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PRESIDENT OBAMA is taking his argument for a health care plan to a new place: Rodale magazines, where he or his wife appear on coming covers of Prevention, Men’s Health, Women’s Health and the new publication Children’s Health.
Michelle Obama talked about her family’s diet in Children’s Health.
A blog from The New York Times that tracks the health care debate as it unfolds.
First, to the Obamas. The president has been pitching his health care plan without total success in Congress and in town hall meetings nationwide. Now, he makes the argument in the pages of the Rodale publications. Peter Moore, editor of Men’s Health, who wrote a cover article on Mr. Obama in November, approached the White House in the spring with the idea of doing articles focused on health care in four Rodale magazines. Three will run in the October issues, while the Prevention cover is appearing in November.
The Men’s Health and Women’s Health articles publicize the Obama health care plan, with Men’s Health strongly endorsing it. A sidebar to the president’s interview there lists “five reasons you should care” about the health care plan, and each point is positive — your premium may go down, your emergency room care would improve.
Mr. Moore said he approached the article with a very clear point of view. “We’re not bystanders,” he said. “The whole issue of health care in the U.S., it’s something that we have to feel strongly about. We’re health journalists.
“We know, if anyone does, what’s broken there, and so if this comes off as more of an advocacy piece, it’s because we’re advocates for health.”
It’s Michelle Obama who plays spokeswoman in the three other magazines. Mr. Moore interviewed her in Women’s Health about her view on health care reform, her family’s experiences dealing with illness and keeping down calories in the White House kitchen. Mrs. Obama did not land on the cover of Women’s Health, though. The cover has a small photograph of her, while the actress Christina Applegate is the main subject. David Zinczenko, editor in chief of Men’s Health and editorial director of Women’s Health and Children’s Health, said that was because Rodale wanted to parcel out the wealth of Obama coverage among four of the company’s magazines, and Women’s Health had a readership that was younger than Mrs. Obama, so it made sense to hold her from that cover.
In Prevention, there isn’t a word about the health care debate. Instead Liz Vaccariello, the editor in chief, poses questions about workout habits, eating habits, sleep habits and Mrs. Obama’s feelings about aging and skin care. Readers “care deeply about the health care plan,” Ms. Vaccariello said in an e-mail message, “but they don’t come to Prevention to read about policy or politics.”
Rodale is also using Mrs. Obama to make a high-profile introduction of a new magazine, Children’s Health. Mrs. Obama appears on the cover and talks about her family’s eating habits in a feature inside.
The magazine is a special issue, and Rodale is hoping the Obama factor will help it sell many of the 750,000 copies it is printing, most of them to be sold on newsstands. While this is a new publication, Mr. Zinczenko emphasized that it was not a debut. Rodale is taking a try-it-and-see approach, and there are no firm plans to make this a regular publication. The content of Children’s Health is less about how to give a baby biceps, and more about advice for anxious, fitness-obsessed parents. Like its sister publications, it emphasizes how-to stories: choosing the right formula for your baby, keeping your child from getting fat, avoiding weight gain yourself after you have children and teaching your children how to read food labels.
In terms of advertising, the magazine has some challenges. Rodale will not submit it to be measured by the circulation or demographic companies, meaning advertisers will have to take its word on distribution.
And much of what Children’s Health is saying about choosing natural, unprocessed foods, is not, presumably, a message food advertisers would endorse. In his Children’s Health story about Mrs. Obama, Mr. Moore makes this point clearly. “If you can set a good example, you have a fighting chance of countering the $1.6 billion a year the food industry spends to sell a chubby lifestyle to your kids,” he wrote.
But Children’s Health is trying to attract some of that food industry money to its advertising pages. “This is extending a lot of the advertiser relationships we already have,” Mr. Zinczenko said. “A lot of these companies are already in the kids’ space, whether it’s through children’s clothing or children’s food brands.” Excluding house ads, there were only 15 pages of advertisements in the first 112-page issue. Seven of those came fromGeneral Mills, selling children’s cereals like Lucky Charms, with 11 grams of sugar per serving. John Haugen, vice president for health and wellness at General Mills, said that the company used whole grains and fortified ingredients even in its more sugary cereals, and over all, the message of Children’s Health was in line with his company’s message.
