Tag Archives: healthcare

In Some States, a Push to Ban Mandate on Insurance

ST. PAUL — In more than a dozen statehouses across the country, a small but growing group of lawmakers is pressing for state constitutional amendments that would outlaw a crucial element of the health care plans under discussion in Washington: the requirement that everyone buy insurance or pay a penalty.

“All I’m trying to do is protect the individual’s right to make health care decisions,” said State Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota. “I just don’t want the government getting between my decisions with my doctors.”

“All I’m trying to do is protect the individual’s right to make health care decisions,” said State Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota. “I just don’t want the government getting between my decisions with my doctors.”

Approval of the measures, the lawmakers suggest, would set off a legal battle over the rights of states versus the reach of federal power — an issue that is, for some, central to the current health care debate but also one that has tentacles stretching into a broad range of other matters, including education and drug policy.

Opponents of the measures and some constitutional scholars say the proposals are mostly symbolic, intended to send a message of political protest, and have little chance of succeeding in court over the long run. But they acknowledge the measures could create legal collisions that would be both costly and cause delays to health care changes, and could be a rallying point for opponents in the increasingly tense debate.

“This does head us for a legal showdown,” said Christie Herrera, an official at the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group in Washington that advocates limited government and free markets, and which on Sept. 16 offered guidance to lawmakers in more than a dozen states during a conference call on the state amendments.

So far, the notion has been presented in at least 10 states (though it has already been rejected or left behind in committees in some of them), and lawmakers in four other states have said they will soon offer similar measures in what has grown into a coordinated effort at resistance. (Arizona, which has placed the amendment on its ballot in 2010, seems the furthest along)

Here in Minnesota, like in many of the other states, the move to amend the State Constitution is being driven by a handful of Republican lawmakers.

“All I’m trying to do is protect the individual’s right to make health care decisions,” said State Representative Tom Emmer, a Republican. “I just don’t want the government getting between my decisions with my doctors.”

The first efforts actually predate the Obama administration and the current federal health care debate. Proposed constitutional amendments began cropping up after 2006, when Massachusetts passed a sweeping state law meant to create nearly universal health coverage for residents. Elsewhere, some leaders — opposed to the possibility of insurance mandates, government-run systems or rules barring people from paying for their health care procedures — began suggesting constitutional amendments to block such measures from their own states.

In Arizona, with help from Dr. Eric Novack — an orthopedic surgeon who says his intent was not “some grand secessionist plot” but merely a health care overhaul with protections for individuals’ rights — an amendment first went before voters in 2008. The idea lost, but by fewer than 9,000 votes among more than two million cast. This year, Arizona’s Legislature, dominated by Republicans in both chambers, voted to send the question back to the ballot in 2010.

Few in the public seemed focused on health care a year ago, those involved in Arizona’s ballot question said, but the recent debate over a federal overhaul has changed all that, and proponents of the amendment believe that will improve its chances both in Arizona and in other states, where similar efforts have taken root.

The federal proposals, though, have also changed the potential fallout if such amendments were to pass.

Clint Bolick, litigation director at the Goldwater Institute, a conservative research group based in Arizona that favors free enterprise, and who has helped lead Arizona’s efforts, said he believed the inevitable “legal clash” — if the federal government adopts a health care law and if states change their constitutions — was winnable for the states.

Although the Constitution’s supremacy clause ordinarily allows federal law to, in essence, trump a state law that conflicts with it, Mr. Bolick said that was not always the case, depending on “the strength of the state interest.” Mr. Bolick said he viewed two recentSupreme Court cases, related to an education question in Arizona and a utility district in Texas as indications that the current court might be open to such a state claim.

But several other legal experts said they saw little room for such a challenge. “States can no more nullify a federal law like this than they could nullify the civil rights laws by adopting constitutional amendments,” said Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, a health law expert at Washington & Lee University School of Law.

Mark A. Hall, a law professor at Wake Forest who has studied the constitutionality of mandates that people buy health insurance, said, “There is no way this challenge will succeed in court,” adding that the state measures seemed more “sort of an act of defiance, a form of civil disobedience if you will.”

Even Randy E. Barnett, a Georgetown Law professor who has written about what he views as legitimate constitutional questions about health insurance mandates, seemed doubtful.

“While using federal power to force individuals to buy private insurance raises serious constitutional questions, I just don’t see what these state resolutions add to the constitutional objections to this expansion of federal power,” Professor Barnett said.

