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H1N1 (Swine Flu): Obama Declares H1N1 a National Emergency

October 24, 2009
President Barack Obama has declared the H1N1 Flu outbreak a national emergency.

President Barack Obama has declared the H1N1 Flu outbreak a national emergency.

The White House on Saturday said Obama signed a proclamation that would allow medical officials to bypass certain federal requirements. Officials described the move as similar to a declaration ahead of a hurricane making landfall. Swine flu is more widespread now than it’s ever been and has resulted in more than 1,000 U.S. deaths so far.

“In keeping with the administration’s proactive approach to H1N1 Flu, President Obama last night signed a proclamation declaring 2009-H1N1 Influenza a national emergency,” it said in a statement. “The proclamation enhances the ability of our nation’s medical treatment facilities to handle a surge in H1N1 patients by allowing, as needed, the waiver of certain standard federal requirements on a case-by-case basis.”

CDC said almost 100 children have died from H1N1, and 46 states now have widespread flu activity. The White House said Obama signed the declaration on Friday evening.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/10/24/health/AP-US-Obama-Swine-Flu.html?hp

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2009 09:52

    Unfortunately, the media hasn’t provided any detail of what the President’s proclamation means, which has led to speculation of forced vaccinations and martial law. According to WorldNetDaily.com (WND.COM), “the laws enacted by the proclamation do little more than clear administrative hurdles for faster processing of Medicare payments, and the provisions of the National Emergencies Act that the President cited in his proclamation actually limit the power his administration can take.”

    WND explained that “Section 201 of the National Emergencies Act, simply requires the President to inform Congress in writing when a national emergency is declared – which he did, after signing the declaration.”

    “Section 301 forbids the President from taking up any powers of the National Emergencies Act save those he lists in the proclamation of emergency, requiring him to “specify the provisions of law under which he proposes that he, or other officers will act.”

    The powers Obama specified stated:

    “I hereby declare,” the proclamation states, “that the secretary [of Health and Human Services] may exercise the authority under section 1135 of the [Social Security Act].”

    “Section 1135, in turn, allows the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, to review on a case-by-case basis applications from health care providers who wish certain restrictions be waived.”

    “According to an explanation prepared by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, those restrictions that can be waived include: ”

    Certification requirements for some doctors to be paid by Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP programs”

    “Pre-approval requirements for some services”

    “Requirements that doctors be licensed in the same state they’re practicing in order to get federal payments”

    “Sanctions against moving patients to alternate facilities”

    “A handful of other requirements governing how medical providers are paid.”

    “In fact, the most ominous provision of a Section 1135 waiver may be alterations to HIPAA privacy regulations. ”

    WND said “The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services explains that under a declared emergency, facilities granted a Section 1135 waiver no longer need to obtain a patient’s agreement to speak with family members or friends involved in the patient’s care, no longer need to distribute a notice of their privacy practices and no longer need to honor the patient’s right to request privacy restrictions or confidential communications. “

    • October 26, 2009 17:31

      This Federal Emergency law has been enacted three times since 9/11:
      Cedar Rapids Iowa Floods, June 14, 2008 for the Big Floods (I am here working all week and have clients who were activated for that and the city is far from recovered);
      Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary Department of Health and Human signed it into effect on September 4, 2005, for Katrina, effective at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on September 6, 2005, but will have retroactive effect to August 24, 2005 in Florida; August 29, 2005 in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi; and September 2, 2005 in Texas
      And of course for September 11, 2001, US wide.

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