News Capsules (January/February
Canadian Health Care
While Canadian physicians have been going on strike protesting the deterioration of medical care which continues to be rationed for Canadian citizens --- Canada's defense department confirmed on Sept. 2 that the military has agreed to pay for sex-change operations.
"Our decision was based on our assessment of whether someone who had had [sex-change] surgery could serve in the military. The advice we got from the specialists we consulted was that once somebody had been successfully treated, they should not be restricted from any military duties," noted Col. Scott Cameron, director of medical services for the military (The Washington Times, National Weekly Edition, Sept. 14-20, 1998).
"Sex-change operations had been covered by most of Canada's provincial health plans for years but not by the military's health plan..."
Meanwhile, according to the British Columbia Medical Association, the wait for coronary bypass surgery in the provinces remains at 30 weeks and patients are dying because of delays. And, the Canadian government remains concerned about the serious shortage of nurses, who along with doctors, are fleeing the country.
American --- A Republic or a Democracy?
While many members of Congress have ceased to call for the president's resignation, the majority of our legislators remain reluctant to speak out regarding the president's political scandals. They fear the president's popularity and job approval rating which, according to media polls, continues to hover above 60 percent. It appears the president remains immune to impeachment not only because the Republicans do not want to face Vice President Al Gore as an incumbent in the presidential elections in the year 2000, but also because they fear the wrath of the voters, particularly women and soccer moms, who are said to continue to be enamored with the president.
If indeed the president's popularity is as high as claimed by the media-commissioned pollsters (i.e., as far as job approval), then if we lived in a democracy, a 51 percent majority vote in the popularity contest would exonerate the president. On the other hand, in a republic, public opinion would be less relevant, and the president would be held accountable according to the process of the rule of law, regardless of his popularity.
During the Constitu-tional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, the Founding Fathers rejected a purely democratic form of government which they likened to a lynch mob and decried as a government not by the judicious rule of law, but by the capricious rule of man. Moreover, they believed a constitutional republic, led by virtuous men bound from mischief with the chains of the constitution, was the best form of government fallible man could conceive. They believed that if public servants violated the public trust --- namely, lying to the people, perjury, suborning perjury, obstruction of justice, abuse of power, violation of the constitution, etc. --- then the remedy was impeachment. (From one of my letters to The Macon Telegraph, June 2, 1998.)
Whistle-blowers at the EPA
In a letter to The Washington Times last year, numerous Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists, managers, staff, and others complained that whistle-blowers in the agency face threats of harassment and intimidation if they step forward and speak out. Retaliation against whistle-blowers is pervasive at the EPA and occurs at every management level, involving officials at the highest levels, including the office of administrator Carol Browner.
A May 1998 press release by the National Wilderness Institute entitled, "The People versus Carol Browner: EPA on Trial," cited examples of cases brought against scientifically-correct but politically-incorrect researchers. The EPA is now under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Last year, the EPA was ordered to pay $100,000 to Mr. David Lewis by an administrative law judge who found the agency to have "selectively and falsely accused him of ethics violation in connection with an article he had criticizing the 'agency's science.' "
Like the National Center for Injury Preven-tion
and Control (NCIPC) of the CDC (with the issue of peddling gun control),
it appears that the EPA's proclivity toward the use of politicized science
in policy making is catching up with the agency and may require significant
intervention by Congress to curtail those egregious proclivities. (The
Washington Times, National Weekly Edition, Sept. 14-20, 1998, p. 37.)
Politicized Science at the EPA
Another example of politicized science at the EPA can be found in U.S. District Judge William Osteen's ruling last July against the EPA and "its dishonest report" about the purported dangers of second-hand cigarette smoke. The Washington Post noted that in his decision against the EPA, Judge Osteen found that a 1993 EPA report concluding that "environmental tobacco smoke is a Class A carcinogen and causes some 3,000 cancer deaths per year was a fraud."
Judge Osteen wrote: "The EPA [was] publically committed to a conclusion before research had begun...[the agency] excluded industry by violating legal procedural requirements; adjusted established procedure and scientific norms to validate the agency's public conclusion, and aggressively utilized the [law's] authority to disseminate findings to establish a de facto regulatory scheme intended to restrict plaintiff's products and to influence public opinion."
