Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Biden in Chicago for fund-raiser; pitching health care plan.


BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Political Reporter

CHICAGO--Vice President Joseph Biden came to Chicago's West Side, where government-funded health care is already the reality, to pitch his administration's health-care plan and announce $1.2 billion to help computerize medical records.

"Sixty percent of Mount Sinai's patients are on Medicaid," said Alan Channing, the hospital CEO.

"We provide about 50 percent of the health care already," Biden said, referring to Medicaid and Medicare.

He made clear early on that he didn't want to discuss the contentious issue of whether to create a government-funded "public option" to cover the country's 48 million uninsured who don't qualify for existing government programs.

"We're not here to discuss the debate between a public option, and a non-public option," Biden said.

Biden and Health and Human Services Director Kathleen Sebelius came to Mount Sinai to share the "good news" about the money the administration will begin funneling to states to help doctors and hospitals start computerizing patient records.

"Electronic medical record systems really save lives," said June McKoy, a Northwestern Memorial Hospital geriatrician. She told stories about knowing which medicines not to prescribe for patients based on information she found in their medical records.

McKoy was among six doctors and others at Biden's round table. More than 100 white-smocked doctors and other health-care professionals listened in the audience and nodded their heads when panelists talked about the frustrations of trying to diagnose patients' problems without adequate records.

Dr. David Blumenthal, information technology director for Sebelius, said this was brought home to him as he prepared to order a CT scan of a patient's kidneys. His computer told him that a CT scan of the kidneys had already been done and was available.

"We're trying to modernize," Biden said. "This is not about government control, or 'socialized medicine.' It's simple: Modernize."

Biden and his entourage passed a handful of protesters standing in the rain outside Mount Sinai warning against "socialized" medicine. Protesters on the other side urged the administration not to back off the "public option."


So Biden and Sebelius can come and not discuss the healthcare plan. "We're not here to discuss the debate between a public option, and a non-public option," Biden said."
that's not surprising nether will Senator Durbin.

Talk to the doctors but not the voters that's real productive. Pass a bill that no one in Congress would ever consider signing up for. Forgetting the oath of office they took to uphold the US Constitution. What a fantastic group of incompetent people in Washington trying to run and rule our lives.

How many out there, even with insurance, have no dental care, no vision care, and avoid the doctor because it is still too expensive? Basic preventative care is not expensive. Lack of it is very expensive. In our current, profit driven system, money is made via catastrophic care. A national health care system and a public educational system are the two ingredients of a strong economy and nation. It is short sighted to think only of the up front cost of setting up the system. There is an ever more obvious two tier population in the U.S. If we do not stem this divide, the nation will be weakened. Visit Whole Foods and visit a low income neighborhood Wal Mart. No citizen should suffer with bad teeth, untreated obesity and ill health. It impacts their children, neighborhood and the country as a whole.

What's really creepy is that I almost wish Biden were president. At least his blunders are almost funny instead of frightening. Someone please wake me up from this nightmare.

I remember the constant media satirization of Dan Quayle. I think Joe has outdone him in gaffes by a long shot. Where is the media? They are letting their love affair with the Dems. keep them from honest coverage of Biden and others in the administration. I remember John Kerry referring to George Bush's "Brave New World" back in the 04' campaign, and thinking that any analogies to "1984" more accurately apply to the Democrats. At any rate, Dubya is ultimately responsible for what we have to deal with now. His failures and the media's love affair with Democrats made the mad rush to Obama possible. Have you noticed that the major networks are showing very few sound bites from Biden's speeches these days? The alphabet networks are sanitizing the news to favor this administration. "Oh, that's just Joe being Joe!" Give me a break.

Interesting that $1.2 Billion is almost $1,000 per physician for this IT assistance, and advice is widely available for free at locations such as and others.


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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 21, 2009 7:35 AM.

President Obama official schedule and guidance, Aug. 21, 2009. Daschle meeting was the previous entry in this blog.

Beth Coulson announcing GOP Illinois 10th C.D. House run is the next entry in this blog.

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