Breaking: AIPAC Fundraiser Moved

LEO‘s Managing Editor Stephen George just confirmed that Jewish Hospital has decided not to host the September 10th AIPAC fundraiser featuring controversial figure Dan Senor. Senor is affiliated with Fox News and the group Vets for Freedom.

A source with Jewish Hospital revealed to Page One earlier today that many physicians were upset about being invited to the event and expressed concern about its location. Though not confirmed, one surgical group allegedly threatened to cancel surgeries in protest.

Barbara Mackovich, spokesperson for Jewish Hospital, told George the event will instead be hosted at the Louisville home of Bill Yarmuth.

Yarmuth is the brother of U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY 3) and is CEO & President of the health care company Almost Family.

Welcome to Autumn. AKA Slow news day.

Who knew? Hal Rogers drops $400k on Lake Cumberland for tourism advertising. [H-L]

Too little too late? Gubernatorial candidates finally discuss public health and its problems. [H-L]

The Courier-Journal rightly questions both gubernatorial candidates’ health care agendas. Surprisingly, they hit on the scare tactics used to freak your shit out about socialized medicine. And they criticize both for being afraid to discuss a cigarette tax. What isn’t discussed is why neither candidate wants to provide health care for all Kentuckians– instead of just children or the elderly. [C-J]

Five of the six regional university boards have been stacked by Fletcher. Some day we’ll get little things like following the law right. Right? [C-J]

While Kentucky soldiers die left and right, things are just peachy in Iraq. We might not even need to stay there that much longer! [WP]

Shepherd Shears his Sheep!

Dr. James Holsinger – Funnelling Millions from his Church

From the Steve Henry Financial Playbook Dept

Dr. James HolsingerAn investigation into George Bush’s nominee for Surgeon General, gay-hating Dr. James Holsinger, used the sale of a United Methodist Church-owned hospital in Kentucky as a cash cow for his personal ambitions.

It took years of litigation by the church to get to the bottom of what happened to its money, only to learn that Holsinger diverted millions to endow professorships at the Chandler Medical Center at UK where he served as Chancellor and chief fundraiser.

Will the Senate question Holsinger’s ethics?

In case you need a break from Senators and their bathroom sex…

Good entertainment. If you haven’t had a chance, listen to the radio “debate” between Fletcher and Beshear. If we’re basing things on courtesy and manners displayed in this radio show alone? Neither of these gentleman have any. Endless blabbering after repeated requests to stop were ignored. And ignored. And ignored. [WKYX]

When giants attack. Attorney General Greg Stumbo is on the right side of the nightmarish Monsanto-Delta & Pine merger. Monstanto, the world’s largest producer of pesticides and genetically engineered seed, is best known for using their GRE plants to obliterate the crops of legitimate farmers– permanently infecting the food chain. Oh– and they tried to patent the pig. [Legal Newsline]

Gaming the System. Humana breaks the law, pays $500,000 fine for misleading customers, using unlicensed agents. Imagine it– a health insurance giant skirting the law and paying a fine. Just the cost of doing business, right? [Business First]

Meanwhile, the number of individuals without health insurance nationwide is skyrocketing. (14% of Kentuckians lack coverage) The Census Bureau released figures showing the number of those without insurance rose from 44.8 million in 2005 to 47 million in 2006. That means– based on numbers two years old– nearly 16% of the population doesn’t have health coverage. People covered by employer-based health insurance fell 1.5% and the number of uninsured children rose 700,000 to 8.7 million in the same 2005-2006 period of time. [Business First, H-L]

We didn’t know Seattle had Republicans! A waitress (server, to be politically correct) helped anonymously pen a facetious blog complaint against Stefan Sharkansky. Apparently, he lets his kids run rampant and is a horrible tipper. Sounds like a familiar former Democratic Lt. Governor of Kentucky, if you ask us! [Consumerist]

Taking it to their doorsteps. War protesters rally against Sen. Mitch McConnell tonight. Thousands in Kentucky are expected to take part in National Take a Stand Day, holding a rally and a march to McConnell’s home in Louisville. [WLKY]

Slipping by the Wayside

Is anyone following this? Attorneys for the fen-phen case in Kentucky stole $46million from their clients. Now they’re whining about being in jail. Maybe we could give this money to Peabody. [C-J]

No friend of the working man? Organized labor takes a jab at Fletcher. [AFL-CIO]

Blue dog or Bush dog? Ben Chandler gets added to the list after voting in favor of warrantless wiretapping. [DemocratsDotCom]

From the Wasted Opportunity Dept. Gallup Poll shows that for the first time since 1974, the Congressional approval rating has hit rock bottom. Only 18% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. Staggering 76% disapprove. And Nancy Pelosi eats babies. [Gallup]

Doling out dollars. Fletcher spends nearly $2million in Perry County for road paving (they call it asphalt rehabilitation). Which stretch of road, you wonder? Why, the Hal Rogers Parkway. Project is scheduled for completion on October 15. [KY]

Keeping them poor and sick. In case you didn’t know: Kentucky children who already don’t have health care will never get it. [WaPo]

New Medicaid Big Dog

Shawn Crouch - Kentucky Medicaid CommissionerKentucky gets a new Meidcaid commissioner. Everything is puppies and rainbows.

Shawn Crouch, formerly chief of staff of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, starts the new job on September 1. This after serving only 15 months in the CHFS job. Taking a quick peek at a Powerpoint presentation Crouch presented last month in Los Angeles, we learn he sings Fletcher’s praises and applauds his “visionary” health reform initiatives.

Trouble is Crouch may be a health insurance industry lackey. He’s worked for CHA and is credited for pushing the state into using a benefits administrator (aka putting an insurance company in the middle of things: allowing the insurance company to make a profit while limiting medications available to patients) for Medicaid pharmacy benefits.

What will become of Medicaid? Is this a good move?

Where there’s smoke…

For as long as there have been politicians in Kentucky, there’s been a powerful lobbying faction working for tobacco farmers. Tobacco farmers have prospered, tobacco interests have profited, and tobacco users have been dying for decades.

Smoker - KentuckyCigarette sales flourish in Kentucky, which ranks first or second in every study ranking states by per capita rates for lung cancer and other smoking-related deaths. Two years ago, Kentucky’s legislature passed an increase on cigarette taxes, lifting the state out of last place by boosting the tax from three cents to 30 cents.

The adversity faced by tobacco interests has never been stronger than it is today, and their ability to hold politicians accountable to them is wavering. Earlier this month, a pair of Kentucky congressmen voted for a 45-cent national tax on cigarettes in Congress. Ben Chandler, whose district represents many of those farmers, apparently felt the virtues of the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act outweighed the risks at home of voting against big tobacco.

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