Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Obama Health Reform; Vax Mandate History; Autism Treatment; June NY Rally

By Bonnie P. Franz

According to the June 8, 2009, Legislative Gazette (www.legislativegazette.com), lawmakers are now pushing for coverage for autism treatment. They want private insurance companies to cover autism treatment and therapy for people with autism, ages 21 and under, for up to $36,000 annually. The coverage will include Applied Behavior Analysis. The primary reason for this bill (S.2366/A.6001) is that a number of lawmakers themselves are impacted because they have children or grandchildren who are so afflicted (Assemblyman McDonald from Wilton and Weisenberg from Long Beach, Long Island).

While this is important, because the cost of treatment is prohibitive and can bankrupt a family, I wonder why these lawmakers are not also looking into the vaccination aspect of autism and proposing bills that would insist on research into the side effects of vaccines, etc. and allow vaccines to be voluntary? Lawmakers and the public seem to be willing to offer all children as possible sacrifices on the altar of vaccination. The Catch-22 is for parents, but the bottom line is to bribe everyone by agreeing to pay “compensation” for damage in order to keep the system intact.

Regarding the June 2 Vaccination Rally sponsored by Rita Palma:
(www.mykidsmychoice.com), I haven’t seen anything written up in the Legislative Gazette, but you can keep checking their website. Also, the Legislative Gazette will be publishing during the summer for the first time. Considering the Senate “coup” in Albany and the fact that now the closing of the Legislative Session is delayed, anything can happen.

William McMillen, a leader in the Libertarian Party and a family friend, shares a show, “Capital Outsider.” Through connecting with Rita Palma, he recently interviewed an Albany-area gal regarding our issues. To check it out (although it will be a while before it’s up), check out www.capitaloutsider.org and/or Yahoo search Capital Outsider. Until it gets put up, you can check out their other shows.

This is important: for those of you who can--check your local cable provider to see if they will help you get a show on your local cable TV. It may require a monthly commitment among other things. Years ago, some of the requirements were that you had to be a “group” and the cable company had to provide you space to film, etc. Some fees were involved. Obviously, you need at least a handful of people to get this together. For those who can, check it out. This is a great, rather low-cost way to get our information out to a bigger audience.

Nationally: large insurance companies have gobbled up rivals. For-profit companies have bought up not-for-profits around the country. There were 400 health care mergers in the last 10 years and just TWO companies dominate a full third of the national market.

Obama Health Care Reform: solidifies the incremental changes that came about from the Clinton Health Care reform and adds more.

By August, the President wants Congress to come up with Health Care Reform. A number of bills are already floating around, primarily one by Senators Kennedy and Dodd. You all might want to pay attention to the news in the coming weeks and contact your lawmakers in Washington regarding this very important issue. Better yet, contact them at their home district office, by a visit, phone call, fax or email. Snail mail to Washington is no longer a viable, timely, or effective means of contacting your lawmaker since the anthrax attacks of years ago. Since then, mail to Congress goes to a facility that checks for such contamination and thus the mail is delayed for weeks.

According to what I have read (as of June, 2009) and heard on talk shows even recently, here is what Health Care Reform means to President Obama. Primarily, access to health care and promoting prevention and public health is a major role.

He has 8 health care “principles.” I found these 3 most important:
- Investing in prevention and wellness
- Aiming for Universality
- Maintaining long-term fiscal sustainability

He specifically mentioned immunization against flu or pneumonia--indeed millions have already been spent to a company in Switzerland that has produced a Mexican swine flu vaccine. He sees health as a shared responsibility among schools, employers, federal, state and local governments. Will require coverage of ”children” up to age 25 years of age. In fact, according to the June 22 issue of TIME magazine, “... the prescription is prevention ... get checkups, vaccinate your kids ...”

An “option” of taxing some health insurance benefits as if they were income and limiting tax deductions. Just this past week, I heard President Obama state that insurance will be a mandate on everyone--no “opt out” provisions.

For more information I believe there is info on Barackobama.com. Although I went on the site, I'm not certain; so you may want to check it yourself.

Before I give my commentary, let me also add some information because all of this is mind-boggling and getting difficult to follow:

The recently-enacted Stimulus package included $50 Billion over 5 years for “health information technology“ electronic records. It included $20 Billion for computerized systems, and doctors who delay adoption of certain types of the tech solutions beyond 2014 will be penalized. There is $19 Billion in “incentives” for the conversion in hospitals and doctors’ offices to begin in 2011.

