August 2010 Archives

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Medicare Proposal Could be a Real Killer, my Forbes.com piece

By Michael Fumento

Medicare is speeding toward insolvency , and only major fundamental changes can save it. But beware the "tweakers" - those who say that little things can add up to a lot. Usually what they're pushing is of little benefit to Medicare, but of much benefit to them.

Medicare's problems won't be solved by tweaks.

As I write at Forbes. com, we that in a new study, paid for by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and seemingly applauded without dissent in the media - maybe because most of the articles are clearly rehashes of the accompanying press release.

The report in the August issue of Health Affairs says complications and deaths during surgery are equally low regardless of whether certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) or physician anesthesiologists are used. It also says there was no difference whether or not the nurse anesthesiologist was supervised by a surgeon.

Therefore we can safely drop the Medicare rule requiring either an anesthesiologist or physician supervision of a CRNA when anesthesia is administered, it concluded. And though CRNAs are among the best-paid nurses, their time is still cheaper than a doctor's. So while Medicare currently reimburses at the same rate regardless of who's doing the administering, we could change that and save money.

But as the study's own data show - sans spin - we could also lose lives.

August 26, 2010 11:27 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Health Care

WHO "ends" pandemic that never was, my Philly Inquirer piece

By Michael Fumento

Hallelujah, the disaster has been averted! The World Health Organization last week declared the H1N1 swine flu pandemic over.

Except for one little thing: It never happened. That is, as I write in today's Philly Inquirer, the WHO had no business labeling it a "pandemic." It did so purely for its own interests, wreaking worldwide havoc.

Meanwhile, the world has wasted billions of dollars that could have been spent on diseases like tuberculosis, which each year kills 70 times as many people as swine flu did, according to the WHO. Now add in the "crying wolf" factor, which means many people will ignore public-health warnings when a truly nasty disease comes along, and you'll see how much damage was done by the swine flu disinformation campaign.

August 20, 2010 10:08 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

"A license to kill," my NYPost piece on "Toyota Defense"

By Michael Fumento

The "Toyota defense" just sprung a killer from prison. Ironically, it did so just days after a whistleblower revealed that the government is sitting on powerful evidence undercutting the whole "the throttle made me do it" excuse.

Javis Adams Jr.

As I write in the New York Post, four years ago, Koua Fong Lee sped down a St. Paul, Minn., freeway off-ramp at between 70 and 90 mph in his 1996 Camry. He hit two vehicles waiting at a stop light, instantly killing Javis Adams, 33, and his son Javis Jr, 10. Another passenger, Devyn Bolton, age 6, was paralyzed and later died from her injuries.

Lee claimed he was "stepping on the brakes as hard as possible," but mechanical engineers examined the car on behalf of both the state and the defense -- and, according to the prosecutor, both found the brakes were operating and there were no problems with the accelerator. Plus, there were no skid marks.

Lee was convicted of criminal vehicular manslaughter and sentenced to eight years in prison. But ultimately he served only 2-and-a-half.

Get ready for your blood to boil. And start thinking about the ramifications if everybody is simply allowed - with evidence as scant as this - to simply blame their car for the accidents that kill almost 40,000 Americans on our roads each year.

August 10, 2010 10:23 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Automobile Safety ~ Toyota

Mike on Neil Cavuto on Toyota tonight

By Michael Fumento

I'm scheduled to be the lead guest on Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business Channel at 6pm tonight.

Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum . . .

Subject: The news that NHTSA is withholding exculpatory evidence regarding "alleged death" Toyota sudden acceleration accidents. And perhaps the guy in Michigan convicted of manslaughter who is the first to use "The Toyota Defense," that he hit the brakes and therefore the car accelerated. I've written about the "I'm sure I hit the brakes!" issue previously, in my piece "Why Do Toyotas Hate the Elderly?

August 5, 2010 11:40 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Automobile Safety ~ Toyota