when one dials the number of the association, it falls directly from a law firm. The firm Maier is its name, is already through the association, 50 families. Contacted by Le Figaro, assures his boss that had to use his premises and his secretary to the association. “We are not sharks, Sylvain explains Maier. We will soon open a new phone line so there is no confusion. “

The firm works with a Parisian firm of Anglo-Saxon Stewarts Law, specializing in air crashes. According to our information, he contacted the relatives of the victims shortly after the tragedy to offer its services. Based in London, he receives at the premises of the association, ie within the law firm of Sylvain Maier, but certainly be “independent.” He dangled the prospects for victims compensation mirobolant.

This “soliciting” is banned in France, but no surprise his new partner in Paris. “I’m not shocked if the goal is to be effective,” explains Sylvain Maier. This process is not within the Bar of Paris, and I’m not even sure that it was banned in the UK. “Such a process is common relativise Denis Chemla, a partner at law firm Herbert Smith. Some law firms in the United States and Europe organized immediately after an accident in order to contact the families. “According to our records, Stewart Law has even contacted a lawyer close to the victim to try to recover his client’s piece of gold. “In France, our fees do not exceed 20% of the sums obtained by the victims, while the United States is 30 to 40%,” says the lawyer who was offered the deal.

To attract families, the Anglo-Saxon firm dangled the prospect of a trial in the United States. “The value of the seat, ie the compensation of victims, is more important to the United States than in France, said Denis Chemla. In France, including the compensation is calculated according to the income of the victims, while the United States considerations are more emotional. “Generally, a” seat “will be paid 3 to $ 5 million in the United States, against rarely more than 1 million euros in France. In the accident of Air France Concorde in 2000, families had received 1 million disappeared because passengers were quite fortunate. For the occurrence of Sharm el-Sheikh in 2004, compensation should be much lower.

Airbus made common cause with Air France

In the case of flight AF 447, Air France is not involved in a trial in the United States. Under the Montreal Convention, the company can not be prosecuted on the place of departure or arrival of his plane. The agreement also sets compensation at 90 000 euros per person. Part of this sum (17 000) has already been paid to families.

For its part, Airbus should make common cause with Air France. “Sometimes they do it without even knowing it, said a lawyer for victims. Finally, the reinsurer Lloyd’s which is the check, and it is not known who is behind. “

But once settled the case of Air France and Airbus, there is still all the equipment of the aircraft, most of whom are American. This is where the work of firms sometimes called “vultures” begins. For them, all means are good to export the judicial process on American soil. The investigators report a bad use of radar by the pilot? Bread blessed: the radar is American brand. Same scenario if the engine of the Airbus – it is General Electric – is mentioned, etc.. Remains whether the Anglo-Saxon firm really believe their fortunes through a trial in the United States or if it is for him as a way to attract customers. For a year, 150 cases of this, 147 applications have been rejected by U.S. courts.

—————

The careful study of the debris started AF 447

Fabrice Amedeo 16/07/2009 (English Translation) (Emphasis mine)

Pieces of the plane recovered in the South Atlantic arrived Tuesday in France. But in the absence of black boxes, specialists hope not to make major discoveries.

This is a second investigation begins. The wreckage of flight AF 447 which sank in the South Atlantic on June 1st, arrived by ship Tuesday in Pauillac (Gironde). They were immediately unloaded and delivered to the Air Test Center in Toulouse (CEAT), where they are expected over the weekend.

Two teams are at work: those of the air transport police in charge of the judicial investigation and the Office surveys and analysis (BEA), whose report is intended not to identify those responsible, but to improve aviation safety . This investigation should lead to the publication of a new report by the BEA to one year and that a final report in several years.

So this is a true work of substance which now begins after the initial study on the spot. This has enabled the experts sent to Recife to say that Airbus had not disintegrated in midair and was intact at the time of impact. This scenario is corroborated by the crushing of all the parts from the front of the camera and the internal structures of the closet that have been uprooted from their vertical support and plated against the floor.