Health care reform is different and will cost $1.5 Trillion over 10 years. An unelected board will decide what’s covered. There already is a Health Care Czar who will have control--Nancy-Ann DeParle.


For those of us long involved in the vaccination choice movement, here is what this all means and has already happened with our experience:

States have instituted for about 10-15 years the Immunization Registry which “enrolled” babies at birth. In order to get public and doctor acceptance of it, initially there were “opt in” or “opt out” provisions (and changed from calling it the Tracking System to Immunization Registry). In many States these options are no longer allowed. Thus, ALL babies are enrolled. With more Federal money going for these electronic records, No one will be left out or left behind. This will be an easy way to make sure that EVERYONE, no matter what age, will have the “appropriate” vaccinations and can be tracked. This is universality in reality.

As for “prevention and wellness,” again, from our experience, that means vaccinations--vaccinations for all age groups and situations, such as school and where you work and your ability to go to school or have a job will depend, in part, on your vaccination status.

To me, “maintaining long-term fiscal sustainability” is a laugh. Part of the reason we have high health care costs now is because of all the vaccines that our children have to get. And that is complicated to track--there is the Federal vaccine initiative, courtesy of the Clintons, that gives millions of dollars to the States for vaccine programs, then there is the amount that States add to their budgets for vaccines. Also, the S-chip (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) which was expanded by Congress at $35 Billion last year. NYS is getting $64 million to expand the S-Chip program and for the government to heavily subsidize child health. NYS lawmakers like to add to their immunization bills “Fiscal Impact: none or minimal,” which is a joke. We have been told for many vaccines (such as MMR, chickenpox) that one dose will “probably” be sufficient, only to have them return 10-15 years later, forcing another dose--which adds to
the cost, but not originally calculated and ignored.

Another aspect of the fiscal sustainability is the idea that vaccines have serious side effects and are costing us as chronic diseases too--asthma, autism, allergies, etc. Fiscal responsibility is not there. Nor will it ever be.

Look at the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986. This was passed by Congress to quell parent outrage regarding vaccine injuries and deaths, but to also protect doctors and pharmaceutical companies from lawsuits. (This is what tort reform looks like.) Initially, the Act called for allowing various reactions to mandated vaccines that occurred up to 30 days after a vaccination to be reported. When State and Federal governments realized that too many people were applying for compensation, they gradually changed the window of damage down to within 7 days, then 5 days and now it is less. Now parents have to observe an adverse reaction to a vaccine pretty much within 72 hours to qualify for compensation. In fact, the Compensation Program has become very narrow. It is also the prime reason why State Legislatures mandate all the new vaccines coming down the pike--a State mandate prevents lawsuits against the pharmaceutical companies and taxpayers pay. Yet,
it also makes sure that virtually everyone has to get the vaccines.

Bottom line: Government will control all aspects of our health and increase the cost. While the “reforms” may seem minimal now in order to get everyone on board, over time, Congress and the President will write and pass “amendments” that will change the bill and program to something no one ever expected, as well as greatly increase the cost.

Personal history--I grew up in the 1950’s when children got the DPT shot and in the mid-50’s, the polio vaccine. Visits to the doctor or a chiropractor were $2-5.

In the 1960’s more vaccines were added--MMR. Parents were told only one dose would probably be necessary, but by 1985 medical textbooks were already saying that those vaccines lasted for, at most, 15 years. Thus, by 1989, efforts were underway for mandating a 2nd dose. Also, by this time, many employers and unions offered health insurance benefits, which ironically increase health care costs.

During this time, you were able to take your medical expenses off on your income tax--including glasses, dental and vitamin supplements (provided they were “prescribed” by an MD or chiropractor). That was a big help to us.

The 1980’s and 90’s saw an explosion of mandated vaccines, not only for children, but expanding to college and senior citizens. By the mid-1980’s when the country had a financial crisis (they’re not new), Congress changed health care and taxes (déjà vu) and the big change I noticed was that you could not take your medical expenses off income tax until you reached 3% of your gross salary. For our family of 3 that meant we rarely met the 3% (unless, like last year, we paid $6,000 out-of-pocket, despite insurance, that qualified us to use the medical deduction). So, it amounted to a new tax all these years and took away most of our discretionary money.

Health care reform is important, but what that means is different for different people. We are learning what Congress and the President means by it. I think their plans are deceptive and a fraud. (Ironically, Congress is exempting themselves, as usual.) What we need is Medical Freedom of Choice and the information, pro and con, to make those choices, but we won’t get it because that is not what “reform” means to those in power.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mandatory Vaccination Bills

The following bills, related to mandatory vaccination, have been introduced into the NY State Senate and Assembly during 2009. (This is an update to the list published on March 8, 2009.)

