SURPRISE! ALL THAT DEATH PANEL FEARMONGERING ABOUT A DOCTOR SHORTAGE WAS A LIE: “The headlines were ominous: Good luck finding a doctor under Obamacare. Not enough doctors for newly insured. Obamacare, doctor shortage could crash health system. Despite these dire predictions, the nation’s primary care system is handling the increased number of insured patients without major problems so far, according to interviews with community health centers, large physician practices and insurers nationwide. Five months into the biggest expansion of health coverage in 50 years — with about 13 million people enrolled in private insurance and Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act — there are few reports of patients facing major delays getting care, say officials from more than two dozen health centers and multi-group practices, as well as insurers and physician groups in nine big states. There are some exceptions, particularly in parts of Colorado, Kentucky and Washington state, which had some of the biggest gains in coverage. HealthPoint, a network of nine community health centers and six dental clinics southeast of Seattle, is turning away about 150 people a week although it had added two new facilities and expanded a third in anticipation of the surge. The centers have seen nearly 7,000 new patients this year — a 10 percent increase — most of them newly covered by Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor that expanded in Washington and 25 other states.” (via Kaiser Health News)
FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN!
JUST IMAGINE THE SNARK OF GRAYSON AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF BENGHAZI. IT’S LIKE PAY-PER-VIEW TERRITORY: “The work of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Talk Points—as the new committee to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, would be more accurately named—began in earnest Friday, as the seven Republican members met for the first time with Speaker John Boehner, and then among themselves. In protest of Republican rules granting Chairman Trey Gowdy unilateral subpoena power, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has yet to appoint minority members. Democrats received no guarantee they will be allowed access to interview witnesses before public testimony is given. Regardless of Democratic participation, there is no doubt this committee is, in Nancy Pelosi’s words, a “political stunt”—simply the latest attempt by Republicans to convert tragedy into scandal. The process will undoubtedly waste millions of dollars and thousands of hours, ultimately to reach the same conclusion as investigations conducted by the Accountability Review Board, the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. This is reflected by the list of ostensibly damning questions Chairman Gowdy intends to ask, whose answers (not so damning) have been known for months. While many progressives have argued for a boycott of the process, that would be a colossal error. Even with limited power, ceding the committee room to Republicans—not to mention the televised hearings—will only allow them to parade their Benghazi myths unimpeded by relevant facts framed in questions from the minority. The critical question is: Whom should Democrats appoint as ranking member of the committee? The answer, to me, is crystal clear: Florida Representative Alan Grayson.” (via American Prospect)
THAT THING WE ALL ALREADY KNOW ABOUT CHARTER SCHOOLS: “Charter school operators want to have it both ways. When they’re answering critics of school privatization, they say charter schools are public — they use public funds and provide students with a tuition-free education. But when it comes to transparency, they insist they have the same rights to privacy as any other private enterprise. But a report released Monday by Integrity in Education and the Center for Popular Democracy — two groups that oppose school privatization – presents evidence that inadequate oversight of the charter school industry hurts both kids and taxpayers. Sabrina Joy Stevens, executive director of Integrity in Education, told BillMoyers.com, “Our report shows that over $100 million has been lost to fraud and abuse in the charter industry, because there is virtually no proactive oversight system in place to thwart unscrupulous or incompetent charter operators before they cheat the public.” The actual amount of fraud and abuse the report uncovered totaled $136 million, and that was just in the 15 states they studied.” (via billmoyers..com)
NERD ALERT! THEY FOUND THE SANTA MARIA: “More than five centuries after Christopher Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria, was wrecked in the Caribbean, archaeological investigators think they may have discovered the vessel’s long-lost remains – lying at the bottom of the sea off the north coast of Haiti. It’s likely to be one of the world’s most important underwater archaeological discoveries. “All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’ famous flagship, the Santa Maria,” said the leader of a recent reconnaissance expedition to the site, one of America’s top underwater archaeological investigators, Barry Clifford. “The Haitian government has been extremely helpful – and we now need to continue working with them to carry out a detailed archaeological excavation of the wreck,” he said. So far, Mr Clifford’s team has carried out purely non-invasive survey work at the site – measuring and photographing it. Tentatively identifying the wreck as the Santa Maria has been made possible by quite separate discoveries made by other archaeologists in 2003 suggesting the probable location of Columbus’ fort relatively nearby. Armed with this new information about the location of the fort, Clifford was able to use data in Christopher Columbus’ diary to work out where the wreck should be.” (via The Independent)