It appears the EPA has joined the battle for the perversion of science with politicized, results-oriented research. Despite the lack of scientific evidence to that effect, EPA chief Carol M. Browner, has pronounced, "protecting people from the health hazards of second-hand smoke should be a national imperative." This assertion is reminiscent of public health researchers led by Dr. Mark Rosenberg, Director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), who told The Washington Post in 1994, "We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. Now it [sic] is dirty, deadly, and banned."
Although the deleterious effects of smoking are well known, the evidence for second-hand smoke is flimsy at best. One must wonder if much of this regulatory control by government agencies has more to do with social control and social engineering rather than science. Needless to say, we must remain vigilant that unscientific, preordained, results-oriented, research published and disseminated not only in government reports but in the mainstream medical journals (which may result in adverse and detrimental effects on public policy) do not go unrefuted. As we have written in these pages, when science and medicine become subjugated to government the results are as perverse as they are disastrous on public policy. (See also: The Samuel Francis Letter, August 1998; Civil Defense Perspectives, September 1998; and "The Perversion of Science and Medicine," Medical Sentinel, Spring and Summer 1997.)
The NEA on National Health Care Policy
This summer, the National Education Association (NEA) convention passed a series of radical resolutions supporting diversity, multicultural and global education, sex education, environmental education, and early childhood education in the public schools for "children from birth through age 8." The NEA also wants home schooling only if the parents are "licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency." In addition, numerous NEA resolutions oppose voucher plans and tuition tax credits for parents.
The NEA believes that increased choice for parents will undermine public education and reduce funding for public (government) schools. Despite epidemiological concerns (see Medical Sentinel, "Expanding Day Care," May/June 1998), the NEA also wants schools to provide day care for preschoolers.
Of particular importance to us, is that the NEA also adopted a single-payer health care plan for all residents of the United States, its territories and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and will support health care reform measures that move the United States closer to this goal. Of course as a stepping stone, the NEA believes every child should have "direct and confidential access to comprehensive health care...Legislation should be adopted to provide comprehensive health care to all children." (See Medical Sentinel, "To the Tune of Washington's Pied Pipers," Fall 1996.)
The NEA has significant political clout. The NEA-PAC ranks among the top ten of 4,000 political action committees in receipts and expenditures. The report notes that campaign cash funneled to Democratic candidates from the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) unions, from 1993-1998, totaled over $11,176,749.00!
For a complete listing of the NEA 1998 lobbying agenda and resolutions passed at the 1998 convention contact Eagle Forum. (The Phyllis Schlafly Report (August 1998), P.O. Box 618, Alton, IL 62002, http://www.eagleforum.org.)
Soaking the Rich
The latest IRS figures reveal that while in 1985 the top 1 percent carried 12.8 percent of the federal tax burden, today the 1 percent most affluent members of our society carry over 30 percent of the total tax burden.
E&M Guidelines --- Update
On September 24, 1998, HCFA announced that it is developing "less burdensome" guidelines for documenting evaluation and management (E&M) services in conjunction with the AMA and state and specialty societies. HCFA insists on using quantitative formulas, and Robert Berenson, M.D., director of HCFA's Center for Health Plans and Providers, acknowledged that "physicians have voiced their strong opposition to the use of counting or numerical formulas." But, he said, "HCFA has decided that some counting is necessary to assure consistent interpretation of the guidelines by Medicare carriers."
HCFA officials also stated that HCFA plans "to move toward a system of review targeting outliers --- physicians who frequently use unusual codes --- and away from a system that randomly reviews all claims."
In the meantime, the AMA has released a statement that the new E&M guidelines will not be implemented until late 1999 and, in the meantime, "physicians should comply with either the 1995 or 1997 guidelines."
Additionally, AMNews (October 5, 1998) reported "that the AMA will offer technical guidance to HCFA through its CPT editorial panel. The AMA 'strongly regrets' HCFA's insistence on retaining some quantitative formulas, said Randolph D. Smoak, M.D., chair of AMA's Board of Trustees. But 'renewed work with HCFA is needed so physicians will not face documentation guidelines that do not reflect broad, practicing physicians input and experience,' he noted."
