Top Hospitals Opt Out of Obamacare
Americans who sign up for insurance on the state exchanges may not have access to the nation's top hospitals, Watchdog.org reports.October 30, 2013
[CHART: Which Top Hospitals Take Your Insurance Under Obamacare?]
"This doesn't surprise me," said Gail Wilensky, Medicare advisor for the second Bush Administration and senior fellow for Project HOPE. "There has been an incredible amount of focus on the premium cost and subsidy, and precious little focus on what you get for your money."
Regulations driven by the Obama White House have indeed made insurance more affordable – if, like Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, you're looking only at price. But responding to Obamacare caps on premiums, many insurers will, in turn, simply offer top-tier doctors and hospitals far less cash for services rendered.
Watchdog.org looked at the top 18 hospitals nationwide as ranked by U.S. News and World Report for 2013-2014. We contacted each hospital to determine their contracts and talked to several insurance companies, as well.
The result of our investigation: Many top hospitals are simply opting out of Obamacare.
Chances are the individual plan you purchased outside Obamacare would allow you to go to these facilities. For example, fourth-ranked Cleveland Clinic accepts dozens of insurance plans if you buy one on your own. But go through Obamacare and you have just one choice: Medical Mutual of Ohio.
And that's not because their exchanges don't offer options. Both Ohio and California have a dozen insurance companies on their exchanges, yet two of the states' premier hospitals – Cleveland Clinic and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center – have only one company in their respective networks.
A few, like No. 1-rated Johns Hopkins in Maryland, are mandated under state law to accept all insurance companies. Other than that, the hospital with the largest number of insurance companies is University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland with just four. Fully 11 of the 18 hospitals had just one or two carriers.
"Many companies have selectively entered the exchanges because they are concerned that (the exchanges) will be dominated by risky, high-using populations who wanted insurance (before Obamacare) and couldn't afford it," said Wilsensky, who is also on the board of directors of UnitedHealth. "They are pressed to narrow their networks to stay within the premiums."
Consumers, too, will struggle with the new system. Many exchanges don't even list the insurance companies on their web sites. Some that do, like California, don't provide names of doctors or hospitals.
The price differences among hospitals "can be pretty profound," said Joe Mondy, spokesman for Cigna insurance. "When you are doing a cost comparison with doctors, you should look up the quality of the hospital as well. Hospital 'Y' could be great at pediatrics and not great at surgery."
Insurers operating in the exchanges are apparently hesitant to talk about the trade-off between price and quality. Two of the nation's largest insurers – Wellpoint and Aetna – refused to respond to a dozen calls and emails placed over the course of a week.
Wellpoint and Aetna's decision to not educate the public on its choices doesn't sit well with two experts.
"There is no reason to keep that quiet. It's not going to be a good secret for very long when people want to use the plans," Wilensky said.
"In many cases, consumers are shopping blind when it comes to what doctors and hospitals are included in their Obamacare exchange plans," said Josh Archambault, senior fellow with the think tank Foundation for Government Accountability. "These patients will be in for a rude awakening once they need care, and get stuck with a big bill for going out-of-network without realizing it."
All of this represents a larger problem with the Affordable Care Act, said Archambault, who has extensively studied the law.
"It reflects deeper issues in implementation," he said. "Some hospitals and doctors don't even know if they are in the network."
Just look at Seattle Children's Hospital, which ranks No. 11 on the U.S. News & World Report best pediatric hospital list. When Obamacare rolled out, the hospital found itself with just two out of seven insurance companies on Washington's exchange. The hospital sued the state's Office of Insurance on Oct. 4 for "failure to ensure adequate network coverage."
And for doctors in Texas, "Basically, we don't know," said Stephen Brotherton, president of the Texas Medical Association. "We can't find out. At this point, it's part of the various unknowns with the marketplace. There are ways you can be on plans and not even realize it."
Tori Richards is a writer with Watchdog.org. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter: @newswriter2.
According to reports Barack Obama was not told the National Security Agency (NSA) was tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone until 2010 at which time he not only didn’t stop it but ordered it to be continued. According to one high ranking official at the NSA the president said “he didn’t trust her.” A report issued by the NSA says this isn’t true and the president was never told about the wiretapping.
Whether he was told or not isn’t the main issue, instead it seems this president never knows what is going on. This is just the latest in a string of reported incidents, problems and failures of the administration of which Barack Obama either claims he hasn’t known about or his underlings have said they haven’t told him. And so far it also looks like the Mekel wiretapping will be the latest where no one will be held accountable.