“We don’t approve every editorial piece that goes into every magazine,” he said. “The main point is we can agree on the really fundamental things, steering kids and families to adopt those healthy behaviors.”
Children’s Health is also competing for children’s advertisers with established magazines like Parenting and Parents, which both have circulations of more than two million.
“It’s been very hard for anyone to successfully break into that category and grab enough away to really be a first-tier book,” said Audrey Siegel, executive vice president and director of client services at TargetCast TCM, which buys advertising for clients likeExpedia.
Even so, Ms. Siegel said that Rodale’s decision to make this a relatively cheap introduction was wise.
“They try things but then they divest themselves quickly, so it’s fail early, fail often, which is a smart way to do business,” she said.
At Vigils, Support Shown For Health-Care Bill
By Yamiche Alcindor And Emma Brown Amid ongoing debate over health-care reform, thousands gathered Wednesday night at events held across the nation, ...
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Mostly Friendly Crowd Greets Kerry At Somerville Town Hall
Spectators packed the auditorium and gymnasium to hear his pitch for national health care reform. "We cannot continue to be the only developed country in ...
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Kerry Says He'll Carry On Kennedy Health Care Push
The Associated Press
Edward Kennedy's key political fights, pledging to the thousands who attended his town hall meeting Wednesday to push for the health care overhaul ...
Pfizer Agrees To Record Health-Care Fraud Settlement Over Drug ...
By Josh Meyer Tribune Newspapers WASHINGTON - -- A landmark $2.3 billion health-care fraud settlement announced Wednesday involving Pfizer Inc. has put the ...See all stories on this topic
WASHINGTON - -- A landmark $2.3 billion health-care fraud settlement announced Wednesday involving Pfizer Inc. has put the pharmaceutical industry on notice that promoting drugs for unauthorized uses won't be tolerated by the Obama Administration, government officials and legal experts said.
But, they added, some companies may risk prosecution for such questionable practices because the civil fines and penalties pale in comparison to the extraordinary profits that are being made on the drugs.
"Today's $2.3 billion settlement between Pfizer and the U.S. Justice Department for unlawful prescription-drug promotion may sound large, but it's not enough to ensure drug companies will curb their bad behavior," said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group. "Unfortunately, the ever-escalating fines are unlikely to stop drug companies from continuing to bribe doctors, because they represent just a fraction of drug company profits, and no one has gone to jail."
The Justice Department said the deal was the largest health-care fraud settlement in its history and reflects a renewed emphasis by the Obama administration on holding U.S. corporations accountable for their activities. The settlement ends years of investigation by federal prosecutors in several states into Pfizer and its subsidiary, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co., according to Justice Department documents and officials.
It resolves criminal and civil liability arising from Pfizer's illegal promotion of medicines, including the anti-inflammatory drug Bextra. As part of its illegal marketing, prosecutors said, Pfizer invited doctors to consultant meetings at resort locations, paying their expenses and providing perks.
As part of the settlement, Pfizer also agreed to resolve allegations under the civil False Claims Act that the company illegally promoted three other drugs -- Geodon, an anti-psychotic drug; Zyvox, an antibiotic; and Lyrica, an anti-epileptic drug -- and caused false claims to be submitted to the government for uses not medically accepted.
Bextra, for instance, was approved for arthritis, but Pfizer promoted it for acute pain and surgical pain and in dosages above the approved maximum. In 2005, Bextra, one of a class of painkillers known as Cox-2 inhibitors, was pulled from the U.S. market amid mounting evidence it raised the risk of heart attack, stroke and death.
Amy Schulman, general counsel of Pfizer, said the agreements bring closure and allow the company to focus on "discovering and developing innovative medicines."
As part of the resolution, six whistle-blowers will receive payments totaling more than $102 million from the federal share of the civil recovery.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. firstname.lastname@example.org
Kent Holtorf: Real Health Care Reform
By Kent Holtorf
Insurance is designed to work for services that are unexpected and is a very poor and ineffective method of delivery for routine, expected services. With such a system, costs skyrocket and care is poor.
The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/raw_feed_index.rdf
President Obama To Deliver Health Care Specifics - Political Punch
In a rare address to a joint session of Congress next Wednesday night, President Obama plans to present the “nuts and bolts” of health care reform before Congress. What's he going to say that people haven't already heard from him?