Readers of the Medical Sentinel should not be surprised the AMA
and HCFA are proceeding with their plans to implement the hated E&M
guidelines. The AMA and HCFA have invested too much time and effort into
this project to easily relinquish it. (See "AMA's Secret Pact with
HCFA" by Andrew Schlafly, Esq., Medical Sentinel, July/August 1998.)
California Leads the Way
At the California Medical Association's (CMA) second annual Leadership Academy, CMA Alert (Sept. 17, 1998) reported, "physicians have the power and ethical responsibility to try to improve our health care system and map out its future." And thus, experts made the following statements:
Emily Friedman, a Chicago-based health care analysts and ethicist, "What is at stake is the precious trust relationship between those who suffer and those who can ease that suffering. There are no stakes higher than that."
Reed Tuckson, M.D., AMA senior vice president for professional standards, "There are people who will die because [our country] is inattentive to the things that really matter, and that is a moral outrage and a shame for a great democratic civilization."
Mark Smith, M.D., president and CEO of the California HealthCare Foundation, "The bottom line is that health care purchasers are demanding accountability in the health care system, and physicians must stop resisting the movement to measure quality. Quality measurements can actually increase clinical autonomy, reduce inappropriate cost cutting, and aid quality improvement."
Willis Goldbeck, Institute for Alternative Futures, "When you as physicians walk away from leadership, the rest of us are all put at risk. Your leadership is critical as we move forward into the next century."
Fraud and Abuse
HCFA has again indicated a renewed interest in aggressive pursuit of fraud and abuse, announcing more conduct reviews and audits of Medicare providers. Empowered by the Kassebaum-Kennedy law, HCFA has signaled it will hire more "Program Safeguard Contractors." These private firms will according the AMNews (Oct. 5, 1998):
° Conduct medical reviews to ensure that
services billed to Medicare were medically necessary.
° Conduct audits to ensure that Medicare pays only for services and overhead costs for which it is responsible.
° Assists in developing cases for referral to law enforcement agencies.
Moving along the lines of developing public-private partnerships, HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala, PhD, announced, "These special contractors will help us fight fraud and save taxpayer money by continuing to take action against scam artists disguising themselves as health care providers."
The same article reported that "in other efforts to firm up the HHS fraud program, Inspector General June Gibbs Brown told the Senate Committee on Government Affairs that expanded law enforcement tools, such as guns and authority to issue warrants, are 'critical to the safety of OIG personnel.' "
NEJM Gun Poll --- A Second Opinion
This fall (September 1998), The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) released an opinion poll performed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy claiming that a majority of Americans now favor more restrictive gun laws. The poll was not only authored by leading gun-ban advocates in the public health establishment, but was also funded by The Joyce Foundation, an organization which has channeled millions of dollars into gun control campaigns.
We have previously reported on a gun owners survey (Medical Sentinel, March/April 1998) analyzed by Dr. Paul Gallant, chairman of the New York-based, Committee of Law-Abiding Gun Owners, and Dr. Joann Eisen, president of the Association of Dentists for the Accuracy in Scientific Media. These analysts quoted Prof. Gary Kleck of Florida State University School of Criminology as to an explanation as to why these polls may be misleading and consistently give politically correct, gun control answers, when in reality the voters vote differently on election day, as they did in Washington state in 1997 when 71 percent voted to defeat a major anti-gun ballot, Initiative 676, which early polls claimed to have been widely supported by the electorate.
Be that as it may, responding to this NEJM gun poll, Edgar A. Suter, M.D., national chair for Doctors for Integrity in Policy Research of San Ramon, California, wrote:
"Even if we were to ignore NEJM's outrageous concatenation of bias and gross conflict of interest, readers are properly skeptical of polls. Similar polls touted lopsided massive support for California's 1982 gun control initiative, Proposition 15, and Washington's 1997 gun 'safety' initiative, Initiative 676 (I-676), shortly before these measures were trounced by voters by almost 3-to-1 margins (the gun ban lobby's most craven and pandering 'for the children' propaganda notwithstanding). I-676's recent and wide margin of defeat is all the more portentous in this context because I-676 included virtually the entire licensing and gun design wish list for which this poll supposedly found wide support."