Posted on October 31, 2013
CBS's Attkisson: Only 6 People Enrolled In Obamacare On First Day
Benghazi Attack: On September 11, 2012 the United States Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens and others were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. The president denied it was a terrorist attack even though reports show he knew at least 72 hours after the attack it was committed by Jihadists. Even after he knew this he sent out Susan Rice to all the Sunday talk shows on September 16 to claim it wasn’t a terrorist attack. Of course the administration says Rice said these things on her own. No one has ever been held accountable for not sending any troops to rescue our American citizens , even though they were ready to go. It is still unknown whp geve the order to “stand down.”
IRS Scandal: On May 10, 2013 it was learned that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had been targeting certain tax exempt groups for audits and additional scrutiny. The former Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division, Lois Lerner admitted the IRS was doing this and apologized, claiming it was “line employees” who made this decision. According to testimony in front of congressional investigators this was found not to be the case, in fact it went a lot higher than that. There were over 100 meetings at the White House between the IRS Commissioner and the White House, with Stephanie Cutter, one of the president’s political operatives present. What was discussed at these meeting? We don’t know, but the President has denied knowing anything about this targeting.
“Fast and Furious”: One of the first major scandals of the Obama administration has been what has become known as “Fast and Furious.” This was a government sponsored program where federal agents sold guns to criminal organizations in Mexico, with the idea of tracing these guns to the drug cartels. The program back fired when one of these guns was used to kill a border patrol officer, Brian Terry. It was also learned that the government had lost track of most of these guns soon after they crossed the border and some have been used in crimes here in the US and Mexico in other violent attacks by the drug cartels. Like every other scandal involving this president, he first said he knew nothing about this operation, in fact going so far as blaming it on George Bush. Later he said Attorney General Eric Holder stopped the program as soon as he found out about it, although Holder testified at congressional hearings he did not even know about it. It was also learned the program was not begun under Bush although a similar program was started and scrapped by the Bush administration. No one has been held accountable for this major failure.
Obamacare: The latest problem and possibly the most expensive in terms of money is the failure of the Healthcare.gov website and by extension, Obamacare itself. During hearings last week we learned there was no communication between the various contractors involved in the development of the website and it was not even fully tested. President Obama continues to insist that everything is working fine with the website as does HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. So far no one has addressed the even bigger problems with Obamacare such as the fact that contrary to what we were told over and over again that people could keep their current healthcare plans and doctors and healthcare insurance would be cheaper. None of this is true, rates have skyrocketed, people are receiving letters saying their current plans are being cancelled and their doctors are dropping them. The White House is insisting everything is fine with Obamacare and to not bother about the man behind the curtain. Period. Again, no one is being held accountable for this website fiasco and the over $600 million which has already be spent on something that doesn’t work.
With all these problems coming to light the President has shown us one of two things Either he really is clueless about what is going around him, preferring to let his subordinates run things the way they want to and when things don’t work out, these same subordinates prefer to not tell him about them. Or he is the most deceptive president of the modern era, doing whatever he wants and lying to the public and not worrying about getting caught, and when he does, he just denies knowledge of what is happening
Either way, this is a problem for this country. Our allies no longer trust us, our enemies don’t fear us and our citizens no longer know who or what to believe, all of which causes a major problem.
Commentary by Paul Roy
Obamacare Fallout: More Doctors Opting Out of Medicare
Monday, 29 Jul 2013 10:06 AM
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which administers the program, even doctors who still see some Medicare patients are limiting the number of Medicare patients they will treat, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The declines are in addition to the growing number of doctors who won't accept new Medicaid patients, and come just as millions of Americans are poised to become eligible for coverage under Obamacare.
Editor's Note: Should ObamaCare Be Repealed? Vote in Urgent National Poll
The numbers of doctors refusing both Medicare and Medicaid payments won't completely undermine Obamacare, health experts say, but some patients may have problems finding doctors who will accept their new coverage under the healthcare-reform law.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 9,539 doctors who had accepted Medicare payments opted out of the program last year. That seems like a large number, but 685,000 doctors nationally were enrolled as participating Medicare physicians in 2012.
Eight-one percent of them were family doctors, a drop from 83 percent in 2010, the American Academy of Family Physicians reports. The journal Health Affairs, however, reported this month that one-third of primary-care physicians did not accept new Medicaid patients in 2010-2011.
