Daily Archives: November 20, 2012

Portland Pet Lovers Balk at ObamaCare for Dogs

This story in Willamette Week about a new Oregon based company called Hannah The Pet Society has generated quite a few comments to the Victoria Taft Show and has revealed some inadvertent second thoughts about ObamaCare–for dogs. 

The man who built up the managed care vet clinics known as Banfield Pet Hospitals to 600 outlets in the US and UK  , has now begun what can only be called a renta-pet program. 

The Hannah business plan is a combo of ideas already out there: car leasing,  E-Harmony and ObamaCare for your pet. 

An agreed upon monthly rental fee includes food (shipped to your home) and veterinary care. And it’s that last part that is what Willamette Week sought to highlight (that, and the fact that the vet who came up with the idea is really, really rich [hint: that’s bad]).

The new Hannah concept moves beyond managed care and goes full single payer–exactly where President Obama has expressed he would like to take US health care. It even comes with its own IPAB Board:

According to the Hannah contract, “Hannah’s Medical Standards Board, in consultation with the Pet Parent, is the final determiner of any support, care or ‘end of life treatments.

That’s right, they’re Sarah Palin‘s death panels for dogs.

How are lefty Portlanders dealing with this? Let’s check in with some of the folks Willamette Week talked to:

Rose, a Portlander who asked that her last name not be used, says she and her boyfriend got a purebred Yorkshire terrier puppy from Hannah in June and were attracted by its affordability—$60 a month for the dog, food and vet care. A Yorkie can cost $600, she says.
Months later, Rose says she’s having second thoughts, in part because she realizes she would not be allowed to decide what treatments her dog received if it became ill. It would be up to a Hannah vet, not her, what care her dog gets.
“They decide if they want to fix it or not,” she says. “It could be: ‘Oh, she has a tumor, we’re just going to put her down.’”
Campbell says if a vet can reasonably treat a pet, Hannah will do it. 
“We’ll recommend what we believe is best,” he says.

If a pet parent wants to opt for other treatment, the parent can get veterinary care elsewhere, Campbell says. Or she can buy out her contract.

 And this one:

[Laura] McNamara signed a certificate of ownership that stipulates, “I hereby transfer/sell full ownership of this pet unconditionally to The Hannah Society.” She also handed over $95 per dog to sign up.
When she brought in Alvin for his physical six days later, however, the doctor told her the dog’s health posed too big a risk. He quoted her $300 a month, or more, for the one animal.
McNamara left.
With ObamaCare humans won’t be able to “leave.” Constraints on paying cash for outside care are curtailed and you’ll be fined if you don’t participate. 
ObamaCare will “cover” preexisting conditions but you still must undergo IPAB’s standard of care–you don’t get a choice.

“The whole thing was creepy and weird,” McNamara says.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Portland Pet Lovers Balk at ObamaCare for Dogs

This story in Willamette Week about a new Oregon based company called Hannah The Pet Society has generated quite a few comments to the Victoria Taft Show and has revealed some inadvertent second thoughts about ObamaCare–for dogs. 

The man who built up the managed care vet clinics known as Banfield Pet Hospitals to 600 outlets in the US and UK  , has now begun what can only be called a renta-pet program. 

The Hannah business plan is a combo of ideas already out there: car leasing,  E-Harmony and ObamaCare for your pet. 

An agreed upon monthly rental fee includes food (shipped to your home) and veterinary care. And it’s that last part that is what Willamette Week sought to highlight (that, and the fact that the vet who came up with the idea is really, really rich [hint: that’s bad]).

The new Hannah concept moves beyond managed care and goes full single payer–exactly where President Obama has expressed he would like to take US health care. It even comes with its own IPAB Board:

According to the Hannah contract, “Hannah’s Medical Standards Board, in consultation with the Pet Parent, is the final determiner of any support, care or ‘end of life treatments.

That’s right, they’re Sarah Palin‘s death panels for dogs.

How are lefty Portlanders dealing with this? Let’s check in with some of the folks Willamette Week talked to:

Rose, a Portlander who asked that her last name not be used, says she and her boyfriend got a purebred Yorkshire terrier puppy from Hannah in June and were attracted by its affordability—$60 a month for the dog, food and vet care. A Yorkie can cost $600, she says.
Months later, Rose says she’s having second thoughts, in part because she realizes she would not be allowed to decide what treatments her dog received if it became ill. It would be up to a Hannah vet, not her, what care her dog gets.
“They decide if they want to fix it or not,” she says. “It could be: ‘Oh, she has a tumor, we’re just going to put her down.’”
Campbell says if a vet can reasonably treat a pet, Hannah will do it. 
“We’ll recommend what we believe is best,” he says.

