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Tag Archives: Economics of Health Care

The CMS is Right and the WSJ is Wrong

I find it refreshing when a government agency says no to spending more money. Last month, in an editorial titled “Sandbagging a Alzheimer’s Treatment,” the Wall Street Journal editors criticized the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for refusing to pay for Biogen’s new Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm. In their editorial, the WSJ editors rightly criticize various scientists who had insisted on further trials before the drug was approved. As readers of this blog...

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The FDA’s Extreme Innumeracy

Seriously, FDA? The Food and Drug Administration decided yesterday to strictly limit”who can receive Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.” Why? Because of “the ongoing risk of rare but serious blood clots.” How rare but serious? Matthew Perrone and Lauren Neergaard, in “FDA restricts J&J’s COVID-19 due to blood clot risk,” msn.com, May 5, 2022, write: Federal scientists identified 60 cases, including nine that were fatal, as of mid-March. That amounts to...

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Trust, but verify

Reagan’s famous quip is a bit of a contradiction, but nonetheless gets at something important about life. We cannot live effective lives without some level of trust, but blind trust can be quite counterproductive.In a book entitled Trust, Francis Fukuyama showed that a certain type of social cohesion is associated with greater economic success. Corporations tend to do better in societies where people are willing to work with strangers, whereas the private sector in...

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Don’t blame the hippies

I just saw a documentary on the Rolling Stones infamous free concert at Altamont, California, which took place in December 1969. In popular mythology, it was a drug-fueled orgy of violence that led to four deaths, in contrast to the peaceful concert earlier in the year at Woodstock. As with most myths, there’s a grain of truth and some exaggeration.No one seems to have died of a drug overdose at Altamont, although some of the festival’s other problems were related to...

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Should You Trust the Local Left?

Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s new governor-elect plans to end the state-level mask mandate, but will not impose a mandate ban on localities: After his inaugural ceremony on Jan. 15, Youngkin said he will not mandate masks and vaccines but–unlike some Republican governors–he will not attempt to block localities from implementing their own requirements. “Localities are going to have to make decisions the way the law works and that is going to be up to individual decisions...

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The FDA Will Soon Allow Adults to Act as Adults

At least on one issue. A hearing-aid disruption is under way, with inexpensive hearing aids heading to drugstores and other retailers sometime next year. But if you’re experiencing hearing loss, doctors and hearing experts say it isn’t wise to just wait for them to arrive. The Food and Drug Administration is expected in the next few months to finalize a rule it proposed in October allowing people to buy hearing aids without getting a medical exam first. The rule...

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Covid Migration: Why the Asymmetry?

During Covid, the U.S. reverted to our old tradition of federalism – and then embraced gubernatorial dictatorship.  As  result of this strange and shocking institutional revolution, the U.S. witnessed a dramatic rise in policy variance.  Some parts of the U.S., like Florida and Texas, returned to near-normalcy in a matter of months.  Others, like California and New York, became and remain soft police states. We’ve now spent the better part of two years arguing about...

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My Upside of Covid

Covid has killed millions, and trampled the freedom of billions.  For me, the main horror has been the paranoid reaction to the disease, rather than the disease itself.  Much of the social life I built for myself before Covid evaporated during 2020.  But since this is Thanksgiving Week, I’m reflecting on all the ways that my life has improved since Covid.  And the list is not short.   Necessity is the mother of invention – and never before have I felt such an urgent...

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The FDA’s War Against the Truth on Ivermectin

It’s important to address two criticisms of our work. The first is that we exaggerated the FDA’s warning on ivermectin. The second is that Merck’s stance on ivermectin proved that even the company that developed ivermectin thought that it doesn’t work for Covid-19. First, we didn’t exaggerate the FDA’s warning on ivermectin. Instead, the agency changed its website after our article was published, probably to reflect the points we made. Second, Merck had two...

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MRI Pricing

Two weeks ago I posted about what I thought might be rational pricing for my MRI and I ended by saying “Stay tuned.” I don’t yet have the bill and so I can’t say more about that. But the story got more interesting. A few days after I posted, I went online with SimonMed, the local in-network (I think) MRI provider to set up an appointment. But it walked me through a whole lot of questions to which I didn’t know the answers. It was almost as if you had to be my doctor...

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