Part of the problem is that Medicare payment rates have not kept pace with inflation, and Medicare reimbursements could be slashed by 25 percent next year unless Congress delays the cuts. In addition, the amount of paperwork and information required from doctors and providers is massive.
Editor's Note: Video Exposes Dangers of Obamacare Law
"Family physicians have been fed up for a long time and it's getting worse," said Jeffrey Cain, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
When doctors opt out of programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, they can practice based on patients' needs instead of worrying about reimbursement rates, he said.
Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/obamacare-medicare-doctors-drop/2013/07/29/id/517497#ixzz2jQUmDt64
Check it out...a lot of other stuff Obama didn't know about!
Posted: Oct 29, 2013 4:07 PM CDT Updated: Oct 29, 2013 4:10 PM CDT
2008-- Obama didn't know about Jeremiah Wright's Statements
2009 Didn't know about AIG bonuses
Obama didn't know about AF 1 flyover of NYC
Didn't know MAO was on WH Christmas Ornaments
2010 Didnt know about Fast and Furious
2011 Didn't know how bad economy was
2011 Did or Didn't know about Egypt Collapse
2012- Didn't know mic was on when he offered flexibility to Russians
2012- Solyndra wasn't our program per se
2012 Obama didn't know about irs tea party thing
2012 Obama didn't know about Holder investigating Petraeus
2013 Didn't know about AP phone TAPS on journos
2013 Denied setting a red line on Syria
2013 Didn't know mic was on when he talked about smoking and being scared of Michelle
2013 Didn't or did, know about spying on foreign leaders
Becky summers cadillac plan dropped
A CBS News story from that same day ("U.S. military poised for rescue in Benghazi") stated the following:
Meanwhile, CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan reports that the FBI and State Department have reviewed video from security cameras that captured the attack on the consulate.
The audio feed of the attack was being monitored in real time in Washington by diplomatic security official Charlene Lamb. CBS News has learned that video of the assault was recovered 20 days later from the more than 10 security cameras at the compound.
The government security camera footage of the attack was in the possession of local Libyans until the week of Oct. 1. The video will be among the evidence that the State Department's review board will analyze to determine who carried out the assault.
According to that report, it was not the case that President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary of Defense Panetta, and a national security team were "watching real-time video of developments from a drone circling over the site"; rather, a single diplomatic security official was listening to an audio feed of events in Benghazi. Security cameras in the U.S. consulate compound did record video of the events as they unfolded, and a U.S. surveillance drone camera did capture the last hour of the attack, but neither of those sources was watched real-time by officials in Washington — the consulate video recordings were not recovered until weeks after the attack:
Video footage from the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya, taken the night of the Sept. 11 anniversary attacks, shows an organized group of armed men attacking the compound, according to two U.S. intelligence officials who have seen the footage and are involved in the ongoing investigation. The footage, which was recovered from the site [during the first week of October] by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, offers some of the most tangible evidence yet that a military-style assault took place, according to these officials.
The Obama administration has been studying the videos, taken from closed-circuit cameras throughout the Benghazi consulate’s four-building compound, for clues about who was responsible for the attack and how it played out. The two officials [said] that analysts are hoping to decipher the faces of the attackers and match them up with known jihadists.
In addition to the footage from the consulate cameras, the U.S. government is also poring over video taken from an overhead U.S. surveillance drone that arrived for the final hour of the night battle at the consulate compound and nearby annex.
On 26 October 2012, Fox News reported "urgent requests for military back-up" from those on the ground during the attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi were turned down by the CIA:
Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the ambassador's team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.
Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to "stand down."
Administration officials have so far denied that any requests for military assistance by those at the U.S. mission in Benghazi were rejected:
The White House [has] flatly denied that President Barack Obama withheld requests for help from the besieged American compound in Benghazi, Libya, as it came under on attack by suspected terrorists on September 11th.
"Neither the president nor anyone in the White House denied any requests for assistance in Benghazi," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor [said].
And the CIA has denied that anyone in its chain of command rejected requests for help from the besieged Americans.
Fox News Channel reported that American officials in the compound repeatedly asked for military help during the assault but were rebuffed by CIA higher-ups. At a press briefing one day earlier, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, asked why there had not been a quicker, more forceful response to the assault, complained of "Monday-morning quarterbacking." Panetta said he and top military commanders had judged it too dangerous to send troops to the eastern Libyan city without a clearer picture of events on the ground.