Likewise, Timothy W. Wheeler, M.D., chairman of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, responded to this survey in the San Diego Union Tribune:
"As a medical student, I relied on The Journal for the purest essence of medical truth, at least as close to the truth as science could get. But now it has become a spin-factory for the public health gun grabbers.
"Frustrated by powerful new criminology research showing private gun ownership to be safe and protective against criminals, leading anti-gun public health writers (five of them lawyers) have banded together to present the results of a telephone survey done in 1996 and again a year later.
"...Possibly the most dangerous proposal [in the NEJM article] is the loaded-chamber indicator. Firearm instructors drill the lesson home for every novice: always assume a gun is loaded. Always look in the chamber yourself to confirm that it is empty, and therefore incapable of firing. The loaded-chamber indicator is yet another malfunction waiting to happen. Even worse, a shooter who relies on it would eventually skip the basic safety rule of looking directly in the chamber. That's how people learn firsthand the old lament 'I didn't know the gun was loaded.' "
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant and Managed Care
The Medical College of Georgia (MCG) has obtained a $660,000 continuation grant from the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation to implement its policies of educating more primary care physicians and prepare them for managed care. The RWJ Foundation wants to ensure that physicians can practice effectively in a managed care environment by launching managed care educational programs. MCG is only one of 14 U.S. medical schools receiving funds from the RWJ Foundation for these initiatives.
Healthcare Business News reports that under such programs MCG primary care residents will spend time at the Atlanta offices of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia and learn about managed care "from the perspective of managed care organizations."
The report stated that in April 1998, MCG and Blue Cross/Blue Shield
of Georgia announced a partnership --- the Center for Health Care Improvement
--- "that enables both organizations to study the impact of managed
care on patient outcomes and the cost of health care." (Healthcare
Business News, Georgia edition, October 1998.)
AAPS 55th Annual Meeting
Once again the annual meeting of the AAPS, held in Raleigh, North Carolina, October 8-11, 1998, turned out to be a sensational meeting. The program, "When Bad Things Happen to Good Doctors: How to Survive in a Hostile Environment without Selling Out Your Ethics or Your Patients," was well received by the attendees.
AAPS President, Vernon L. Goltry, M.D., opened the proceedings and introduced the panel which debated the topic "Is the Oath of Hippocrates Dead?" featuring Linda Peeno, M.D., former executive of Blue Cross/Blue Shield; Raymond Scalettar, M.D., former AMA trustee; and Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D., Editor-in-Chief, Medical Sentinel.
Another panel, moderated by James P. Weaver, M.D., AAPS president-elect, discussed the topic of "Who Will Protect Patients?" and featured Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, Richard Sorian, former Senior Advisor for health policy at the Dept. of Health and Human Services, and Jane M. Orient, M.D., AAPS Executive Director.
Also among the highlights: A splendid lecture on asset forfeiture and other government abominations was discussed by James Bovard, author of Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty; Dr. Edmund Pellegrino discussed medical ethics in a managed care environment; Dr. Chester Danehower gave a stimulating discussion on the debatable issue of whether organized medicine, particularly the AMA, is a help or hindrance to medicine; Andrew Schlafly, Esq., general counsel for the AAPS, discussed private contracting, physician prosecution, and other legal matters of interest to practicing physicians; Jacob Sullum, senior editor of Reason magazine, discussed the tyranny of public health and its forced prescription for good societal health (for our own good); Paul Gigot of The Wall Street Journal entertained us with presidential tales; and, of course, Dr. Lawrence Huntoon, once again, directed the AAPS A Capella Choir with good singing and mirth and a responsive jubilation from the crowd.
Those of you who missed this momentous and informative meeting, can still join those who attended, in the comfort of your own homes or autos, by ordering the video or audio tapes from AAPS headquarters in Tucson, Arizona.
Piercing the Shield of ERISA
As we go to press, the right to sue ERISA plans remains the central theme in incremental health care reform and a key issue separating Democratic from Repub-lican proposals. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) has protected employer-sponsored health care plans from state-based litigation because it preempts claims in respect to employee benefit plans.