Political Punch - http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/
T R U T H O U T | Obama To Deliver Health Care Address To Congress
She said Grassley and five other Senate Finance Committee members - half Republicans, half Democrats - will hold their scheduled conference call Friday to try again to reach common ground on a far-reaching health care bill that could ...
Truthout - All Articles - http://www.truthout.org/articles/feed
While Obama Pushes Health Care, Biden Sticks With Stimulus ...
As President Barack Obama throws his political heft behind passage of a health care overhaul, Vice President Joe Biden's domestic policy thrust continues to be the federal stimulus package, which analysts say has shown signs of ...
WSJ.com: Washington Wire - http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/
Did you know that anti-choice lawmakers have filed 36 anti-choice amendments in committee, including Senator Tom Coburn's outrageous "Office of Unborn Children's Health"? And a group of anti-choice Democrats has vowed to bring down health-care reform unless it bans abortion carecurrently covered by most health plans. Take action and spread the word today!
Banning abortion in the private health-insurance market has become the anti-choice movement's number one goal in health-care reform.
If they have their way, women could lose coverage for reproductive-health care -- even if their private health insurance already covers it!
Tell your lawmakers to oppose ANY attempts to take away coverage from women who already have it in their private-insurance plans»
Then please spread the word about this petition:
And Just Who Sounds Like Hitler Or Mussolini? These People Are On A Full Scale Wrecking Mission Of America As We Would Have It.
They Are Nucking Futs And Dangerous!
THEY ARE BEYOND BIZARRE!
Numerous conservative media figures have baselessly accused President Obama of trying to "indoctrinate" America's children with his planned back-to-school speech encouraging students to succeed and persist in their studies. Sean Hannity claimed that "it seems very close to indoctrination," while Fox News commentator Monica Crowley said "just when you think this administration can't get any more surreal and Orwellian, here they come to indoctrinate our kids"; similarly, Michelle Malkin claimed that "the left has always used kids in public schools as guinea pigs and as junior lobbyists for their social liberal agenda."
Secretary Duncan: Obama speech "about persisting and succeeding in school"
Duncan: Speech is about "the importance of education" and "persisting and succeeding in school." In an August 26 letter to principals, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan described Obama's September 8 speech as being about "the importance of education" and "persisting and succeeding in school." Duncan also offered K-12 "classroom activities" to "engage students and stimulate discussion on the importance of education in their lives."
White House aide: "This isn't a policy speech. This is a speech designed to encourage kids to stay in school." In a post on his ABCNews.com blog Political Punch, ABC senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper quoted a White House aide responding to accusations portraying "the address as more of a policy speech rather than a specific educational address to children." Tapper wrote that "[t]he White House says the intention of the speech -- and the lesson plans -- have been misunderstood." From his post:
White House aide said this has to do with meeting the goals the President will lay out about personal responsibility for students.
"The goal of the speech and the lesson plans is to challenge students to work hard in school, to not drop out and to meet short-term goals like behaving in class, doing their homework and goals that parents and teachers alike can agree are noble," a White House spokesman tells ABC News, "This isn't a policy speech. This is a speech designed to encourage kids to stay in school."
Showing the speech is not mandatory for schools. In the same blog post, Tapper rebutted accusations from Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer that students will be "forced" to watch the speech. Tapper wrote: "Schools districts across the country have the option to choose if they show the President's address to their students":
"As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology," Jim Greer, Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida said, "The idea that school children across our nation will be forced to watch the President justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other President, is not only infuriating, but goes against beliefs of the majority of Americans, while bypassing American parents through an invasive abuse of power."
The Department of Education though did not "force" -- as Greer claims -- schools to do anything. Schools districts across the country have the option to choose if they show the President's address to their students.
Greer goes on to say said that the President has turned to America's children to "spread his liberal lies" by "indoctrinating American's youngest children before they have a chance to decide for themselves."
Again there is no evidence to support that charge.
Conservative media pick up meme; suggest Obama will "indoctrinate" children to carry out agenda
Drudge: "Obama to make unprecedented address to all public school students; September 8 ... Dept. issues a 'to do' list ..." On September 1, Internet gossip Matt Drudge linked to a Department of Education document that gives K-6 teachers suggestions for activities and discussions related to Obama's speech. Drudge linked to the document with the headline: "Obama to make unprecedented address to all public school students; September 8 ... Dept. issues a 'to do' list..."