In Minnesota, even before the prospect of a court clash, Mr. Emmer appears to have an uphill battle ahead. Before voters can consider amending the state’s constitution, Mr. Emmer needs approval from the Legislature, which is dominated by Democrats. He has offered the Health Care Freedom Act in years past, but it has never made its way to a vote, and Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the Democratic speaker of the House who is also among the wide field of candidates for governor, said last week that she doubted it stood much of a chance this time either.

“Most legislators are interested in improving the health of Minnesotans, and how to do more health care reform,” Ms. Kelliher said. “No one thinks the answer is a states’ right movement.”

Still, Mr. Emmer, who is a candidate for governor, says he is hopeful. He emphasizes that such an amendment — regardless of court battles over a federal plan — would certainly spare Minnesotans from the potential downsides of some future state health care plan.

And this whole amendment notion, he said, would not prevent anyone from taking part in a federal health program; it would merely block people from being forced to do so.

Of legal experts who discount the states’ chances of trumping a federal plan, Mr. Emmer seemed unconvinced.

“They’re essentially saying that state constitutions are meaningless, and I disagree,” he said. “And tell me where in the U.S. Constitution it says the federal government has the right to provide health care? This is the essence of the debate.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/29/us/29states.html?_r=2&8au&emc=au

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Ranking the U.S. Health-Care System

It is curious that the United States ranked below Europe in the World Health Organization’s 2000 World Health Report, which rated 191 countries’ medical systems. In his documentary Sicko, socialist Michael Moore makes hay out of the fact that the United States placed 37th, behind even Morocco, Cyprus, and Costa Rica. This ranking is used to “prove” that state-controlled health care is superior to the “free market.”

This ranking is curious because the actual life expectancy of the average American differs very little from that of the average European. At birth, average life expectancy in the European Union is 78.7. For the average American it is 78. And this doesn’t adjust for factors that can affect the averages which are unrelated to health care, such as lifestyle choices, accident rates, crime rates, and immigration. Health isn’t entirely about longevity but it certainly is a major component.

What is not mentioned by Moore, or others citing the WHO report, are the measures being used to rate the various countries and who is doing the measuring. There are many ways to nudge ratings in one direction or another that are not directly related to the actual item being measured.

For instance, one might produce a study on transportation. The purpose of transportation is to get people from where they are to where they wish to be. You might rate how quickly people can move, how cheaply they can move relative to their income, how conveniently they can move, and how free they are to move.

You would think the United States would rate high in such a study. Americans tend to be wealthier than the rest of the world. There is widespread ownership of cars. Gasoline prices are lower than in most other countries. On average, the typical American can travel quicker, cheaper, and more conveniently than people in most parts of the world. But what if this index included other factors as well? For instance, if a major component was the percentage of commuters who use public transportation, that would push the United States far down in the ranking. A larger percentage of the people in other countries have no other option but public transportation.

In 2000, when the report was issued, WHO was run by Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former prime minister of Norway and a socialist. She doesn’t think the results of a health system alone are important. Rather, she wants to know if the system is “fair.” In introducing the WHO report she wrote that while the goal of a health system “is to improve and protect health,” it also has “other intrinsic goals [that] are concerned with fairness in the way people pay for health care.” She is clear about the ideological factors she thinks are important: “Where health and responsiveness are concerned, achieving a high average level is not good enough: the goals of a health system must also include reducing inequalities, in ways that improve the situation of the worst-off. In this report attainment in relation to these goals provides the basis for measuring the performance of health systems.”

True to her ideological roots, Brundtland prefers socialized medicine over private care. Drawing her first conclusion about what makes a good medical system, she declares: “Ultimate responsibility for the performance of a country’s health system lies with government. The careful and responsible management of the well-being of the population—stewardship—is the very essence of good government. The health of people is always a national priority: government responsibility for it is continuous and permanent.”

One WHO discussion paper states, regarding “fairness” in financing, “we consider only the distribution, not the level, as there is no consensus on what the level of health spending should be.” Equal results, not necessarily good results, are the focus.

When Moore or others refer to the WHO index as proof that private health care doesn’t work, they aren’t being totally honest because they fail to disclose that the index lowers the scores of systems that don’t satisfy socialist presumptions.