A00778 - Provides for the immunization of all children born after January 1, 1996 against the human papillomavirus (HPV). This bill would add HPV to the list of mandatory immunizations. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A00778

A00880 and S02339 - Extends the protections of the medical exemption from mandatory immunizations for students to ensure deference to the professional assessments of physicians and nurse practitioners in the care of their individual patients. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A00880 and http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=S02339

A00883 and S02338 - Provides protections to parents who decline to have their children immunized on the basis of religious beliefs; allows a parent to submit an affidavit stating that the parent, parents or guardian hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A00883 and http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=S02338

A04886 and S02337 - Enacts the "philosophical exemption to immunizations act" in order to establish an exemption to mandatory immunizations. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A04886 and http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=S02337

A06008 - Requires children entering any public, private or parochial child caring center, day nursery, day care agency, nursery school, kindergarten, elementary, intermediate, or secondary school to be immunized against hepatitis A. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A06008

A06654 and S04070 - Authorizes nurse practitioners to certify that an immunization may be detrimental to a child's health. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A06654 and http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=S04070

A07766 - Requires immunization providers to provide certain written information to the person receiving the immunization or the parent or guardian when such immunization is required for enrollment in a school or child care facility. This information is to include: lists required for enrollment in school or child care facility; a description of exemptions permitted under law; a list of recommended immunizations, and lists of possible adverse reactions to the immunizations. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A07766

A08133 and S03256 - Requires vaccination for influenza virus and pneumococcal disease for all long-term care patients and employees. The bill includes medical and religious exemptions. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A08133&sh=t and http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=S03256 and click on "See Text."

To check the current status of any bill, go to http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/, select “Search by Bill Number” and enter the number, such as A00778, and click Search. To search for other possible bills, select “Search by Keyword” and enter a word or partial word, such as immuniz, and click Search.

See also "General Vaccine-related Bills."

Other vaccine-related bills

The following other bills, related to vaccination in general, have been introduced into the State Assembly. (This is an update to the list published on March 8, 2009.)

A00775 - Directs the commissioner of health to provide parents of children between 6 months and 5 years, who are in school, with information on influenza and immunizations therefor. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A00775

A00876A and S3911A - Requires a general hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit to offer to every parent, person in parental relation, and person who is reasonably anticipated to be a caregiver in the household of a newborn being treated in such neonatal intensive care unit a vaccination against influenza virus. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A00876 and http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=S03911

A01311 - Authorizes the immunization against hepatitis B of minors capable of consent who are housed in a local or state correctional facility. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A01311

A03203 and S01983 - Encourages voluntary, informed vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) for school-aged children and their parents or guardians. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A03203 and http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=S01983

A03706 - Authorizes the department of health to conduct a study of the feasibility of establishing a school-based influenza vaccination pilot program. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A03706

A04154 - Require health insurance policies to provide coverage for certain vaccinations required or recommended for travel to foreign countries. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A04154

A05159 - Provides insurance coverage for immunization against the human papilloma virus. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A05159

A07228 - To allow a health care practitioner to administer hepatitis B vaccine to a person who is under the age of 18 WITHOUT THE CONSENT OR KNOWLEDGE of that person's parent or guardian. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A07228

A07489 and S2909 - Requires insurance companies to provide coverage for the vaccine against human papilloma virus. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A07489 and http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=S02909

S1905 - Requires insurers of cervical cancer detection to provide human papilloma virus vaccine to females ages 9 to 26. For more information, see http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=S01905

To check the current status of any bill, go to http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/, select “Search by Bill Number” and enter the number, such as A00778, and click Search. To search for other possible bills, select “Search by Keyword” and enter a word or partial word, such as immuniz, and click Search.

See also "Mandatory Vaccination Bills."

5/26/09 Update

Commentary on Vaccine Legislation by Bonnie P. Franz. (I apologize the delay in posting these notes from Bonnie.)

Dear Friends,

I thought you should have a vaccine update. Although the news covers a lot more, here are my highlights:

June 2, Monday at 10:30 a.m. in Albany at the Legislative Office Building, there will be a rally led by Rita de Palma - mykidsmychoice.com for more details. If you can go, do so. Otherwise, contact your lawmakers. The more they hear from us, one way or another, only helps. Unfortunately, other forces are at work to incorporate government and vaccination into our daily lives.