As previously reported in the Medical Sentinel ("Managed Care Shield Pierced," Summer 1997), "HMOs use the ERISA shield to protect themselves against lawsuits by claiming they don't administer medical treatment --- all they do is pay for it." Two cases were cited in which the ERISA shield was penetrated and malpractice attorneys were able to sue HMOs for practicing substandard medical care. Since 1995, federal courts (but not state courts) have allowed consumers to sue ERISA plans for malpractice based on the doctrine of "vicarious liability."
In 1997, Texas became the first state to enact a law allowing patients to sue ERISA plans for malpractice. Aetna is challenging the law. New York has followed suit and more states will likely follow.
While the Democrats, consumer groups, and organized medicine hold the best way to hold health plans accountable is to allow consumers to sue them, the GOP contends the best way to hold managed plans accountable is to require them to have a time-limited, external appeal process.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that the Democratic bill will increase managed care plan premiums by 4 percent over 10 years, with the ERISA provisions accounting for 1.4 percent.
The new Congress will likely be debating again "incremental" health care reforms based on last year's Democratic bill, "The Patient's Bill of Rights of 1998," and the Republicans' "Patient Protection Act of 1998." Rep. Charles Norwood (R-GA) has promised he will bring the issue forward as soon as Congress reconvenes after the Christmas holidays.
The sentiment in Congress is that the managed care industry must be further regulated to "protect" patient-consumers. The Democrats aim at stripping ERISA's preemption protecting employer plans and allowing the plans to be sued for personal injury or wrongful death caused by medical malpractice attributable to improper denial of care and rationing.
Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs)
It has become obvious that the pilot project set up by Congress to initiate MSAs is off to a slow start. After AAPS reviewed the provisions for MSAs set up in the Kassebaum-Kennedy bill, way before the law went into effect, we felt these provisions were written as if preordained to failure. Unfortunately, we were proven to be correct. Government restrictions on MSAs and the cap placed on it by lawmakers made them unwieldy and unattractive to insurers. As of this writing, only 55,000 tax-free MSAs have been opened since they were made available January 1, 1997, as an employee benefit option for companies with fewer than 50 workers and the self-employed.
A separate Medicare MSA program is to begin this year. So far, no insurers have applied to the government for approval and no high-deductible, catastrophic insurance policy has been offered as an option for the Medicare beneficiaries in the plan. The Clinton administration has insisted in keeping caps on the number of MSAs and other restrictions in place which will keep these options for senior citizens not viable alternatives as presently envisioned.
Conservative consumer and business groups continue to lobby Congress to make MSAs more manageable and widely available, and at the same time, pacify those consumers who are dissatisfied with managed care. GOP legislation passed in the House of Representatives, but not approved in the Senate, would allow employers, not just small businesses and the self-insured, to offer MSAs as a health benefit and will increase annual limits on tax-exempt contributions to individually-owned MSAs.
AAPS members Mark Schiller, M.D., Thomas LeGralius, M.D., and other private practitioners have joined in a patient-oriented, private doctor referral network in California: INDOC, "Independent Doctors Traditional Practice Association of the South Bay." Their members have pledged not to be managed by insurance companies, and "to connect doctors who refuse to be managed by third-party payers, together with patients who do not want their care managed. We especially welcome 'out of network' patients, self-insured patients, and MSA patients." For further information call 312-214-9921, or visit their web site at www.INDOC.com.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich Resigns
On November 6, 1998, Newt Gingrich (R-GA) --- the man who led the Republican conservative revolution in 1994 (but which fizzled after the budget fight and government shut down in 1995) --- stepped down as Speaker of the House of Representatives and resigned his congressional seat from suburban Atlanta. As a student of history, Rep. Gingrich, after a stunning Democratic victory over the Republicans on Election Day, at first reminded the party faithful that despite the loss of five House seats to the Democrats, the Republicans were still the majority party, "We're the first (Republican) team in 70 years to win the House three terms in a row."