A Second Rigged Study

The New York Times in August editorialized that American health care “lags well behind other advanced nations.” The newspaper relied in part on the WHO rankings as proof. For the rest, it relied on a more recent study by the Commonwealth Fund. But that study, which compared the United States to five other wealthy countries, has weaknesses similar to the WHO study.

The Commonwealth Fund marked down the United States partly because “All other major industrialized nations provide universal health coverage, and most of them have comprehensive benefits packages with no cost-sharing by the patients.” Again the American system loses points because it doesn’t provide socialized medicine. And the Times neglected to note that “no cost-sharing” means the people have paid through taxes whether they receive the care or not.

Non-Emergency Visits

The United States also was penalized because seeing a physician for non-emergency reasons is harder to do on nights and weekends than in the other five nations. The Fund said “many report having to wait six days or more for an appointment with their own doctors.”

The survey didn’t look at the treatment of serious conditions. Waiting weeks or months for chemotherapy is not held against a health-care system, but waiting a few days to have a check up is. Waiting time for “elective” surgery is counted (the United States was a close second to Germany), but waiting time for non-elective, serious surgery did not count, though that is precisely where socialist systems do the worst.

This issue is not unknown to the Commonwealth Fund. In 1999 it published The Elderly’s Experiences with Health Care in Five Nations, which found significant delays for “serious surgery.” Only 4 percent of the American seniors reported long waits for serious surgery. The rate was 11 percent in Canada and 13 percent in Britain. For non-serious surgery the differences were more obvious: 7 percent in the United States, 40 percent in Canada, and 51 percent in Britain.

In the latest survey, the United States came in dead last for health “safety,” but many of the scores were only a few points apart. For instance, 15 percent of American patients said they “believed a medical mistake” had been made in their treatment within the last two years. Notice this is merely patient perception and nothing objective. But the best score was in Britain, where 12 percent said this.

The United States is also marked down because 23 percent of patients report delayed or incorrect results on medical tests they took. That is far worse than the best country, Germany, at 9 percent. But what constitutes a delay? If a result is expected in a week but takes two, that is a delay. But if it is expected in three weeks and arrives then, that isn’t a delay. Thus what constitutes a delay depends on expectations, leading to counter-intuitive results.

The United States also lost credit because fewer Americans report having a regular doctor for five years or more. But Americans are more mobile than many other people. CNN reports that Americans move every five years on average. In comparison, Britain has a moving rate of 10 percent a year, or an average of once a decade. And 60 percent of those move about three miles.

Freer to Change Doctors

Americans are also freer to change doctors if they wish. Britain requires patients to sign up with physicians, and once they do so, they are pretty much stuck unless they want to end up on the waiting list of another physician. Patients often have to wait to get on the books of a physician and only then can they be treated; that is, they wait to get on a wait list. This is true even for heart transplants. The inevitable waiting is a disincentive to change doctors.

Another measure used by the Commonwealth Fund is centralization of medical records. If a country has a system that allows doctors anywhere to tap into the patients’ records, it is rated higher. The United States has no centralized database and so is rated lower. Many Americans may prefer to have their records private and dispersed. When the Clinton plan was proposed in 1993, one of the rallying points that helped defeat it was the centralization of health records.

Out-of-pocket expenses were counted against a system as well. In socialized health care these expenses are zero or very low but are replaced with taxes. Taxes, however, don’t lower a country’s score because the care “is free.”

Countries were also judged on the number of patient complaints. But different cultures have different attitudes toward complaining. Jeremy Laurance wrote in the Belfast Telegraph recently that the National Health Service needs “a healthy dose of American belligerence.”

Finally, the United States is ranked last among the six nations surveyed  in infant mortality. What is not discussed is that nations define infant mortality differently. Any infant, regardless of size or weight or premature status, who shows sign of life is counted as a live birth in the United States. Germany, which ranks number one in the Commonwealth Fund survey, doesn’t count as a live birth any infant with a birth weight under 500 grams (one pound). How valuable is a comparison under those circumstances?

One could easily design a survey that would rank American health care high and other nations low. But this does not mean the American system is what it should be. Its successes and innovation can be attributed to the vestiges of freedom, but government has saddled the system with so much intervention that it is far from market oriented. Instead of worrying about irrelevant international rankings, we should be working toward freeing the medical market.

http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/ranking-the-us-health-care-system/

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Breaking: Man’s finger bitten off in fight at Los Angeles health care rally

Yesterday at a health care reform rally outside of Los Angeles, in Thousand Oaks California, A senior citizen had his finger bitten off by an Obama supporter during a fight.