There is a new bill in the Assembly: A.03706, ordering a "pilot" program for school-based health clinics to give flu shots. This is understandable from the Public Health perspective; however, it makes the schools part of their network more so than now and makes it much more difficult for exemptors or dissidents. Schools might like it because the govt. will probably give them money for it.

Followup from March 24 rally: This one was sponsored by Autism United and was billed as the "first Autism Epidemic Day." Quoted in the Legislative Gazette article of March 30 on page 8 is Lisa Rudley, who was quoted "about vaccination choice in particular." The article gave about 3 paragraphs to her talking about vaccination choice and Assemblyman Alessi's bill for philosophical exemption (A.04886).

What would be helpful in the future is for the various groups to get together and pay for the "Special Reports" insert in the Legislative Gazette. When last I checked it cost about $5,000 for about 4 pages. A lot of vaccination information could be printed & distributed and make an impression on lawmakers and other readers of the Gazette that little article quotes cannot do. So, if any of you know a number of group leaders or coalitions that might be able to do this, give them a nudge; it is advertising money well worth it.

For those who are impressed by celebrity endorsements: Jennifer Lopez is a new spokesperson for the March of Dimes pushing for adult whooping cough shots. She also has begun a foundation.

$1 billion from the Stimulus bill is to go to Public Health for prevention and wellness efforts (that means vaccines) and President Obama is now asking for an additional $1.5 billion for swine flu in particular.

Keep up the good fight to educate yourself and others!

Bonnie P. Franz

Bill mandates the HPV vaccine

Commentary on Vaccine Legislation by Bonnie P. Franz. (I apologize the delay in posting these notes from Bonnie.)

Dear Friends,

Lots of things are going on regarding vaccination on the State and Federal levels so I wanted to give you my alert and perspective on it all.

New York State proposed legislation as of March 14, 2009 -
A.00778, sponsored by Assemblywoman Paulin (from Westchester County):

This bill mandates the HPV vaccine for “all children.” The word “all” means girls and boys. Most of this bill is based on Guttmacher Institute “research,” part of which states the reason for going into Middle School: ”Middle School is the last public health gate that an entire age group of individuals pass through together, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status” (especially because the dropout rate begins to increase at age 13). Governor Paterson has provided for $1.5 million for this vaccination in his 2009 budget.

The bill also states “When the CDC has recommended the vaccination of school-age children, New York adds such recommended vaccination to the list of vaccinations required for school entry.”

I gave you all the reasons to be against this mandate last year so I will not repeat them.

A.03203, sponsored by Assemblyman Benjamin (from The Bronx)
S.01983, sponsored by Assemblyman Diaz (from The Bronx) calls for “voluntary” vaccination for “school-aged children” against HPV through the provision of educational materials and consultation. “School-aged children” also means girls and boys.

Ask yourself: if you or most people were given a “consultation” about anything, are you more likely then to go along with it? Or do you think you or most people will be sufficiently strong to refuse it, especially when you didn’t ask for the consultation in the first place?

Something else to consider: isn’t it voluntary now? Why should the Legislature make a law about it then? To perhaps change it at some later date to mandate it quietly?

A.05159, sponsored by Assemblyman Conte (from Suffolk/Nassau) wants insurance coverage for the HPV vaccine (3 shots for $360).

Since 1993 and the Clinton Healthcare Reforms, immunizations are considered part of well-child care that must be covered. It gets somewhat murky, for there is the Federal-level Vaccines for Children Program giving out billions to see that children get vaccinated; Medicaid which pays for poor children to get vaccinated, and the somewhat infamous Schip --children’s health insurance program that has recently gotten a big blast of money.

Please keep in mind that “children’s health” programs primarily are to see that children get into doctors’ offices on a regular basis to get their shots. Before 1993, supposedly more than 60% of traditional policies in NYS did not provide coverage for immunizations and so-called well-child visits. The government could control those on public welfare and other programs to get shots, but they had to get the middle class in without shelling out more taxpayer money so they forced insurance companies to pay for this “preventive” care. This increased the cost to insurance companies, who then passed the costs on to their customers, as well as the costs to taxpayers for the “free vaccines.” On the NYS level back in 1993, initially Gov. Cuomo vetoed the bill because it was “riddled with technical flaws” and also because “it was more costly than necessary to accomplish its purposes.” He had other problems with the bill (like coverage to age 19) but was pressured by lobbyists and the Democrat-controlled Assembly to sign the bill. Then, as now, the push is to require health insurers to cover all immunizations recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. (However, things are changing with the Obama Administration and nationalized health care will somewhat change that.) Unfortunately, the bottom line will remain the same--to see that every man, woman and child get every vaccine and that the Government controls more of our lives and that of our children.