Nevertheless, his detractors had plenty to say because it was also true that for the first time since 1934, at the end of FDR's first term, that the party in power in the White House had scored gains in the mid-term elections. But as the Associated Press reported, "Many GOP regulars blamed the lackluster showing on Gingrich's lack of an issue-oriented agenda, compromise with Democrats on a bloated year-end spending bill with no tax cuts and pursuit of impeachment against a popular President Clinton."
While it is true that Newt Gingrich led the Republican Party out of the political wilderness after 40 years of Democratic rule, it's also true that Newt Gingrich, as leader of the Republican majority in Congress, supported a number of global initiatives such as GATT, NAFTA, and the U.S. joining the World Trade Organization, all of which were national sovereignty eroding measures taking us closer to global socialism.
As the Associated Press story (Nov. 6, 1998) reported, "Ironically, the discontent with Gingrich was expressed most forcefully by younger members, many of whom were elected in the Gingrich triumph of 1994 and like him were quick to defy their political and legislative leader, such as hardline conservative Rep. David McIntosh of Indiana and Rep. Steve Largent of Oklahoma.
"The turmoil within the House GOP Caucus prompted the Speaker to tell House Republicans, 'I'm willing to lead but I'm not willing to preside over people who are cannibals.' "
For those who missed it, the British Medical Journal (February 14, 1998) has denounced recovered memories in child abuse cases as false memories, for which psychotherapists must be wary. Among the cases cited, there is one of an American women in psychotherapy [who] recovered the memory that at the age of 13 she was raped by her school teacher, became pregnant, and underwent an abortion. No corroborating evidence existed. In fact, she apparently did not reach menarch until age 15, so that pregnancy would have been medically impossible!
Nevertheless, she filed criminal charges against the teacher who was forced to spend his life's savings in a legal defense that spanned several years. His case terminated only when the New Hampshire Supreme Court finally ruled that repressed and recovered memories lacked sufficient scientific foundation to be admissible.
In another case, a woman recovered memories of being a high-priestess in a satanic cult and in having engaged in cannibalism and bestiality. "After years of treatment and millions of dollars in medical bills, she retracted all her memories and sued the therapist and hospital for malpractice. The case has recently been settled for $10.6 million."
But don't hold your breath waiting for detailed false memory case studies
to be printed in the mainstream American medical journals --- until it becomes
politically correct to do so. (Robert W. Lee, The New American, P.O.
Box 8040, Appleton, WI 54913, August 31, 1998.)
In the wake of Matt Drudge's newsbreaking internet report (e.g., the Monica Lewinsky-presidential scandals story), some members of Congress have responded to Hillary Clinton's call for muzzling internet reporting and promoting its censorship. The First Lady has gone on to deplore that the internet lacks "any kind of editing or gatekeeping function." Her statist allies in Congress have responded with H.R. 2281 which will make internet service providers liable for their clients' controversial items on the internet. In other words, the news must continue to be filtered through the mainstream media's self-imposed censorship and broadcast by the talking heads before it's made suitable for the American public. (The American Sentinel, September 1998.)
Rising Numbers of the Uninsured
Writing in AAPS News (Nov. 1998), Dr. Robert Moffitt reviewed the most recent Census Bureau statistics and reports that despite all the regulatory gadgets put in place by Congress, the number of uninsured Americans continues to climb. The number is now 43.4 million Americans or 16 percent of the U.S. population. He correctly points out this is a snapshot of the uninsured population, with most of the uninsured being so simply because they are "in and out of insurance which is, of course, job-related in the U.S."
One insightful and revealing bit of information was that "about 50 percent of the increasing uninsured in the past year comes from households with annual incomes of about $75,000 per year," representing people who are self-employed or who work for small companies which cannot afford to provide medical insurance for their employees.
If MSAs were made 100 percent tax-free, more available and competitive,
these would be the very people who would be prime candidates for opening
their own MSA which could then be coupled with more affordable, high-deductible,
catastrophic insurance coverage --- just what the doctor ordered!