The local station KTLA-TV reported the incidence and that it occurred where two opposing sides of the demonstration met.  One side of the group was sponsored by MoveOn.org and the other was a grassroots non organized gathering of American citizens concerned about the government’s implementation of  the massive liberty constricting bill.

Fox News reported that a man was wading through the counter-protest to get to the MoveOn side, when the 65 year old confronted the Obama supporter; he bit off the older man’s finger.

And KTLA-TV said that, “the elderly man took his detached finger to a local hospital for medical attention.”  But today on the Rush Limbaugh program, where Mark Stein was sitting in for the host, a caller spoke on the air and claimed that he was in the middle of it as well.  The caller said that he saw the elderly man’s finger get bitten off by the self-proclaimed pro-reformer.  The caller then helped the senior locate his finger and also helped to usher him from the crowd.

The left is losing this battle of truthful words, so it’s time to resort to violence.  We are witnessing more bussed in SEIU, and HCAN (ACORN, SEIU, and Congressional Black Caucus), Obama supporters and seeing evidence of highly organized HCAN, ACORN and MoveOn.org disruptors to muddy the water and intimidate the concerned American people.

For health care reform supporters such as HCAN a MoveOn.org is, the real question is, can they shout louder than the truth of the actual language in the legislation?

http://www.examiner.com/x-8817-Pittsburgh-Conservative-Examiner~y2009m9d3-Breaking-Mans-finger-bitten-off-in-fight-at-Los-Angeles-health-care-rally#

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Public Option Sports

What a great satirical article!!! LOL

We are about to get a public option on health care, an idea so incontrovertibly great that it ought to be extended to other fields. The government simply provides more choice and more competition.

There are already public options for mail delivery and mass transit – the United States Postal Service and Amtrak. Sure, those entities do under-perform the private alternatives, such as FedEx and Greyhound. But at least the public option is supported by monopolistic laws preventing direct competition! No private party can deliver regular mail or run trains, even if they could do it for cheaper. We want public options to have some advantages, don’t we? If they didn’t have any legal advantages over private competitors and were intended to be self-sustaining, we might as well offer them as another private option! That’s just silly.

America has a long and proud tradition of public options. Did you know that one of the first states, Connecticut, used to have a public option in religion?

From 1636 till 1818, the Congregational Church was the state’s established church. By default, you attended and tithed to that public church, but it was not always mandatory. You could opt out of the Congregational Church. Under the Act of Toleration of 1708, you just had to declare yourself a member of a different religion and then you could attend the other church. Did you still have to pay to support Congregational Church ministers? Well, sure! It was a public option, you know, and we all pay our fair share for the public option – just like the public option on education. You can send your kids to any school you like, but we all must pay our share for public schools.

Over time, Connecticut even granted certain exceptions. Episcopalians could opt out of paying taxes to support the Congregational Church starting in 1727. Baptists and Quakers could do so in 1729. As long as you were on the short list of approved alternate religions, and you could prove you were supporting other ministers, you could opt out of the religious public option. Easy.

You might have noticed what you assumed was a typo above. A state church in 1818 – when the Bill of Rights, whose very first amendment separated church and state, had already been in effect for nearly three decades?

That is no typo. The Bill of Rights, like the rest of the Constitution, serves as a guideline and a goal, not as a blind, mindless restriction on the government’s ability to provide for the well-being of its citizens!

With enough time to properly plan a transition, in 1818 Connecticut removed the public option and moved closer to compliance with the First Amendment by issuing a new state constitution. Sure, it still explicitly favored Christianity, but it was a step in the right direction. By 1843, Connecticut had even recognized that Jews have a right to worship. Talk about progress!

The only conclusion one can reach from all this is public options are of course a great idea. They should also be applied to sports.

Sports and health care? Are the two even comparable in terms of impact on the economy?

They are. We pay about as much for health insurance as we do for sports. Health insurance companies had total revenue of $405 billion in 2007, according to the Highline Data Health Industry Aggregate. Total sports revenue, including the NBA, NFL, NHL, MBA and golf, are now around $400 billion a year, according to Plunkett Research, Ltd.

And not just revenue, but the same arguments about rising costs of health care apply to sports. Just try to get Knicks tickets for the whole family without selling a kidney.