If a pet parent wants to opt for other treatment, the parent can get veterinary care elsewhere, Campbell says. Or she can buy out her contract.

 And this one:

[Laura] McNamara signed a certificate of ownership that stipulates, “I hereby transfer/sell full ownership of this pet unconditionally to The Hannah Society.” She also handed over $95 per dog to sign up.
When she brought in Alvin for his physical six days later, however, the doctor told her the dog’s health posed too big a risk. He quoted her $300 a month, or more, for the one animal.
McNamara left.
With ObamaCare humans won’t be able to “leave.” Constraints on paying cash for outside care are curtailed and you’ll be fined if you don’t participate. 
ObamaCare will “cover” preexisting conditions but you still must undergo IPAB’s standard of care–you don’t get a choice.

“The whole thing was creepy and weird,” McNamara says.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Mic Check! Occupy Portland Continues the Official Fizzle

That’s what it looks like from this message by the Occupiers. It wouldn’t be the weather that has prompted the #OPDX crowd to move from the wide open spaces of Terry Schrunk Plaza to the smallish cafeteria of St. Francis Church would it?
After all the Occupiers spent part of October and November camping out last year.
The 99% is looking a little smaller these days.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Fact Checking the Fact Checkers: You’re Wrong on the Libya Quotes

Remarks by the President on the Deaths of U.S. Embassy Staff in Libya

 

Rose Garden
10:43 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning.  Every day, all across the world, American diplomats and civilians work tirelessly to advance the interests and values of our nation.  Often, they are away from their families.  Sometimes, they brave great danger.
Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi.  Among those killed was our Ambassador, Chris Stevens, as well as Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith.  We are still notifying the families of the others who were killed.  And today, the American people stand united in holding the families of the four Americans in our thoughts and in our prayers.
The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack.  We’re working with the government of Libya to secure our diplomats.  I’ve also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world.  And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.
Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths.  We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.  But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence.  None.  The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.
Already, many Libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya.  Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans.  Libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried Ambassador Stevens’s body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died.
It’s especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi because it is a city that he helped to save.  At the height of the Libyan revolution, Chris led our diplomatic post in Benghazi.  With characteristic skill, courage, and resolve, he built partnerships with Libyan revolutionaries, and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya.  When the Qaddafi regime came to an end, Chris was there to serve as our ambassador to the new Libya, and he worked tirelessly to support this young democracy, and I think both Secretary Clinton and I relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there.  He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps.
Along with his colleagues, Chris died in a country that is still striving to emerge from the recent experience of war. Today, the loss of these four Americans is fresh, but our memories of them linger on.  I have no doubt that their legacy will live on through the work that they did far from our shores and in the hearts of those who love them back home.
Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks.  We mourned with the families who were lost on that day.  I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed.  And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi. 
As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.  Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.
But we also know that the lives these Americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers.  These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity.  They should give every American great pride in the country that they served, and the hope that our flag represents to people around the globe who also yearn to live in freedom and with dignity.
We grieve with their families, but let us carry on their memory, and let us continue their work of seeking a stronger America and a better world for all of our children.
Thank you.  May God bless the memory of those we lost and may God bless the United States of America.
END
10:48 A.M. EDT

CRC tax

The recent defeat of a transportation sales tax in Clark County was characterized by some officials as proof folks in Vancouver oppose light rail. But the characterization was an ill-informed screed by 10 southwest Washington Republicans protesting the design and financing of a new bridge linking Portland and Vancouver and the light-rail line built into it.

The failed tax had nothing to do with building light rail. It was put to Clark County voters against the wishes of those advocating the Columbia River Crossing, among them the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, to raise about $4.5 million. Slightly more than $3 million of the revenue would have gone to operating and maintaining an $850 million light-rail line the U.S. government intends to build in partnership with Oregon and Washington. The feds simply need evidence that somebody along the way will pay to run the line.

But that didn’t stop Washington state Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver from reading smoke signals in the vote and being angry with those who disputed the analysis. He told The Oregonian’s Richard Read: “This whole (CRC) thing has been a master scam perpetrated on the citizens of Washington by Metro in order to bring light rail into Vancouver.” Meanwhile, southwest Washington’s Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, who otherwise argues a new bridge is necessary, cited the vote in declaring the $3.5 billion project will fail if light rail is pushed upon a community that doesn’t want it.

