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OpenMarket: Health and Safety

  • Banning Bake Sales

    October 21, 2009
    The American Enterprise Institute held a panel discussion yesterday on food safety. They discussed congressional proposals aimed at addressing contaminants in our food, such as pathogens like Salmonella and E. Coli. Panelists actually agreed on a few things … well, actually, they agreed on what they don't know. First, no one could answer the question as to whether legislation would significantly reduce risks, nor could anyone determine where the real risks lie. And no one could provide an adequate justification for increased government action because food safety has not declined in recent years—it is more likely improving. Nonetheless, David W. K. Acheson...
  • Health Insurer Competition and Democratic Saber Rattling

    October 20, 2009
    Last week, after the industry association America’s Health Insurance Plans released a study showing that premiums would rise 18 percent under the Senate Finance Committee’s reform proposal, top Democrats took to the airwaves to condemn the industry and threatened to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which exempts insurers from most federal regulation, including antitrust laws. not clear that they really do intend to repeal McCarran-Ferguson, or if they're just sending a signal to health insurers and other dissenters that this is how we deal with people who stand in our way. As my wife said yesterday, they're playing Chicago hard ball now. They’ll do whatever it takes to win.
  • Weekly Flu Watch IV - What swine flu ISN'T doing

    October 18, 2009
    Total deaths since Aug. 30 from "Influenza and Pneumonia-Associated" illness are 2,029 reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site FluView. But only 292 of those have been laboratory-confirmed as flu of any type. (And yes, people die of pneumonia from many causes other than flu.) By comparison, the CDC estimates about 260 Americans die each day from "regular" flu during each season. And the Swine Flu Count Website shows about as many swine flu deaths worldwide in the last six months as the World Health Organization (WHO)...
  • "The Pandemic Is Political," my article in Forbes Online

    October 18, 2009
    As evidence continues to mount that swine flu is more of a piglet than a raging razorback, why isn't curiosity mounting as to why the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic? And definitions aside, why does the agency continue to insist we're going to get hammered?
    As I write in my new article, it just might be related to a speech the WHO chief gave last months in which she said "ministers of health" should take advantage of the "devastating impact" swine flu will have on poorer nations to tell "heads of state and ministers of finance, tourism and trade" that:
    • The belief that "living conditions and health status of the poor would somehow automatically improve as countries modernized, liberalized their trade and improved their economies" is false. Wealth doesn't equal...
  • Regulation Not Worth Its Salt

    October 16, 2009
    A recent study by University of California, Davis nutritionists concludes that it may not even be possible to reduce salt intake through regulation.
  • Robert Reich Gets It

    October 15, 2009
    Some of the consequences of increasing government’s role in health care are easy predict.
  • Silencing Criticism through Libel Law

    October 14, 2009
    The physicist turned science journalist Simon Singh has been sued in a UK court and, this past summer, found liable for libel for an April 2008 commentary piece in the Guardian in which he explained that there is no evidence that chiropractic spinal manipulation can safely and effectively treat back pains. In a world of global print and Internet publishing, the UK has become a venue for so-called libel tourism, in which slighted plaintiffs from all over the world bring suit in British courts against defendants located outside the UK merely because their comments have been published or re-posted in magazines, books, or websites that happen to appear in Britain. There is no doubt that British libel law exerts a chilling effect on free speech generally, and on criticism of quack science and bad governance more specifically.
  • Senate Finance Passes Health Reform Bill

    October 13, 2009
    Earlier today, Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Me.) announced that she would vote in favor of the health care reform bill authored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.). And, just about 30 minutes ago, the Finance Committee reported the bill out to the full Senate by a 14 to 9 vote, with all the Democrats and Snowe voting in favor.
  • No "Weekly Flu Watch" this week

    October 11, 2009
    See instead my article "Swine Flu: the Real Threat Is Panic," from the New York Post .
  • How did the President's Council swine flu scenario measure up?

    October 11, 2009
    Sorta depends on who you ask. The read about the flu in the mainstream media, you would think men are going through the streets with carts calling "Bring out your dead." But to look at the statistics, there's not even an epidemic yet. Read my article in the New York Post. "Swine Flu: the Real Threat Is Panic."

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