Sure, fans currently have a choice about which team to follow, but why not offer a government-funded one, just as an extra option? Consider the Federal Bureaucrats as a new NBA team.

The ‘Crats would offer equal NBA access to all. Your grandmother could play point guard and your toddler could play center. The coach would be a former Goldman Sachs partner and only the top lobbyists and political fundraisers would be allowed in the locker room.

And if Shaquille O’Neal finds himself with a decided advantage over a two-year-old, or Kobe Bryant keeps swiping the ball from Grandma, that’s where we call foul, and that’s where the true advantage of a public option comes into play:

We own the referees.

http://lewrockwell.com/orig10/maymin3.1.1.html

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CDC Report Stirs Controversy For Merck’s Gardasil Vaccine

This is exactly the reason why I have never gotten this vaccine.  I knew that it had not been tested enough and I didn’t want to put something like that into my body without knowing the consequences for doing so.

Cervical Cancer Vaccine Linked to Deaths, Incidents of Fainting and Blood Clots

A government report out today raises new questions about the safety of the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil and links the drug to 32 unconfirmed deaths as well as higher incidences of fainting and blood clots than other vaccines.

Emily Tarsell started her daughter Christina on Gardasil — a vaccine that protects against four of the most common cancer-causing strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) — after her first visit to a gynecologist and at the doctor’s recommendation.

Eighteen days after Christina received her final vaccine shot, she died.

“I know it was the Gardasil,” Tarsell said, although the official cause of death was undetermined. “They were really recommending it, saying that there weren’t any side effects, that it was safe. So I kind of went against my better instinct [and let her] get the shot.”

Deaths like Christina’s are one of several types of complications reported to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) following Gardasil distribution in 2006, a summary of which appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association today. Some of these adverse events were serious, including blood clots and neurological disorders, and some were non-life threatening side effects from the vaccine, including fainting, nausea and fever.

Although experts agree that the accuracy of data from VAERS reports — which can be made by anyone and are not verified or controlled for quality — is questionable, they remain divided as to whether extreme adverse events, which are serious but rare, are cause enough to stop recommending and administering the Gardasil vaccine without further investigation.

Report Shows Rare But Serious Side Effects May Result From Gardasil Vaccine

“Although the number of serious adverse events is small and rare, they are real and cannot be overlooked or dismissed without disclosing the possibility to all other possible vaccine recipients,” said Dr. Diane Harper, director of the Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Research Group at University of Missouri. “The rate of serious adverse events is greater than the incidence rate of cervical cancer.”

As of June 1, 2009, the CDC reported that over 25 million doses of Gardasil, which is recommended for women between ages 9-26, have been distributed in the U.S. and there was an average of 53.9 VAERS reports per 100,000 vaccine doses. Of these, 40 percent occurred on the day of vaccination, and 6.2 percent were serious, including 32 reports of death.

VAERS Report Is No Measuring Stick For Gardasil Side Effects

“I’m pro preventing cervical cancer and HPV,” said Dr. Jacques Moritz, director of gynecology at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, who said he would not offer the Gardasil vaccine to patients when good cervical cancer screening techniques and treatments exist. “I’m not pro that the physicians don’t know the risks and side effects.”

But clinicians on both sides of the vaccination debate agree that data provided by the VAERS report is limited because it lacks any baseline comparison for the adverse events reported. This makes it difficult to draw cause and effect relationships when a death, for example, occurs soon after administering the Gardasil vaccine.

In fact, the JAMA study authors showed that 90 percent of those with blood clots had typical risk factors for clots, outside of having received the vaccine — using oral contraceptives, for example, or smoking.

“The problem is that there is a difference between an adverse reaction caused by the vaccine, as opposed to an adverse event reported in association with the vaccine,” said Dr. Lauren Streicher, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Northwestern Medical School, who supports use of the vaccine. “Patients need to understand the true risk of the vaccine, as well as the risks of not getting the vaccine.”

Understanding Risks and Side Effects Essential For Recommending Gardasil

The overwhelming consensus regarding Gardasil use is that physicians who are not well versed in the risks of HPV and cervical cancer and the side effects of the vaccine cannot adequately counsel patients whether or not to be vaccinated.

Dr. Joseph Zanga, chief of pediatrics at the Columbus Regional Healthcare System in Columbus, Ga., pointed out that Gardasil does not prevent women from contracting HPV in every instance, that many people who are infected will spontaneously rid themselves of the virus, and that routine pap smears are still the best prevention against cervical cancer.

