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Archive for October 24th, 2009

Of course, knowing that this is the dominant philosophy in the West Wing, thanks to Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s unusual candor, when I read this morning that The Great Pretender and noted Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barrack Hussein Obama declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, I had to wonder, what is the end game really is.

The excuse given in the article was:

Health authorities say more than 1,000 people in the United States, including almost 100 children, have died from the strain of flu known as H1N1, and 46 states have widespread flu activity.

While no one likes hearing about people dying, except Democratic lawmakers who push Unconstitutional Health Insurance Takeover plans, replete with bureaucratic panels who will decide if we are too old to receive the care our doctors prescribe, or if the care is simply too expensive, the fact is that this is not a startlingly high number for flu deaths. Spend a quick few minutes with a search engine, and you will find that in a typical year in the U.S., the numbers of deaths attributed to influenza number in the tens of thousands. The CDC categorizes these deaths with pneumonia, so it is hard to say what their total is, but other sources put the number between 30,000 and 66,000 deaths annually.

When taken in this context, it hardly seems to be an “emergency”. So what does declaring it an emergency get the Manchurian Presidunt?
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Again, from the article:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius now has authority to bypass federal rules when opening alternative care sites, such as offsite hospital centers at schools or community centers if hospitals seek permission.

Some hospitals have opened drive-thrus and drive-up tent clinics to screen and treat swine flu patients. The idea is to keep infectious people out of regular emergency rooms and away from other sick patients.

Hospitals could modify patient rules — for example, requiring them to give less information during a hectic time — to quicken access to treatment, with government approval, under the declaration.

It also addresses a financial question for hospitals — reimbursement for treating people at sites not typically approved. For instance, federal rules do not allow hospitals to put up treatment tents more than 250 yards away from the doors; if the tents are 300 yards or more away, typically federal dollars won’t go to pay for treatment.

So far, so good…and then a clue:

The national emergency declaration was the second of two steps needed to give Sebelius extraordinary powers during a crisis.

On April 26, the administration declared swine flu a public health emergency, allowing the shipment of roughly 12 million doses of flu-fighting medications from a federal stockpile to states in case they eventually needed them. At the time, there were 20 confirmed cases in the U.S. of people recovering easily. There was no vaccine against swine flu, but the CDC had taken the initial step necessary for producing one.

So this got me thinking, “What other powers would the blood-money grubbing HHS Secretary have?”

I don’t know that I have satisfied myself as to the answer, but I did find a copy of the National Strategy on Pandemic Flu. It was appropriately vague. Then I found a presentation on the applicable federal law (pay attention to pages 56 to 76) Of more concern was the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, which is the model language drafted by the CDC for review and adoption by the individual states.

Of particular concern:

Under the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, upon the declaration of a “public health emergency,” governors and public health officials would be empowered to:

1.Force individuals suspected of harboring an “infectious disease” to undergo medical examinations.
2.Track and share an individual’s personal health information, including genetic information.
3.Force persons to be vaccinated, treated, or quarantined for infectious diseases.
4.Mandate that all health care providers report all cases of persons who harbor any illness or health condition that may be caused by an epidemic or an infectious agent and might pose a “substantial risk” to a “significant number of people or cause a long-term disability.” (Note: Neither “substantial risk” nor “significant number” are defined in the draft.)
5.Force pharmacists to report any unusual or any increased prescription rates that may be caused by epidemic diseases.
6.Preempt existing state laws, rules and regulations, including those relating to privacy, medical licensure, and–this is key–property rights.
7.Control public and private property during a public health emergency, including pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, nursing homes, other health care facilities, and communications devices.
8.Mobilize all or any part of the “organized militia into service to the state to help enforce the state’s orders.”
9.Ration firearms, explosives, food, fuel and alcoholic beverages, among other commodities.
10.Impose fines and penalties to enforce their orders.

Now between extensive quarantine powers, and states that could have provisions 6-10 of the above list on their books, it is enough to say “Yeah. I can see how this certainly is a crisis that Komisar Emanuel and the rest of the O Crew just might want to take advantage of. You might never know when that awful Swine Flu might strike the red states…say right after passage of an illegal Health Insurance Takeover Bill, maybe?”

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Just sayin’, s’all. Maybe you’re still the trusting sort. I’m not anymore. When a snake pokes its snout into my life and says “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”, I watch it very closely, and start wondering if I can cut it’s head off before it bites me.

H/t to the loverly SoHoS for the second image of Dear Leader.
Cross-posted at Taxes, Stupidity, and Death.

Cross-posted at The Hostages.

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