A.03706, sponsored by Assemblywoman John (from Monroe County--Rochester and area) authorizes the Dept. of Health (DOH) to do a feasibility study of establishing a school-based influenza program to increase immunization rates.

Remember that if this passes, so can the school-based program be amended in future years to include other vaccines.

A.00775, sponsored by Assemblywoman Paulin, provides for “educational materials “on flu and the benefits of vaccines.”

The justification for this is to follow ACIP changes to the vaccine schedule. Also interesting is that it provides for only giving information on the benefits of vaccines and does not recognize the “other“ side--so much for true informed consent. However, typical of the Legislature.

Please check the Assembly web site at www.assembly.state.ny.us/leg and put in the word “vaccinations” or “immunizations” to check for the proposed laws. Pay special attention to who is sponsoring or co-sponsoring the bill and see if your lawmaker is among them. Also note the bottom of the bill section “Fiscal Implications.” Here the Legislature usually claims “none to State” or “minimal.” That is a lie. Vaccinations and the continual mandated increase in them increase the amount of money needed from the State or Federal government and increase not only our taxes, but also increases Government control over us.

A.0486 (Alessi) and S.2337 (Padavan):
These bills are the “philosophical exemption” bill. Unfortunately, there is not much hope of passage again this year, especially because there are hardly any co-sponsors (Padavan’s bill has none as of 3/11). Besides the usual reasons why I don’t think these bills have much of a chance, a turnoff is the very long and somewhat complicated “justification” section. It just goes into too much for the law-makers to comprehend and accept.

A.02957 (Ortiz) and S.01034 (LaValle):
This bill has been referred to the Agriculture and Consumer Protection committees. The bill provides that anyone who manufactures or sells nutritional or dietary supplements needs to have a branding or labeling that states the product has or has not been tested by the FDA (new FDA commissioner is scheduled to be Dr. Margaret Hamburg former Health Commissioner in NYC). It further provides the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets to promulgate rules and regulations defining the terms “nutritional” and “dietary.” The justification for this bill is supposedly to assure the consumer that the product has been tested “for purity.” This is a bad bill because it gives the Commissioner of Agriculture the power to define what is nutritional or dietary. This is a way to control our access to what WE know to be nutritional and dietary supplements. This would affect anyone who uses supplements for any health condition (such as autism) and is satisfied with using these alternative to drugs to manage various health conditions where we are not satisfied with the approach of regular medicine. Also, the rules and regulations sections gives the Commissioner of Agriculture a WIDE berth to determine almost anything the Commissioner wants or is influenced to do. Purity is an important issue (esp. since we’ve seen what contamination comes out of China, including their herbal supplements) so it seems important for us. However, the FDA has a poor track record with drugs and testing, and it is an easy leap to go from assessing purity to anything else the FDA wants to give a hard time, especially things like vitamins and other supplements. An interesting dilemma. Too bad there is not a round table that includes vitamin manufacturers, etc. instead of this being so one-sided.

March 24 there will be a rally in Albany for Autism Epidemic Day, sponsored by Autism United Coalition which includes immunizations because many parents believe that vaccines have caused , in part or completely, their child’s autism. If you are interested, please contact Lisa Rudley at LisaRudley @yahoo.com. Lisa heads Healing With Homeopathy Support Group in Westchester County, an organization for parents healing vaccine-injured children and supporting legislative action. If you can, go. If you cannot attend, give your support by calling, writing or visiting your lawmaker’s office in the home district on a Thursday or Friday. (Check your local library to find out the addresses and phone numbers). In any event, remember the following: Every person who contacts their lawmaker or attends the rally is counted as representing 100 people by lawmakers.

Alone, we can do little or nothing. Standing together, we can accomplish much. Even if your child is not affected by autism, it is that group that is getting noticed and heard by our lawmakers and the media.

The fear of disease and the politics of health care allow public health powers to the government--State and Federal--that trample on our rights.

These lawmakers have been in Albany pretty much for 10, 20, 30 years. Unless they truly show signs of changing their opinions and their votes, they really will NOT change and just string us along. All they truly understand is losing an election. Now is the time to find others who believe in Healthcare Rights, including vaccination, who will be the opponents come the next Election in 1 ½ years. And, maybe they’ll win!

Bonnie P. Franz