…and should you care? Perhaps you have no answer to either of those questions and until today neither did I. I still cannot answer the title question but I have a tentative answer for the second. But, between now and the year 2014 we shall in all likelihood become very familiar with said acronym.
A bit of an explanation.BMI stands for Body Mass Index which one can actually calculate for themselves at the website for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (nhlbisupport.com/bmi) which is an affiliate of the National Institutes of Health. When one provides the appropriate figures the site calculates one’s body mass index on a numerical scale. The numbers are categorized on four levels which are underweight, normal, overweight and obese.
As another feature of the economic stimulus plan sees the light of day, we are learning that one’s BMI is going to become a very important number indeed. By the way, both of the above mentioned agencies belong to the Department of Health and Human Services. That brings us to an announcement made a few days ago by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The secretary announced new regs this week stipulating that the electronic health records that we are supposed to have by 2014 ( thanks to Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus bill) must record the BMI as well as height and weight,etc. The law also requires that these electronic records be available on a national exchange, with the proper security measures of course. Health care providers must, by 2014, establish meaningful use of these electronic health records or face cuts in their Medicare/Medicaid payments.
Ok, no what might be the reason mandating that BMI be maintained ? How exactly is it used? Well, the CDC uses the figure as its primary method for measuring obesity.
Ok, what is the first lady’s big mission, childhood obesity. Various and sundry legislators continue to float proposals to heavily tax soft drinks and the fast food industry is a prime target of Science in the Public Interest. Perhaps none of this means anything but I believe that it does. Added together it is rather strong effort at dictating what you can eat or perhaps even what you can weigh ( admittedly taken to te extreme) and if you do not comply, perhaps there could be a health insurance surcharge as a penalty. Shucks, maybe one of the unknown provisions in Obamacare, as Speaker Pelosi termed it, already does this.
Don’t you just love the concept of greater government control?
Years ago, before it became so ubiquitous, MTV had a commercial campaign that war either annoying to the nth degree or an inspired bit of genius, depending on your age group, I guess. In an effort to get their “product” on cable systems, we were treated to repeated commercials screaming from the telly, “I want my MTV.” Apparently, enough of the younger generation took it to heart because MTV became must see and must listen to for lots of people.
Now, some 27 years after the fabled ad campaign, people see to be asking for something entirely different. They are wondering where is their Obamacare? Not 2014, but now! There was such an intense campaign to get the bill passed and the Democrats euphoria and celebration over the passage ( cue Joe Biden here) that one can hardly blame folks for wondering where all these great benefits are and when will they see them? Supposedly, on the HHS website, information is forthcoming. You would think it would have long ago been there. Perhaps the reality of being the “health czar” has not quite sunk in for Secretary Sebelius or maybe it has and she is just enjoying the afterglow.
The President doesn’t seem to helping matters with some of his thinly veiled barbs at those lawmakers who opposed the plan or the one comparing the criticism to people expecting seeds to sprout overnight. I just keep remembering a comment he made to John McCain. I won, you lost, so get over it.
But with insurers being flooded with calls about the plan’s provisions and being surprised with the answers, perhaps Pelosi and company over sold the deal. Wait, it had to pass so we all would know what was in it. Maybe that even applied to those who rammed the bill through?
The President made quite an interesting choice of venues yesterday. In the midst of heavy-duty intrigue and maneuvering on Capitol Hill regarding health care, he appeared on Fox News. A gutsy move, I would have to say, being interviewed by probably his least favorite media outlet, other than probably Rush or Glenn Beck. The host was Bret Baier and the interview was quite interesting,
There was some give and take that seemed a bit testy, almost reminiscent of Dan Rather’s questioning of Nixon many years ago. A number of media outlets used the term contentious, some called it challenging or combative. I wonder about the timing unless the idea was to reach a large audience and gamble that the President would get his message out on his terms. Not sure that he accomplished that.