On 1 November 2012, U.S. intelligence officials released an account stating the CIA had in fact rushed security operatives to the U.S. mission compound in Benghazi within half an hour of the start of the attack:
The CIA rushed security operatives to an American diplomatic compound in Libya within 25 minutes after it had come under attack and played a more central role in the effort to fend off a night-long siege than has been publicly acknowledged, U.S. intelligence officials said.
The agency mobilized the evacuation effort, took control of an unarmed U.S. military drone to map possible escape routes, dispatched an emergency security team from Tripoli, the capital, and chartered aircraft that ultimately carried surviving U.S. personnel to safety on Sept. 12, U.S. officials said.
U.S. intelligence officials insisted that CIA operatives in Benghazi and Tripoli made decisions rapidly throughout the assault with no interference from Washington, even while acknowledging that CIA security forces were badly outmatched and largely unable to mobilize Libyan security teams until it was too late.
Among the new disclosures is that the CIA station chief in Tripoli sent an emergency security force, with about a half-dozen agency operatives as well as two U.S. military personnel, to Benghazi aboard a hastily chartered aircraft while the attack was underway.
The CIA team attempted to organize an effort to make its way to a hospital where U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens had been taken and was thought to be still alive. But the team was held up by Libyan officials at the airport and scrapped the plan to reach Stevens after learning that the security situation at the hospital was uncertain.
General Carter Ham headed the U.S. Africa Command during the attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. A late October 2012 rumor claimed General Ham declined an order to "stand down" and attempted to provide military assistance during the attacks, only to be relieved of his command "within a minute" of doing so, and Rear Admiral Charles M. Gaouette was likewise relieved of his command for ordering his forces to support those ordered into action by General Ham. That rumor was fueled by an 18 October 2012 announcement that President Obama had selected a nominee to replace General Ham as commander of the U.S. Africa Command:
President Barack Obama will nominate Army Gen. David Rodriguez to succeed Gen. Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command and Marine Lt. Gen. John Paxton to succeed Gen. Joseph Dunford as assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced.
In announcing Ham’s successor, Panetta also praised the work Ham has done with Africa Command.
"Gen. Ham has really brought AFRICOM into a very pivotal role in that challenging region," Panetta said. "I and the nation are deeply grateful for his outstanding service."
What actions General Ham took (or attempted to take) during the Benghazi attacks are currently unknown. Secretary of Defense Panetta said during an October 2012 press briefing that General Ham was one of the military commanders who had judged it too dangerous to send troops to Benghazi without a clearer picture of events on the ground:
The "basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on; without having some real-time information about what's taking place," [Panetta] said during a joint question-and-answer session with Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey.
"As a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, General Ham, General Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation," Panetta said.
On 29 October 2012, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated:
The speculation that General Carter Ham is departing Africa Command (AFRICOM) due to events in Benghazi, Libya, on 11 September 2012 is absolutely false. General Ham's departure is part of routine succession planning that has been on going since July. He continues to serve in AFRICOM with my complete confidence.
Admiral Gaouette has been relieved of his command of an aircraft carrier strike group in late October 2012 for a reason that has so far been specified only as a recent case of “inappropriate leadership judgment”:
In an unusual move, the Navy has replaced an admiral commanding an aircraft carrier strike group while it is deployed to the Middle East. The replacement was prompted by an Inspector General’s investigation of allegations of inappropriate leadership judgment. Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette, the commander of the USS John C. Stennis strike group, is being returned to the United States for temporary reassignment.
In a statement the Navy said it had approved a request made by Vice Adm. John W. Miller, the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, to temporarily reassign Gaouette "pending the results of an investigation by the Navy Inspector General."
A Navy official familiar with the circumstances of the investigation said it involved allegations of "inappropriate leadership judgment" and stressed it was not related to personal conduct.
The Stennis group arrived in the Fifth Fleet’s area of operations on Oct. 17 to replace the USS Enterprise, which was on the final deployment of its 50 years of service. The allegations are recent and were made within the last couple of weeks.
Read more at http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/benghazi.asp#iFuqvZcu63Vge1lC.99
Judicial Watch Obtains Records Through FOIA – Emails Showing IRS’ Lois Lerner Illegally Gave Tea Party Info To FEC…
WASHINGTON DC - The Internal Revenue Service shared highly confidential tax information of several Tea Party groups in the IRS scandal with the Federal Election Commission, a clear violation of federal law, according to newly obtained emails.