“For this kind of expertise, every piece is important and none is left out,” says Ronan Hubert, historian accidentology air. This includes observing the break points on each of the parties that have been recovered. “In general, many observations are visual, but the use of scanner is sometimes necessary. The study of the engine or some of its parts allows in general to say whether the engine still running at the time of impact. The analysis of elements of wiring also helps to determine which lights were switched on and therefore the state information of the pilots before the accident.

Industrial Issues

It seems that nothing of this nature has been recovered in the South Atlantic. So, skepticism is the rule among observers even before the second season has begun. “You can say many things in a wreck,” says Gérard Arnoux, the chairman of the pilots’ union at Air France. The problem is that in the case of flight AF 447, it has not recovered much. “640 elements of the aircraft were recovered but they represent only 2 to 3% of the total  plane. “With so few elements, we will only probabilities, not on reliable deduct any scenario,” said Ronan Hubert.

Second part of this investigation is expected by the pilots of Air France. Many fear that the tracks have been reduced in the name of industrial issues. “It is almost certain today that if the Pitot probes were not released, the aircraft would not land, insists a trade union official. Then, the question of the weather and the attitude of the crew. “

Unless a miracle and the recovery of black boxes, finding an answer to these questions seems difficult. French forces had stopped last week acoustic research black boxes and will start next week a visual search of the wreckage.

Yet for some experts, all hope is not lost. During the crash of a Boeing 737 in early 2007 off the coast of Indonesia, it took eight months to U.S. authorities recovered the famous black boxes. They were intact and were based in 2 000 meters of water.



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In the cockpit of flight AF477 (English Translation)

How the crash of the Airbus A330 could occur? The Russian magazine Itogui held a reconstitution of the flight in a simulator.

25.06.2009 | Stepan Krivocheïev, Grigori Sanine

Sunday 31 May, 23 hours. At the airport in Rio de Janeiro, weather conditions are those of a splendid night of the season, “wind from north-westerly gusts, low cloud insignificant 1 000 m, cloud masses at 3 000 meters.” The Air France flight took off at midnight Paris time. Sixty minutes pass, and no signs of disaster, and visibility is about 10 kilometers and promises to remain stable during the three hours. The last radio contact between the crew and the ground takes place just under three and a half hours later, before the aircraft begins its voyage across the Atlantic. But that night, over the ocean, something unimaginable will happen.

“When you look at the weather maps we see that the area from which the plane issued a series of automatic signals, ie the area of his fall, suffered intertropical convergence phenomenon, ie a hurricane tropical extremely violent, “says Alexander Poliakov, deputy director of the Russian Meteorological Agency. “At the equator, the storm clouds may rise to 16 000 meters. Airbus, he was flying at 10 700 meters, so in the midst of the storm, which was accompanied by lightning discharges extraordinarily powerful. In addition, statements on this night, there was over the Atlantic large concentrations of tropical cumulus clouds, which still cause tremendous turmoil. “

The most serious threat to an airplane, it is not the winds that drive, not even the winds, the gradient wind speed according to altitude, or, more simply, the updrafts. If at a given level, the wind speed is 10 to 20 meters per second and, just above or below, it reaches 40 meters per second, it creates eddies which can carry from experts, a strong mechanical action on the fuselage and systems of the aircraft. “

Crews who have to cross the Atlantic are familiar with these phenomena. All pilots who have experienced tropical storms say there’s nothing more terrifying in the world. Fatikh Koutiouchev, a pilot familiar with the Atlantic and often overflew where Airbus has perished, evokes an area where the weather changing before our eyes: “We always approach this trap is to ask whether we can to pass. Consult on the radar, we look through the windows of the cockpit, everything indicates that we should be able to cross, and then suddenly when you arrive in the area expected to be released, we realize that we are fallen into a trap. The pilots are based on what they said on board radar, but if the road is blocked by a thick wall of clouds, there is no way to see what’s behind. When you fly over these areas, we are blinded and tossed around the plane while buzzing, vibrating, pulsating, lights up, shakes it to a point unimaginable. “

