Archive for the ‘HHS’ Category

‘Obamacare Girl’ — Still Missing!

November 13, 2013

'Obamacare Girl' -- Still Missing!

The Lady of Obamacare fled from the webpage late last month and has not been seen since. She’s more than a stock photo now; she’s a meme, the “Mona Lisa of Health Care.” Paparazzi keep watch for”Adriana” in the corridors of power, at fashionable parties, “Cadillac” health plan spas, and in smart nightclubs, without result. Adriana, where art thou?


Health Care Website Gets a Second Opinion

October 25, 2013

Health Care Website Gets a Second Opinion

In a generous effort to help beleaguered Republicans regain face, President Obama handed them a punchline. He’s having the Obamacare website fixed by the guy who overhauled Cash for Clunkers.


“Who is Jeffrey Zients, and how is he qualified to fix” Josh Hicks, Washington Post blog

“Meet Jeff Zients: The Man Charged With Fixing Obamacare’s Broken Site,” Abby D. Phillip, ABC News

Who is Jeffrey Zients? Ask his mom,” Jayne O’Donnell, USA Today


“Could Obama’s Campaign Tech Gurus Fix Let’s Ask ‘Em!” Tim Murphy, Mother Jones

“Here’s the Obama administration’s plan to fix,” Sarah Kliff, Washington Post blog

“QSSI, contractor chosen to fix, faced questions from lawmakers last year,” Jia Lynn Yang, Washiongton Post

“Why We Need a Witch Hunt,”  John Dickerson, Slate


Short link:

Image (“ACA Website Fix, after Andreas Vesalius”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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GOP Catches the Flu

April 29, 2009

GOP Catches the Flu

H1N1, the virus popularly called “Swine Flu,” is all anyone can talk about. Anyone but Republicans.

When the economic stimulus package was first before Congress, explains John Nichols in The Nation, the bill included $900 million for flu pandemic preparedness and additional funding for the Centers for Disease Control. Karl Rove attacked these items as waste in the Wall Street Journal, and Senator Susan Collins (R, ME) bragged about killing the health provisions in Congress. Critics stripped all medical and research provisions from the proposal, leaving only $50 million to improve IT services at HHS. State and local public health officials were concerned.

“Everybody …  is concerned about a pandemic flu,” Collins said at the time. “But does it belong in this bill? Should we have $870 million in this bill? No, we should not.”

The argument that anti-pandemic measures have no economic ramifications was a bad diagnosis.  The new flu has caused panic on Wall Street as well as Main Street, with more to come. Emergency measures are costing Mexico City’s economy at least $57 million a day and direct costs are unknown. Expect similar local losses across the USA. 

Collins has pulled her flu fulminations off her web site and issued a defensive denial.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.


Zero Tolerance for Clowns

February 26, 2009

Zero Tolerance for Clowns

Congressional Update: The Omnibus Federal Appropriations Bill continues funding for the absolutely-useless-beyond-belief Community Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program.  The current version of the bill reduces CBAE funding from $122 million to $94 million.

But $1.5 billion has already been wasted on this malarkey over the past 12 years without discernible benefit. Enough is enough.


HHS DOA — Postmortem

February 6, 2009

HHS DOA -- Postmortem

The appointment of former Majority Leader Tom Daschle succumbed to injuries sustained in a tragic limousine accident.  Survivors of the nomination include Jeanne M. Lambrew, PhD,  professor of Health Policy, now mourning in seclusion as deputy director of the White House Office of Health Reform.

Dr. Lambrew was a co-author of Senator Daschle’s book-like object, Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis. The third co-author was former Boston Globe scribe and Ricchetti, Inc. flac Scott S. Greenberger


Daschle Driven Out of HHS

February 4, 2009

Dascle Driven Out of HHS

For all his arch descriptions of life in DC, David Brooks is absolutely correct in numbering Tom Daschle among those “caught unawares by shifts in the sumptuary code.”  His assertion that Mr. Daschle “is being criticized for making $5 million off his Senate prestige,” though, is dead wrong. It’s not the money.

It’s the limo.

“How Did Daschle Realize He Had a Limo Problem?” Byron York, National Review

“Tom Daschle rides his untaxed chauffeured limousine into the sunset,” Rick Rottman, Bent Corner

“Daschle Out: Limousine-Liberal Tax Cheat Withdraws Name for HHS Secretary,” Bill Dupray, Patriot Room


Fumble … Recovered!

February 4, 2009

Fumble ... Recovered!

In the first few minutes of play, America’s new First Quarterback fumbled a hand-off attempt to Capitol Hill veteran Tom Daschle. Daschle isn’t very familiar with the new playbook, but the man can take legislation downfield like nobody’s business. Old heads trump young legs in the kind of broken-field running needed to get health reform bills to the goal line, even against a weak GOP defense.

 Mr. Daschle was called on a personal foul, but his problem really resulted from a rule change instituted since he last played the game. The veteran player was cut, and the search is on for a replacement.

Quarterback Obama made an energetic and deft recovery, especially for a crossover player from another sport.

Stay tuned to NotionsCapital for further big league sports updates.


Image by Mike Licht (via Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.


FDA Menu du Jour

July 22, 2008

FDA Menu du Jour

Today: Tomatoes good; jalapeños bad.

Yesterday:  Jalapeños good; tomatoes bad.

Tomorrow: Will the media help us realize that the current Salmonella saintpaul mini-outbreak does not necessarily have a single-point source?



Tainted Tomatoes in Texas and Taos

June 4, 2008

Tainted Tomatoes in Texas and Taos

Red, raw, ripe, fresh tomatoes, brimming with vitamins, minerals, and a rare strain of Salmonella. That’s what the Food and Drug Administration says about raw tomatoes in the Lone Star State and the Land of Enchantment.

FDA suggests that residents of Texas and New Mexico make salads with cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine attached, and tomatoes grown at home, which have not been implicated in the outbreak. Don’t eat plum, roma, or big ol’ round tomatoes. Symptoms of Salmonella infection are particularly unappetizing and do not go well with salad, so we will merely link to them, but fatalities are not unknown. 



April 7, 2008



Senator Tom Daschle, Jeanne M. Lambrew
 and Scott S. Greenberger

ISBN-13: 978-0-312-38301-5
ISBN-10: 0-312-38301-0
224 pages
St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books

Poor Tom Daschle. The former Majority Leader and his co-authors Jeanne M. Lambrew and Scott S. Greenberger spent time and energy on this book about national health care policy only to be overcome by economic events. Senator Daschle’s plan would leave the messy particulars of health care standards to a “Federal Health Board,” an insulated apolitical body along the lines of the Federal Reserve Board. Everybody trusts the Fed, right?