The public watchdog group Judicial Watch told Secrets Thursday that it was former scandal boss Lois Lerner who shared the information on groups including the American Future Fund and the American Issues Project.
The emails obtained by Judicial Watch show that the IRS, which was considering the tax status of the groups, gave the FEC the tax returns of the groups, including income, expenditures and staff pay. The emails also revealed the exact working of the prying political questions the IRS wanted the groups to reveal, such as their goals and the requests for brochures and ads.
Judicial Watch reports that it has obtained email exchanges between disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner and enforcement attorneys at the Federal Election Commission. Lerner worked at the FEC before moving over to the IRS, and at the FEC developed a reputation for wielding her power against a conservative candidate and Christian-based political groups.According to the email chain that Judicial Watch has unearthed via FOIA requests, Lerner continued that behavior at the IRS.
The revealing email chain obtained by Judicial Watch begins with a February 3, 2009, email from a redacted FEC attorney asking Lerner if the IRS had issued an exemption letter for American Future Fund (AFF). The writer of the letter notes, “When we spoke last July, you told us that the American Future Fund had not received an exemption letter from the IRS.” In the same email, the FEC attorney asked Lerner if she could also advise him if the IRS had granted an exemption letter to American Issues Project (AIP) as well as to AIP’s predecessor organizations, Citizens for the Republic (CFTR) and Avenger, Inc. (AIP).
In her response sent ten minutes later from her irs.gov email address, Lerner indicated that she would require her staff to cooperate fully, saying, “I have sent your email out to some of my staff. Will get back to you as soon as I have heard from them.”
The bulk of the records obtained by Judicial Watch consist of extensive materials from the IRS’ files sent from Lerner to the FEC containing detailed, confidential information about the organizations. These include annual tax returns (Forms 990) and request for exempt recognition forms (Form 1024), Articles of Organization and other corporate documents, and correspondence between the nonprofit organizations and the IRS. Under Section 6013 of the Internal Revenue Code, it is a felony for an IRS official to disclose either “return information” or “taxpayer return information,” even to another government agency.
Initial news reports, when word of some of these IRS-FEC emails first surfaced in August 2013, raised a variety of legal issues. One was the fact that Lerner was supplying confidential information concerning the tax exempt application status of conservative organizations. Another was the fact that the inquiries regarding AFF made by the FEC attorneys in February 2009 to Lerner occurred before the FEC commissioners had voted on whether to investigate AFF (the FEC later voted not to investigate AFF). A third was the appearance of collusion between government agencies with an apparently anti-conservative bias. The new in-depth emails obtained by Judicial Watch seem to confirm that the possible collusion between the IRS and the FEC may have been far more extensive than first indicated, particularly in view of allegations that, prior to joining the IRS, Lerner’s tenure as head of the Enforcement Office at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) also was marked by what appeared to be politically motivated harassment of conservative groups.
“These extensive emails and other materials provide a disturbing window into the activities of two out-of-control federal agencies: the IRS and FEC,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And there is the very real question as to whether these documents evidence a crime.”
The information Lerner disclosed was confidential, and disclosing it outside her agency is a felony. Lerner’s former office — she has retired from the IRS — is at the center of the agency’s abuse scandal. When Lerner first disclosed the abuse of Tea Party, conservative, Christian and Jewish groups, she blamed it on “rogue” employees at the IRS office in
That excuse quickly broke down as the scandal made its way straight to Cincinnati . Lerner
herself pled the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify about her role in the
scandal under oath. Washington
1 Nov 2013, 7:35 AM PDT
CNN reports that in September of 2010, in an attempt to let people keep their insurance plans, Senate Republicans tried to block the grandfather rule that is currently resulting in millions of Americans having their insurance policies cancelled. Democrats, including many who are facing re-election next year, unanimously voted to support the rule. The result, as we have seen, is two million already losing the insurance plan Obama repeatedly promised they could keep.
In its report, CNN points out that the whole point of the GOP efforts was to protect millions from losing their insurance. So what we have here is yet more proof that the GOP has been warning for years about this avoidable catastrophe, while the media and Democrats covered their ears and screamed happy talk.
