Monday , March 30 2020
Home / Tag Archives: Economics of Health Care

Tag Archives: Economics of Health Care

The world is what it is

Richard Epstein is a highly respected free market economist.  He recently caught a lot of grief for predicting that coronavirus deaths in the US would peak at about 500: While Epstein does not have a medical or epidemiological background, he is a fellow at the Center for Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago and had worked on research about the spread of AIDS during the 1980s and 1990s. Amid what he called a “full state of panic,” his March 16 article boldly...

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FDA Shouldn’t Keep Safe Drugs off the Market

Enter Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. There are no proven therapies to treat an infection of that virus. One of the most promising candidates is Gilead Sciences ’ remdesivir, which has shown some potential in treating other coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS. Due to its use in treating Ebola infections, remdesivir is known to be generally safe. With the FDA’s two-hurdle requirement in place, however, remdesivir must be proven...

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A battle fought on a million fronts

Like most people, I find it difficult to wrap my mind around complex issues. It’s easiest to boil it down to one or two key factors, and focus on those perspectives. But that doesn’t always work. Consider global warming. If we are going to address that issue in the most cost effective way it will probably involve: 1. The development of many types of carbon free energy (wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, geothermal, etc.)2. Conversion of coal plants to natural gas, as an...

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The white man’s disease?

With all of the controversy regarding President Trump’s use of the term “China virus” (which he recently discontinued), people have overlooked the extent to which the epidemic has recently gone from being primarily an East Asian problem to a Western problem. You may have seen graphs showing incidence by country, using circles of varying sizes. But those show cumulative totals, not current incidence. The following graph shows active cases: East Asia and South Asia...

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Who Are All the People Dying of Flu?

Many people are baffled to hear that tens of thousands of Americans still die of flu every year.  The CDC estimate for 2017-2018 is 61,000, markedly more than die in all auto accidents.  Yet I’ve never heard of any specific person dying of flu.  So who are these people? The answer, roughly, is: the elderly.  Here are combined influenza and pneumonia death rates by age from National Vital Statistics Reports: What about total mortality? Is the relatively low population...

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Cost Benefit Analysis of Flattening the Curve

Eline van den Broek-Altenburg, an assistant professor at the Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont, and Adam Atherly, a professor and director of the Center for Health Services Research at the Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont have produced a short analysis titled “Economic Cost of Flattening the Curve.” It’s interesting and valuable, but it’s mis-titled. The best part is their analysis of the benefit of saving lives. Even that, though, is...

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Pandemics and Open Borders

Does the current pandemic seal the case against open borders?  Though I foresee many readers’ incredulity, the correct answer is: no way.  Why not?  Key point: Borders are already about 98% closed to immigration.  As I’ve explained before: Let C=total number of immigrants – legal and illegal – who annually enter the U.S. under existing laws. Let F=the total number of immigrants who would annually enter the U.S. under open borders. Under perfectly open borders, C=F. ...

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Serendipity: California, the NBA, and the benefits of overreaction

I recently did a post arguing that the case for government coercion was weaker than it looked (although not necessarily incorrect.) Today I’d like to illustrate the ideas in that post with a couple of examples. A few weeks ago, the NBA began considering the option of playing its games in empty arenas to avoid spreading the coronavirus. Then when a player became infected the entire league shut down. Why is that? While it is not correct to say the coronavirus is no...

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Is there a better alternative to lockdowns?

In the effort to contain Coronavirus, Italy has chosen a policy of lockdown (here’s an interesting report by Flavio Felice for the City Journal). Some people have commented that the Italian strain is considerably milder than the Chinese one. Comparisons are seen as fit, because Italy is roughly the same size, population way, of Hubei, the Chinese region where Covid19 started its journey. Advocates of the Chinese strategy sometimes forget that, with all its faults,...

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The fruits of nationalism

Bloomberg has an article discussing a US planning session for a global pandemic, which took place in 2019: Last October, about 50 national security experts gathered in Washington to role-play a global response to a frightening scenario: a pandemic sparked by a mysterious new coronavirus ravages the world, hitting North Asia, Europe and the U.S. especially hard. They got many things right, but were wrong about one aspect of the policy response: One thing it got badly...

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