The claims are phobic and without evidence. After weighing several project alternatives, the Vancouver City Council four years ago endorsed the CRC as configured. And there have been no substantive, Vancouver-based light-rail protests in several years of CRC public sessions and hearings to remedy one of the region’s key economic and quality-of-life challenges: replacing an I-5 bridge whose slowdowns and danger constrict the flow of freight and commuters.

To get the CRC launched after $160 million in planning and design work, the legislatures of Oregon and Washington must in 2013 commit to their doable shares of the funding, at $900 million to be financed over decades. Only then can the Northwest congressional delegation make its case for the release of federal transportation money, likely unavailable or harder to win in subsequent years owing to the nation’s fiscal challenges. The U.S. Department of Transportation, meanwhile, has declared the CRC to be a project of national significance, high up the priority list. Starting a full-on redesign could set things back for years.

An action now to stall the CRC’s momentum would thwart job growth. The I-5 bridge is at the center of a transportation and trading system supporting one in five jobs in Oregon. Freight industries using the bridge support roughly 130,000 jobs at warehouses and distribution centers near the ports of Portland and Vancouver. This is to say nothing of the estimated 1,900 new construction-related jobs that would be sustained over an eight-year period to build the CRC — or the spending that all those new paychecks would allow in both Vancouver and Portland.

Key things still need working out. The U.S. Coast Guard must approve revisions in the bridge design to provide more clearance for river traffic below. At a hearing Wednesday in Vancouver, however, the Coast Guard for the first time reportedly acknowledged that clearance for each and every industry affected might not be feasible — but that the CRC would need to show it had taken every measure possible to accommodate them.

With so much at stake, it’s no time for shoot-from-the-hip blasts. Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, long involved in CRC deliberations, told The Oregonian’s editorial board the claims that Vancouver folks fear light rail derive from “a minority of individuals in our community who really aren’t concerned about economic growth, jobs for our citizens, (or) effective and efficient mobility for cars and transit. …” He allowed he’d recently had “disturbing conversations, fueled by some of the electeds, about ‘those people’ coming to Vancouver on light rail.”

Funny, we would be those people. So, too, would many Clark County residents who commute to and from their jobs in Portland.

It’s time to move ahead. Fear-mongering and deliberate confusions have no place in a project so complex and vital as a new I-5 bridge, even one that connects Vancouver with more than 50 miles of light rail lacing Portland.

UPDATED! Milwaukie Elks Club Saved From Smart Growthers

As one Clackastani Rebel put it, “Elections have consequences.”

Plans to raze the venerable Milwaukie Elks Club and replace it with section 8 housing to accommodate its proximity to future (unwanted) light rail has been deep sixed.

“…County Administrator Steve Wheeler realized a majority of the five board members did not support the project moving forward, county spokesman Tim Heider said.
“The support for it had just evaporated,” Heider said. “It was clear from Steve’s conversations with individual commissioners that there was no support for it.”

And then the Oregonian reported:

 John Ludlow, the incoming chairman who beat current Chairwoman Charlotte Lehan in the Nov. 6 election, e-mailed county commissioners and Wheeler this morning requesting they delay any decisions on the option agreement for the Elks site.

“It is my intention, once I am chair, to initiate a termination of the purchase,” Ludlow wrote. “I am confident I will have a board majority to support the decision.”

The nonpartisan board will switch to a 3-2 Republican advantage next year with many expecting policy shifts from the current board, where Democrats enjoy a 4-1 advantage.

Here’s the letter newly elected Chair John Ludlow sent out to County officials:

The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners
Dear Commissioners,
In the spirit of cooperation with the upcoming board membership changes, I request that you avoid making any decisions regarding the option to purchase the Elks property.
 
It is now well known that the membership is overwhelmingly opposed to the sale of their facility and a preservation effort has been underway.
 
It is my intention, once I am chair, to initiate a termination of the purchase. I am confident I will have a board majority to support this decision.
 
I am additionally concerned that board action towards this purchase, which in part involves the stated purpose of assisting TriMet’s Light Rail parking structure access and egress, may require a county wide public vote under the recently passed measure 3-401.
 
I thank you for you understanding. 
 
John
John Ludlow
Clackamas County Commission Chair-Elect
503-682-3419

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com