In September 2010, Senate Republicans brought a resolution to the floor to block implementation of the grandfather rule, warning that it would result in canceled policies and violate President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their insurance if they liked it. …
On a party line vote, Democrats killed the resolution, which could come back to haunt vulnerable Democrats up for re-election this year.
The bad news for Democrats is that every single Senate Democrat facing a tough 2014 reelection -- Mary Landrieu, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark Pryor, Kay Hagan and Mark Begich -- is now on record voting for a rule that will not only result in up to 20 million losing insurance they were happy with, but doing so after being warned that this would happen.
Opinions and commentary from Conservatives in the entertainment industry
“Hunger Games” – A Lesson in Totalitarianism
Imagine a time when people all work for the State and have been split into designated districts representing certain industries. Imagine a time when The State controls all we see and do. Imagine a time when hope is dribbled out in small doses so that the masses don’t get too much of it. Imagine a time when food is rationed to the public and extra food submits one to a bigger risk of losing his/her life. This is the time depicted in Lionsgate’s mega box office smash “The Hunger Games”.
The film, which opened to a record breaking 152 million dollar weekend last week, depicts all of this and more. However, this is not how the film was marketed by Lionsgate. The film, based upon a bestselling trilogy, was marketed to teens and young adults in a way you would never know its true theme which is the dangers of a totalitarian (communist/socialist) society. It was marketed as the story of a young women who puts her life on the line to protect her younger sister and is forced to participate in a yearly gladiator style event known as The Hunger Games.
The 54% over 25 audience in the opening weekend shows this film is not just appealing to its core young adult crowd. The box office results show that Lionsgate has a four quadrant hit on its hands and one, which is appealing to a large audience with a mind. In my opinion, that should be a conservative mind, as the film shows all of the dangers inherent in where the current administration is trying to take the country. The same current administration that wants to “fundamentally change
In the film, Katniss, exquisitely portrayed by newcomer Jennifer Lawrence, volunteers to participate in the Hunger Games for her district when her younger sister is the unfortunate winner of the lottery which chooses the victims. The Hunger Games is a brutal battle in which one male and one female from each of the 12 districts must compete in a gladiator style of combat until one survives. The kicker which makes this different from most other movies of this genre is that all the participants must be between 12-18 years old. In other words, the movie depicts children killing children: Not something you would anticipate to draw large numbers to the theater. Lionsgate, in its marketing genius, has managed to not only turn this into a box office mega hit, but has also managed to market it so that absolutely none of the politics of the film were known to the general public that hadn’t read the books.
Donald Sutherland in a small but pivotal role, portrays the dictator who resides in the Capital which is District 1. District 1 is depicted in the film as rich and colorful. The outlying districts, which include the home of our heroine, District 12, are almost portrayed in black and white. They are basically the forgotten peasants whose labor is used to support the government and who must beg the government for extra food just to survive. Sutherland in the few short scenes he has shows how absolutism can be an aphrodisiac. He uses his power to dish out small amounts of hope and to squash it if it grows too large. His ideal of the Hunger Games is merely to remind the masses that the State controls all and any defiance of the state will be quashed in the most horrific of ways.
“The Hunger Games” shows the participants from District 1 and 2 are trained by the government from birth to represent their districts and to keep the outer districts from being successful. In fact, we are told early in the film that District 12 has never had a winner and Katniss may be its first true chance.
In the 1975 feature, there already is a strong opposition to the State which is sabatoging the race and slowly killing off the competitors before they can get their body counts up. This opposition has the participants fearful and the State worried because if the race can be stopped or one of its participants can be shown to be with the opposition, they will lose control and democracy may again be within the hands of the populace. This is only touched on by “The Hunger Games” as we are in the early stages of revolt against the State. The are small skirmishes in the outlying districts, but nothing is organized. In fact, we are led to believe by the end of the film that Katniss may be the driving force toward freedom’s return in the same way Lech Walesa, through Solidarity, eventually was responsible for the overthrow of the communist state in Poland; an overthrow which eventually led to the fall of the Soviet Union a few short years later.
All in all, “The Hunger Games” shows the danger of freedom being taken away from the people and the underlying current that a small amount of hope can give to the populace that such freedom can be returned. I am fearful that as the Obama Administration continues to slowly nip at our freedoms, a time in which this type of government will not be in the distant future. In fact, as seen by Obama’s comment this week to Dmitri Medvedev on a hot microphone, “I’m one election away from having more ability to negotiate with you on arms issues.” It is quite clear he is also one election away from being able to fundamentally change