On Sept. 16, President Barack Obama assured the American people that the risk of an Ebola outbreak within the United States was “extremely low.” As subsequent events proved, he was wrong.
But an alarming new revelation from Israel’s Arutz Sheva proves that Obama was more than just wrong; he was dishonest.
The report says that a federal study by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the federal Models of Infectious Disease Agency released on Sept. 2 found a nearly 25 percent chance of the deadly hemorrhagic fever reaching America’s shores within three to six weeks, according to The Daily Caller.
Despite the reported “probability of Ebola virus disease case importation,” Obama lied to the American people, downplaying the threat.
“First and foremost, I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low,” Obama said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also assured the nation on multiple occasions that the Ebola risk was low since the publication of the government-funded study.
As it turns out, even the official estimate was optimistic, as Thomas Eric Duncan arrived in Dallas only 18 days later.
We wish that we could be shocked by yet another revelation of incompetence, dishonesty, and blatant disregard for the safety of the American people from the Obama White House, but at this point, we’ve come to expect no less from this president.
Why would he lie? Because this president must downplay the threat of Ebola in order to continue with his number one policy agenda — open borders. An America concerned about Ebola is an America that will demand strict controls on who enters the country.
After the 2014 midterm elections, Congress should have a little more leeway to rein in the lawless and reckless actions of this president, who is clearly more concerned with enacting his own liberal policies than protecting the American people.
After all, chances of Democrats holding on to Senate control are “extremely low,” right Mr. President?
Over 22,000 Coloradoans have had their health insurance canceled by Obamacare in the past month – and 200,000 are slated to be shut down in 2015, the state insurance department announced Friday.
The Colorado Division of Insurance wrote to state Senate Republicans Friday, notifying them that five more insurance carriers have ended plans for 18,783 more Coloradoans in just the last month. By far, the most canceled plans will come from Humana Insurance Company and Humana Health Plan.
That brings the state’s Obamacare total to almost 340,000 canceled plans, according to Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, who’s in a tight race for Senate with incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Udall.
“Coloradoans continue to pay the price for Senator Udall’s broken promise,” Gardner said in a statement Friday. “It’s unfortunate that Senator Udall has been so eager to please President Obama that he has forgotten thousands of Coloradoans across our state.”
Widespread Obamacare cancellations have been a political loser for Obamacare-supporters across the country, but the issue is especially fraught in Colorado.
Udall, who voted for Obamacare and made the same debunked promises as President Obama that Americans could keep their health insurance plans, took heat earlier this year when emails suggested that his office tried to interfere with a state analysis of the number of plans cancelled by Obamacare. He was cleared of wrongdoing by a panel that refused to document its hearing.
But while over 18,000 people will be losing their coverage this month, that’s nothing compared to next year.
The Obama administration said it would allow states to extend health care plans that aren’t compliant with Obamacare through the end of 2016 and pushed the political responsibility for deciding when the plans should be canceled onto state officials. Colorado decided to extend plans through Dec. 31, 2015 – the remaining 192,942 Coloradoans that still purchase non-complaint health plans will have those canceled next November.
Far from being an unknown glitch in the health-care law, the Affordable Care Act provision that outlaws certain insurance plans was in part intended to help drive healthier, previously-insured customers to Obamacare exchanges so that insurers’ pools of customers were less populated by people with a pent-up need for health care.
The Obama administration’s several administrative fixes, which allowed states to decide whether they’d allow insurers to keep offering the plans for up to three years, make it more difficult for insurers to be profitable in Obamacare exchanges. The changes were likely part of the administration’s reasoning in its decision to open the door to using taxpayer funding to bail out companies on the exchange who suffer losses on Obamacare exchanges.
Udall’s campaign said that the Senator had pushed for Colorado to extend canceled plans for another year.
“There’s nobody more upset about the bungled roll out of the health care law than Mark,” Udall spokesman James Owens said. “That’s why he pushed the governor to use the authority to allow folks to keep their plans.”
Under the Obama administration’s current policy, all noncompliant plans will be canceled by Dec. 2016.
Republicans are pointing to Democratic operative Ron Klain’s background in politics – rather than public health – as evidence that he isn’t up to the job as “Ebola czar.”
The criticism comes after the White House announced Friday that Klain, a longtime aide to Democratic campaigns and a former chief of staff for Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, would oversee the administration’s response to the virus.
“Installing yet another political appointee who has no medical background or infectious disease control experience will do little to reassure Americans who are increasingly losing confidence with the Administration’s Ebola strategy,” said Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Penn.), who convened Thursday’s congressional panel on the administration’s response to the threat posed by the deadly outbreak.
Critiques began shortly after Klain’s appointment was reported, and initially came from more conservative members of the House.
“[President Obama] selects Ron Klain (lawyer, former Biden & Gore COS) as Ebola czar. God forbid he select a doctor,” Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) tweeted.
He was joined in taking aim at the appointment by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).
As the day went on, others joined in the chorus.
“Given the mounting failings in the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak, it is right that the president has sought to task a single individual to coordinate its response,” Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said in a statement. “But I have to ask why the president didn’t pick an individual with a noteworthy infectious disease or public health background?”
