Health Care Archives

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

"The People Speak," my NRO piece on Obama's nonsense about the Obamacare vote

By Michael Fumento

Shortly after the House approved the massive, historic health-care legislation and sent it to President Obama for his signature, the president declared the vote "proved that this government - a government of the people and by the people - still works for the people."

In fact, according to Pollster.com, which tracks surveys, eight non-partisan polls surveyed Americans about attitudes towards the legislation just before the vote. None showed a majority of support. In fact, Obama's "the people" is closer to a third of the electorate.

But when you dig deeper, looking at specific responses such as those showing "strong" support or "strong" disapproval, it looks even worse.

Americans want health care reform, but they clearly didn't want this bill. Why didn't Congress go back to the drawing board to present more palatable legislation? Read about it in my NRO piece, "The People Speak."

March 27, 2010 12:58 PM  ·  Permalink

No, Pres. Obama, the health care vote was not "of the people"

By Michael Fumento

I have repeatedly defended Obama against what I've considered unfair attacks from the right. I believe his actions for the most part have not been nearly as "liberal" as some have claimed. It's wrong to use his middle name of "Hussein" used against him, as if he could have chosen it in any case. And I don't care for the conspiracy theories such as his alleged foreign birth.

But one of my objections to all this is it weakens legitimate arguments against those actions and words of his that truly threaten our nation.

That includes his utterly outrageous claim following the House vote approving the health care bill.

The vote, he said last night, "proved that this government - a government of the people and by the people - still works for the people."

Just for using that cliche he merits 20,000 years in purgatory. I trust even my non-Catholic friends will stand by me on that.

But beyond that, we have those pesky surveys that repeatedly showed "the people" opposed the legislation. They include Gallup, Rasmussen, Fox, Pew, NBC/Wall Street Journal, and others. All were released anywhere from days to a week before the vote. All show only about a third of the electorate wanted the legislation to pass.

Then there are the numbers in the House vote itself.

It squeaked by with just seven more yeas than nays, or 50.8 percent of those voting. It got zero votes from opposition party and had 17 defectors from the majority party. That doesn't invalidate the vote, of course. It legally passed. But is that the kind of victory margin you'd really want for sweeping legislation that will affect all Americans presumably for the rest of our history?

Obviously it's not what Obama would have wanted. But what he wanted more was a political victory and a massive expansion of government, and now he's got them. Goody for him. But don't pretend this is what we wanted.

March 22, 2010 02:52 PM  ·  Permalink

"Preventative Care Myth," my piece in NRO

By Michael Fumento

Declaring "I love numbers," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared after getting a thumbs up from the Congressional Budget Office on Thursday just before a scheduled vote on health care legislation.

The budget office found that the House changes to the Senate legislation will cut $138 billion from the federal deficit. Opponents have showed the figures are essentially mythical. Certainly numbers have worked against Pelosi in a very critical area, namely the idea that preventative care and wellness programs can save us money. That too, is a myth, as I make abundantly clear in "The Preventative Care Myth," my article in today's NRO.

March 19, 2010 01:55 PM  ·  Permalink

Sorry, no RIP yet for the health care reform legislation

By Michael Fumento

It's fine to celebrate the Massachusetts victory of Scott Brown. I like how Daily Show host Jon Stewart put it: "The Kennedy legacy goes down to a naked guy who owns a truck." (He once posed for Cosmopolitan.)

But remember from civics class that the legislation only need 51 votes to pass (technically 50, with Biden as tie-braker) and all Brown's win does is allow a filibuster with one vote to spare. And as the Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein writes today:

There is very little in the latest version of the health-care bill that Maine's two Republican senators haven't supported in the past or couldn't support in the future. In succumbing to the intense social and political pressure from their caucus, both Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins flunked the leadership test last year. Massachusetts has now given them a second chance to redeem their reputations and political fortunes in a state that has always valued independence over party loyalty.

So here's to the naked truckdriver, but we need to continue to get the word out on the need for health care reform but the terrible problems with the legislation that the Democrats are trying to foist upon us.

January 20, 2010 10:29 AM  ·  Permalink

Just what IS in those enormous health care bills?

By Michael Fumento

With the House version stacked bigger than Dolly Parton at about 2,000 pages, anybody who says they know for certain is lying. It's not just the verbiage but how it will be interpreted in the years to come. Still, there's more than enough to be alarmed enough to want to kill the bills off.

Maybe Dolly Parton can't be stacked too high, but legislation can.
Maybe Dolly Parton can't be stacked too high, but legislation can.

"Rather than overwhelm you with arcane details of each bill," writes Robert Bidinotti in an engaging and highly annotated essay, "it is more important that you understand in principle what ObamaCare will mean for you and your family." Going into detail (but not too much), he says they include:


  • Outrageous Costs.

  • Soaring Taxes.

  • Perverse Incentives.

  • Government rationing.

  • Broken promises.


He states:
A single-payer, government-run program of socialized medicine is the stated objective of those who designed this legislative monstrosity- from President Obama, to the vast coalition of unions and advocacy groups, to the congressional leaders who drafted these bills. They explicitly intend to bankrupt the private-insurance marketplace, so that only the government option remains. Far from adding "choice and competition," then, ObamaCare aims at imposing on us a government health-care monopoly.

Urge your congressman to vote for Dolly Parton instead.

November 4, 2009 09:02 AM  ·  Permalink