For one, he made another, shall we say, misstatement, akin to the 3,000% decrease in health insurance premiums statement , made in Ohio a day or so ago.(Press Secretary Gibbs called it a misstatement, saying the President meant $3,000, which HHS Secretary Sebelius also used,I doubt that figure also) Baier asked about some of the “deals” that were made to entice wavering Senators to vote yes. One was to Senator Landrieu and had become known as the Louisiana Purchase. In responding, Obama referenced Katrina and all the difficulties that ensued for Louisiana. Then inexplicably, he compared it to the earthquake that affected Hawaii. Unbelievable, partly because he lived there . Fortunately, Hawaii has not been impacted by an earthquake in many years. A minor pont, sure, but it replicated his earlier error in Ohio and did not help his case.
One other thing from the interview that bugged me a bit. Baier referenced some 18,000 e-mails that he had received and began to read from one of them. The President quickly responded that he receives some 40,000 emails and letters daily. Sounded like he was playing a numbers game. ” I get more mail than you,” ha! Not a presidential statement. How about one more. “Whatever they end up voting on…it is going to be a vote for or against my health care proposal.” That sums it up rather well, don’t you think?
Move over Hilary, forget it Gates, a new sheriff is on the way. Her name, Kathleen Sebilius. One of the by products, by design or not, who knows, will give the HHS secretary quite a bit more clout than she now possesses.
Traditionally, the HHS Secretary is not headed by a household name, either when their term begins or when they are done. Try naming the most famous or notable occupant of the position. Not easy is it? How about even naming her predecessor? It was Utah’s own Moon Landrieu. Probably the office’s most celebrated occupant harks back to when it was Health, Education and Welfare. That would be our friend Jack Kemp.
But, if the health care bill lurching along through the Senate becomes law, Secretary Sebilius is poised not only to become very well-known but also significantly more influential than she now is.
According to an article in the Washington Examiner by Susan Ferrechio, HHS would become a “giant” federal powerhouse. Devon Herrick is a health care expert at the National center for Policy Analysis. He says that there are almost 1,700 (1,697) times in the bill when the when the HHS secretary is given leeway to create, define or determine things in the bill. Seems that HHS will have quite a bit of wiggle room to interpret things in the bill. He cites an example or two. One of the biggies, perhaps the biggest, gives HHS the authority to regulate insurance, currently a state function. The feds would no doubt perform all sort of wondrous things to improve the insurance system or maybe just regulate it death. Who really knows? Here is another. HHS would be empowered to create a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation which could make cost savings cuts on its own without the approval of Congress. Sounds just peachy. This is just one of a potentially large number of new government agencies that are likely to arise. And remember, this bill is revenue neutral. Riiight!!
I have got to wonder if Hilary maybe would be interested in a do over on this Cabinet position stuff. She would have a lot more power as HHS secretary than she now has. Besides, I seem to remember that health care reform was once her bailiwick.
I just saw a fascinating list at Forbes of who they consider to be the 100 most powerful women in the world. I am a big fan of lists and Forbes regularly has some of the best in a number of areas.There was a lot of interesting information on the list; from who was included, where some familiar names were ranked and the diversity of occupations and countries( 31 different ones) that appeared.
Sad to say, I was unfamiliar with a number of the names so I won’t be able to speak to a number of those that ranked very high. Number one was Chancelor Angela Merkel of Germany, just one of a surprising number- to me- that were heads of state. There were 10 that were either Chancellor, Prime Minister or President.
I obviously cannot speak to whether or not individuals should or should not have made the list. Some were easy choices that even I could have made, many were not. What observations I have would fall into the are of opinion. So, if you like my opinions, great, if not, great. Very few are etched in stone.
The only member of the top 10 that I recognized was Ms Merkel who headed the list for the 4th year in a row. There were 2 members, Michele Obama and Melinda Gates, whom I found interesting. It seems, seems now, that their influence is more of a derived one, considering who their spouses are, than the remainder of the list. Oprah Winfrey was not as highly ranked as I would have thought but was one of the few involved in media.
Three U S Cabinet members appeared, Sebelius, Napolitano and Clinton along with Speaker Pelosi. Good choices, I thought. Both female Supreme Court justices appeared. I thought Justice Sotomayor’ s appearance might be a bit premature though. Two IT companies, sort of, Yahoo with Carol Bartz and Oracle with Safra Catz , were represented.
One thing appeared more interesting than it probably should be . It seemed that the financial services industry was the business type seen most often. Having said that, I was surprised that Sunoco’s CEO was Lynn Eisenhans who made the list at #10.