Straight ahead stands a wall of black clouds

i5966itoguiWe are in the season when the Hurricanes take the Atlantic tropical storm. The night of the accident, the vast space that separates Brazil from West Africa was in the grip of a raging storm. “The Airbus approached this area with an angle of 30 °, details Alexandre Poliakov. But what is strange is that where it disappeared, the wind was rather weak. It is over the height at which he was flying that the weather was so abysmal, with much more turbulence. It’s really quite curious. “

In an attempt to solve this mystery, we asked an airline pilot to attempt a reconstruction of the flight AF477 to board a flight simulator. Enclosed in the camera, we discover the multitude of on-board instruments while engineers entering computer data simulator flight Rio-Paris and the weather maps of the Atlantic for the night of tragedy. The captain informed the control tower that he was ready to take off. We drive on the track and put the levers of command reactors in position. We take the speed, we take off – that’s it, we are in the air, and we enclenchons the autopilot. Reached an altitude of 10 700 meters, we are relaxed. Our cruising speed is 870 km / h, the autopilot is docilely work, transmitting screen dashboard information on the operation of reactors, speed, altitude. The weather radar indicates that we are moving on a storm front.

Can not forget what we see through the windows right in front of us lies a huge wall of black clouds all around the air is zébré lightning, our headphones are spewing crépitements deafening, echoes of thunder hit. The computer announces that we have entered a zone of turbulence. The device is shaken from all sides. The situation is changing very quickly, columns of clouds bigger deal to us, downdrafts striking the aircraft, which, despite its imposing bulk, bounces like a football. We can not help but ask ourselves what are the passengers.

Just a few more minutes and we will be in the heart of a tropical storm. Around the cockpit, preventing swirling darkness to determine the status of the device, can not be relied instruments and the cockpit is nervous men feverishly seeking the best way to avoid the storm. You can not dive, and take the altitude is impossible due to the too high. The only options are skew to the right or left.

The radar shows a small hole on the right, the captain changes the speed to reduce the angle of the turn, and it gives the autopilot parameters of the maneuver. The aircraft “jumps” to the window immediately detected, but the space between the homes is suddenly stormy much smaller than expected. It is about 5 000 m and continues to decline.

The aircraft was caught in a deadly trap and without issue

The next instant, the storm engulfs our Airbus, without leaving any chance for him to turn away. Indeed, it looks like a trap. The tremors were so violent that is difficult to not vomit. We assourdis a strident cacophony of alarms and beeps from the various instruments. One after another, the captain of the calculation we drop, the computer immediately switches all the vital systems on the emergency and continues to fight against the forces of nature apart. The crew disconnected the autopilot and password manually (at least one of the assumptions made). Wielding the stick as a joystick electronic combat, the captain was trying to find a way to bypass the storm front. The screens show a horizon that shakes the storm wants us to win.

That’s when all switches. We are entering the computer speed that we provide the external sensors, pitot probes. According to one version planned, the Airbus accident could have been deranged and communicating false information. The speed that we are entering is not very consistent, as is our test. An alarm sounds immediately to notify us of a sudden acceleration. The pilot slowly operates the levers of control of reactors, but the speed falls to a coup and the device makes a spectacular caper before biting nose. Everything is finished.

Our captain lowers a switch and finally stops the simulator. The complexion and legs greenish cotton we exit the cockpit. This experience has shown us that a malfunction of the onboard computer, caused by extreme weather conditions, could be fatal to the aircraft of Air France. It is likely that Airbus will be caught in a deadly trap harmful if it had no issue.


Related Links

Daily Mail (UK):  The Airbus 330 – an accident waiting to happen

Telegraph (UK):  Air France crash: victims did not drown

LB Note:  Both of the above articles are speculative and are not worth our time discussing!


How many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind,
The answer is blowin in the wind.

(La réponse mon ami, est Blowin dans le vent!)


Update–Corrected title & Figaro Link.

END

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