Senate Republicans also disapproved of the president’s choice.
“Ebola is a health crisis. Yet the President has appointed as his new Ebola ‘czar’ a partisan loyalist whose expertise is politics—not health,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala).
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), said he would have preferred a cabinet member “accountable to Congress” lead the effort, according to his office.
“This is a public health crisis, and the answer isn’t another White House political operative,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a statement.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest dismissed the criticism as nothing more than politics when he was told about the Republican reaction at his briefing Friday.
“That’s a shocking development there,” he said. “”Three weeks before an Election Day, and Republicans are seeking to score political points. Stop the presses!”
A Texas healthcare worker who provided care for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient to be given a diagnosis of Ebola in the US, who died on Wednesday, has tested positive for the deadly virus.
At a Sunday morning press conference at the hospital, it was confirmed that a close contact of the healthcare worker – who officials said was wearing full protective gear when he or she made contact with Duncan – has also been placed, “proactively”, in isolation.
Dr Tom Frieden, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the diagnosis of the healthcare worker showed there had been a clear breach of safety protocol at the hospital.
The worker was reported to be in stable condition in isolation at the Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in Dallas. The hospital is no longer taking any other emergency patients.
Frieden told CBS the worker had treated Duncan multiple times after the Liberian man was diagnosed, and said that all those who had treated Duncan were now considered to be potentially exposed.
Healthcare workers treating Duncan were to follow CDC protocol that included wearing protective gear. Among the things CDC will investigate, Frieden said, is how the workers took off that gear – because removing it incorrectly can lead to a contamination.
At the hospital press conference, Dallas County judge Clay Jenkins said the healthcare worker was a “heroic person who provided care for Mr Duncan” but did not release his or her name. News of the second diagnosis broke overnight, after a preliminary blood test on the healthcare worker, who had reported a low-grade fever on Friday night.
On Sunday morning Dr Dan Varga, of Texas Health Presbyterian hospital, said the worker had been “following a self-monitoring regimen prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” (CDC) and that “the entire process from the patient’s self-monitoring to the admission to isolation took less than 90 minutes”.
He added: “The patient’s condition is stable. In addition, a close contact has also been proactively placed in isolation. The caregiver and the family have requested total privacy, so we can’t discuss any more details of the situation.”
Dr Varga said the hospital was now not taking any other emergency patients. Answering questions, he said the healthcare worker had been wearing full protective gear and following all CDC guidelines when he or she made contact with Duncan.
Mike Rawlings, the mayor of Dallas, addressed likely public fears brought about by the second case. He said: “We heard about this around midnight and have been working throughout the morning to make sure the citizens of Dallas are safe when they wake up. I believe I can say they are.”
Rawlings detailed protective measures taken by the city, including the Dallas fire and rescue haz-mat team “clearing up and decontaminating any of the open areas of an apartment complex” and “standing by to make sure nobody enters that apartment complex”.
“Furthermore,” he said, “we have knocked on every door in that block and talked to every person who came to the door to explain what has happened and what we have done.”
Rawlings said there was believed to be a pet inside the apartment of the healthcare worker now in isolation. He said the pet was not believed to show any signs of Ebola, and that authorities would take care of it. This week in Spain, a dog owned by an Ebola patient was euthanised.
A hospital statement detailed the steps taken by the hospital since the admission of Duncan, on 28 September, on his second visit.
“We have known that further cases of Ebola are a possibility among those who were in contact with Mr Duncan before he passed away last week,” the statement said. “The system of monitoring, quarantine and isolation was established to protect those who cared for Mr Duncan as well as the community at large by identifying any potential ebola cases as early as possible and getting those individuals into treatment immediately.”
Duncan travelled from Liberia to the US on 19 September to join his girlfriend, Louise Troh, the mother of his son, Karsiah. After falling ill a few days later, Duncan was initially sent home from hospital, despite telling a nurse he had recently travelled from west Africa. He was taken by ambulance to Texas Health Presbyterian on 28 September, where he was admitted and placed in isolation.
He was confirmed to have Ebola two days later.
It is believed Duncan contracted the disease while helping take his landlord’s 19-year-old daughter to an Ebola treatment ward in Monrovia. He did not declare that he had been in contact with Ebola when he completed a pre-flight questionnaire at Monrovia airport before travelling to the US.
On Wednesday, the White House announced that passengers travelling from west Africa will face additional Ebola screenings at five US airports, amid mounting concern that not enough controls were in place to prevent the deadly disease from entering the US.
The current outbreak of Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people in west Africa.
In his opening remarks on Sunday, judge Jenkins sought to calm public fears. He said: “I want to stress an important fact. You cannot contract Ebola other than from bodily fluids of a symptomatic Ebola victim. You cannot contract Ebola by walking by people in the street or from contacts who are not symptomatic. There is nothing about this case that changes that basic premise of science.
“And so it’s important that while this is obviously bad news, it is not news that should bring about panic. We have a strategy to monitor this and we will go to that strategy to keep the community safe.”
The hospital said it was “triple-checking our full compliance with updated CDC guidelines. We are also continuing to monitor all staff who had some relation to Mr. Duncan’s care even if they are not assumed to be at significant risk of infection”.