The list makes for a very good read and one can learn quite a bit, as I did, about the variety of leadership positions held by women. It is a list that undoubtedly will grow.
Sometimes it seems that Joe Biden is too good to be true. We haven’t checked in on him lately, so let’s see what we can learn about his comings and goings. We know he was in Iraq on July 4 and that was acceptable, visiting the troops, boosting their morale, maybe. Just recently he was telling us that Israel had the right to defend themselves against Iran and its possible acquisition of nukes. Small problem, he contradicted the boss. Not a good move for Joey B.
Now we learn from the LA Times that a new term has been coined to help describe Biden’s schedule. It seems that he has many private meetings with unnamed sources on unnamed subjects and they are “closed press.” Guess that means no news folks allowed. For one thing, that is a good way to be certain that something he might say might come out wrong or perish the thought, be misinterpreted. It gets even better according to Andrew Malcolm. He was to show up for a meeting with HHS Secretary Sebelius at 11:00 am and after all was said and done should have been finished by say, 12:30. Hang out, Bidenspeak, schedule style is coming up.According to the White House Biden will not spend the rest of his day in private meetings that are sans media. Now, the following is a quote: ” The Vice President will spend the remainder of the day in meetings that are closed press.” Enormous difference, right? Hey, it is certainly cheaper than flying him to a foreign country for some mindless meeting. He can stay home and have a mindless meeting.
But never fear. The globetrotting one will be off to the Ukraine and Georgia (not the state, hope he knows that) to offer some encouragement in their democratic reforms.
Gotta have a picture of Joe, just so you don’t forget. This was one of the best I saw.
(Photo from maholo.com)
My apologies to the AFLAC duck and my neighborhood friend, Henry the Duck. But the analogy just fits quite well. We are speaking now in presidential terms. Since Mr Obama looks presidential and sounds presidential(except when he and TOTUS are not in harmony) he must be presidential, right?
A bit more evidence, OK. Our friend Joe(Blue collar) Biden says Obama is a cross between Denzel Washington and Franklin Roosevelt. Furthermore, he, Biden, knew a couple of years ago that Obama was a genius.
Now, we have Harry Reid quoting Obama after reid praised him for a speech some 2+ years ago;” I have a gift”.
Well, is he as Biden says or as Reid says he said? Think it may be a bit early but if the broadcast media has its way, who knows.
Think on this, Obama was golfing yesterday, nothing wrong with that, of course. The comment was made by a spokesman that he was receiving hourly updates on the growing swine flu problem. Imagine Bush doing the same( fyi- there is already a group blaming senate republicans for aggravating the flu problem by not confirming Kathleen Sebelius) and the imagine the response.
Our president has made much of the phrase,”the audacity of hope” and he is correct in that hope is an audacious thing. But, there ae other things associated with our ruling class that are perhaps equally as audacious.
We may be witnessing a phenomenon that is unprecedented in recent political history or not, but it is quite fun to take note of it. Have you observed how many Democrats servings as either senators or governors were not elected to their current positions.
- New York Governor David Paterson and Senator Kirsten( guns hidden under the bed) Gilliland
- Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Senator( for now ) Roland Burris
- Delaware Senator Ted( temporary until it’s time for Beau) Kaufman
- Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
- Colorado senator Michael Bennett
- Kansas Governor Mark ( wait until Kathleen Sebelius is confirmed to HHS ) Parkinson
Any common ground up there, at least one caretaker and one whose shelf life as a senator is limited. We could have had yet another until New Hampshire’s Jud Gregg went, oops, what was I thinking, and withdrew. Shucks, there could even be more. The Administration is still young.
Ok, now for part two which is sort of related. Have you noticed ow many of the nominees or their their spouses etc have had tax problems. Well, not that I am a conspiracy theorist or anything , but I think that was all done for a purpose. Pick people with tax problems, have them do a mea culpa, fess up, pay the taxes, get sympathy, because they are the best person for the job, etc. Beside, look how they are doing double duty by helping the budget deficit. So, if you know a politician with IRS trouble, preferably a Democrat, contact the White House at once. Oh yes, bonus news, the state of Kansas has big time budget problems and cannot at present send out tax refunds. For your further consideration, hope you are not rich whatever the Democrats define that as today because the tax man cometh.
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