HMO CEO's Salaries
The 10 highest-paid HMO executives for 1997 (i.e., annual compensation but excluding stock options): Salary (in millions)
1. Stephen Wiggins, chair and CEO, Oxford Health
Plans, Inc. --- $30.7
2. Wilson Taylor, chair and CEO, Cigna Corp. --- $12.4
3. William McGuire, MD, CEO, United HealthCare Corp. --- $8.6
4. James Stewart, executive vice president, Cigna Corp. --- $7.3
5. Robert Smoler, executive vice president, Oxford Health Plans, Inc. --- $6.9
6. Gerald Isom, president, Property and Casualty, Cigna Corp. --- $5.7
7. Ronald Compton, former chair and CEO, Aetna US Healthcare --- $5.3
8. E. Edward Hanway, president, Cigna HealthCare --- $5.2
9. Donald Levinson, executive vice president, Cigna Corp. --- $5.1
10. Eugene Froelich, executive vice president, Maxicare, Inc. --- $4.7
Source: Families USA
AMNews, October 5, 1998
Books in Brief
The Millennium Bug by Michael S. Hyatt, Regnery Publishing, Inc., Washington, DC, 1998, 286 pp., Index, ISBN: 0-89526-373-4, $24.95 (Hardcover).
This book warns us that "when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2000, computer systems all over the world will begin spewing out bad data --- or stop working altogether," as a result of the Millennium Bug, a sort of digital time bomb. The author lists 13 specific actions you should take to protect yourself and your family prior to the crisis.
But what scares me even more than the so-called Y2K glitch or the Millennium Bug, is the government repercussions that may result to combat this "crisis" --- from internet clamp down to censorship and state police action. Some knowledgeable observers have expressed concern over the increased issuance of Presidential Decision Directives (PDD) --- specifically PDD 63, which provides that in the event of an emergency beyond the capabilities of the private sector to handle, "the full authorities, capabilities, and resources of the government including law enforcement, regulation, foreign intelligence and defense preparedness shall be available, as appropriate to ensure that critical infrastructure protection is achieved and maintained." Apropos is the increase in the scope of power given to FEMA by the Clinton administration in cases of "federal emergencies."
Foundations --- Their Power and Influence by Rene A. Wormser, Covenant House, Sevierville, TN, 1993 (Third printing), 412 pp., Index, ISBN: 0-925591-28-9, $19.95 (Softcover).
This book was written by the counsel to the Reece Committee which investigated foundations in the 1950s. It not only gives us an insight into the inner workings of giant tax-exempt foundations but also on the growing power of the public-private partnerships that threaten to undermine the basis of the individual-based, citizen-oriented, constitutional republic. Perhaps Mr. Wormser said it best:
"It's difficult for the public to understand that some of the great foundations which have done so much for us in some fields have acted tragically against the public interest in others, but the facts are there for the unprejudiced to recognize. The power of the individual foundation giant is enormous. When there is likemindedness among a group of these giants, which apparently is due to the existence of a closely knit group of professional administrators in the social science field, the power is magnified hugely. When such foundations do good, they justify the tax-exempt status which the people grant them. When they do harm, it can be immense harm - there is virtually no counterforce to oppose them."
This book gives a tremendous insight into the large tax-exempt foundations and the workings and modus operandi of the public-private partnerships in today's corporativist environment, particularly those influencing public policy in which they have a vested financial interest and as to make the social and economic life of the nation more to their liking.
Targeting Guns by Gary Kleck, Aldine De Gruyter, New York, 1997, 450 pp., Index, ISBN: 0-202-30569-4, $24.95 (Softcover).
This is an expansion of Prof. Gary Kleck's magnum opus Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America (1991). This new revision is addressed to a more general audience and has new material summarizing research on guns and violence, the carrying of guns for self-protection in public places, new evidence on the underreporting of gun ownership, the use of assault weapons in mass shootings, and the impact of gun ownership and community feelings of safety, etc. Perhaps the most startling conclusion of this book is that it predicates that no violence reduction benefit is derived from either restrictive gun ownership or the present drive for gun control in the general population, which is law-abiding; gun control should be directed toward criminals who should not be allowed to possess any kind of guns.
This edition of News Capsules was compiled by Miguel A. Faria, Jr.,
M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Sentinel of the AAPS. It appeared
in the Medical Sentinel 1999;4(1):3-10. Copyright©1999 Association
of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).