Michelle Malkin: "School Indoctrination," "No junior lobbyist left behind." In her September 2 Creators Syndicate column, Malkin claimed that Obama's speech amounts to recruiting "junior lobbyists." She also wrote that "parents have every right to worry about their children being used as Political Guinea Pigs for Change."
Hannity: "It seems very close to indoctrination." During an interview with Malkin, Hannity said on his show that the president's speech "seems very close to indoctrination." In her reply, Malkin stated: [T]his is not merely a morale-boosting speech that he's giving. He's giving it in the context of his Obamacare plan completely under siege. We know that the left has always used kids in public schools as guinea pigs and as junior lobbyists for their social liberal agenda." Later, Malkin said Obama will "actually deliver a very innocuous speech. I can guarantee you that. But in these classrooms, which are living laboratories for left-wing activism, what you're going to get are overzealous teachers, teachers' union brass who are in the hip pockets of the Democrat Party, urge their kids to write letters, to demonize Obamacare opponents, and to call them opponents of change." [Fox News' Hannity, 9/2/09]
Crowley: "This is what Chairman Mao did." On Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Laura Ingraham said the speech is "just another slick attempt to brand Barack Obama" and that "it's a message being sent out by the Department of Education with these questions that without a doubt lead to the further branding of Barack Obama as a savior of our school children." Also during the segment, Crowley said, "[J]ust when you think that this administration can't get any more surreal and Orwellian, here he comes to indoctrinate our children," and, "[T]his is what Chairman Mao did, Laura. This is like Max Headroom, this is going into every single classroom. There is no escape from him." [Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, 9/2/09]
Beck connects Mussolini to purported Obama "indoctrination next week." Discussing a bas-relief supposedly representing Mussolini, Beck said: "Gee, who is having indoctrination next week? Oh, yeah, that's right, the president, completely unrelated. This represents, at the time this was made, Mussolini. This was Mussolini. By the way, the artist that made this -- his son, ironically and tragically died fighting the army of Mussolini years after this was made." [Fox News' Glenn Beck,9/2/09]
The Fox Nation: "Will You Keep Your Kids Home the Day Obama Speaks to Schools?" On September 3, the Fox Nation highlighted Obama's speech, asking whether he was "going after school children for help." The FoxNews.com article the Fox Nation linked to includes the headline, "Critics Decry Obama's 'Indoctrination' Plan for Students
Lou Dobbs fill-in Stigall: "Obama has effectively called a meeting of your children ... [to] mold them into a discussion and a way of thinking without you there." On The Lou Dobbs Show, guest host Chris Stigall said:
STIGALL: Folks, I'll say this in a different way. If Barack Obama wants time with our schoolchildren -- your children, my children, our country's children. If he thinks it's important to talk about the attributes of education, hard work, go getting a good job, nose to the grindstone, work ethic, education's important -- all those things. I didn't say the message was bad. Don't confuse his message with what's at issue here. At issue is Barack Obama has effectively called a meeting of your children with direction of public school teachers to guide them and shape them and mold them into a discussion and a way of thinking without you there. [...] He gets away with this once, it'll happen again and again. What other helpful piece of advice could President Obama disseminate at noon while you're not around. This is not his job, and it is sure as hell not his job when you're not around." [The Lou Dobbs Show, 9/02/09]
Limbaugh fill-in Mark Steyn: Obama's speech is part of "cult of personality." On the September 2 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Steyn claimed: "What he's going to do apparently, is he's going to tell them to write letters to themselves about what they could do to help the president, which I find sort of slightly unhealthy. I mean it's all part of the cult of personality. Obviously it's not -- we're not talking about the cult of personality on the kind of Kim Jong II, Saddam Hussein scale."
Steyn: Obama's speech based on view that education exists to make kids "good subjects" of big gov't. On Limbaugh, Steyn also said that "President Obama is going to beam himself into every schoolhouse in the country and give an address to school children. I don't know how you feel about this, but it doesn't seem quite right to me. [...] It doesn't seem entirely consistent with the idea of education, and it seems to be closer to what is a consistent part of the model here that he learned in Chicago from William Ayers, that essentially the public education system is a useful tool for getting children to be good subjects of the big government state when they grow up." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/02/09]