“Perhaps the most important, currently missing ‘warning’ is that the vaccine may not be forever,” Zanga said. “We know that it protects for 5-7 years so that a girl getting the series at [age] 11-12 will enter the time of her most likely sexual debut unprotected but believing herself to be.”

Many Doctors Will Continue to Provide Gardasil

Dr. L. Stewart Massad, the Practice and Ethics Committees chair for the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, said his organization has educated thousands of clinicians about the risks of HPV and the Gardasil vaccine.

“We based our education [program] criteria on data from the CDC’s risk assessment,” he said. “Certainly there are differences of opinion when it comes to how adverse events are, you have to balance the risk for each patient.”

Massad also noted that the ASCCP was unable to secure government or other non-profit funding for education outreach programs when the vaccine was first introduced and turned instead to private companies, including Merck, which manufactures Gardasil.

Further Investigation of Adverse Reports Needed

Harper said that the next step in determining the severity of the risks associated with the Gardasil vaccine would be for the CDC to investigate the reported adverse eventsnd verify a causal relationship. But this may prove a difficult task, she said, because many of those events were reported by Merck and did not include sufficient information to perform an investigation.

Still, the report is unlikely to prevent most doctors from continuing to provide the vaccine to patients.

“There are 772 serious problems identified in 23 million doses of vaccine,” said Dr. Kevin Ault, associate professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University. “I usually tell my patients that these serious events are tragic, rare and likely unrelated to the vaccine.”

ABC News’ Tyeese Gaines-Reid contributed to this report.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/CancerPreventionAndTreatment/Story?id=8356717&page=1

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White House Reviews Names of Recipients of Unsolicited E-Mail on Health Care (VIDEO)

After a testy exchange between FOX News and White House spokesman Robert Gibbs over an e-mail list, the White House says it will review names of recipients who received unsolicited information to determine how they ended up on a distribution list sent out by the East Wing.

The White House on Friday was looking over a list of names submitted by FOX News of people who say they received unsolicited e-mails on health care from the White House, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign or his political organization, Organizing for America.

After a testy exchange Thursday between FOX News’ Major Garrett and White House spokesman Robert Gibbs over the e-mail list, the White House said it would review some of the names of recipients to determine how they ended up on the distribution list.

FOX News obtained permission from some of the e-mailers who sent their concerns to FOX News and forwarded them to the White House. No explanation has yet been received.

The White House maintains a massive e-mail list as part of its effort to promote its position on pressing issues. On Thursday, senior adviser David Axelrod used the list to send out a “chain” e-mail asking supporters of health care reforms backed by the administration to forward his rebuttal to criticism circulating on the Internet.

The mail offered reasons to support Obama’s agenda and tried to debunk what the White House decries as myths in the health care debate.

Axelrod wrote that opponents are relying on tactics including “viral e-mails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all sorts of lies.”

“So let’s start a chain of e-mail of our own,” he said, inviting supporters to forward a message countering claims that Obama’s plans would lead to rationing, encourage euthanasia or deplete veterans’ health care.

But some people who received the e-mails directly from the White House forwarded them to FOX News and asked how they ended up on the list when they’ve never been in communication with the Obama administration. Some wondered if visiting the White House Web site automatically places them on an e-mail distribution list.

Gibbs told Garrett on Thursday that he couldn’t respond until he saw who received the e-mail because he doesn’t have “omnipotent clarity.”

Asked whether the White House seeks other pieces of information to identify those who might be curious about health care even though they have never signed up for e-mails or visited the Web site, Gibbs said he would have to see the e-mails to know.

Pressed to explain why he couldn’t answer, Gibbs said “Well, I hesitate to give you an answer because you might impugn the motives of the answer.”

“Why would you say that?” Garrett asked incredulously.

“Because of the way you phrased your follow up. I’d have to look at what you got, Major. I appreciate the fact that I have omnipotent clarity as to what you’ve received in your e-mail box today,” Gibbs said.

“You don’t have to have omnipotent clarity. You don’t have to impugn anything,” Garrett fired back. “I’m telling you what I got: e-mails from people who said I never asked anything from the White House.”

Ending the exchange, Gibbs said, “Let me go someplace else that might be constructive.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/14/white-house-expected-explain-creation-health-care-e-mail-list/

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