Kotlikoff: Beating COVID-19 with Math

A strategy for extinguishing the novel coronavirus has been outlined by Cornell University’s Operations Research Professor Peter Frazier and colleagues. They developed a group testing protocol that could release 96 percent of the U.S. population back to society within four weeks, with this percentage rising even higher thereafter. Frazier envisions initially testing 62 households at a time, and assumes, to be conservative, a very high (30 percent false negative) test rate that would require some degree of redundancy to work efficiently. All told, though, the job could be done for the entire United States with only 6 million tests per week. That’s a large number, but just three to four times the test rate we’ve already reached. More

Study: Liberate Prescription Drugs

Forbes

The mainstream media had a field day condemning Donald Trump for promoting off-label uses of prescription drugs to treat the coronavirus. So what do you expect to happen when a drug is “proven”? Did you know that “approved” drugs work only half the time? What about “unproven” drugs? Did you know that as many as one in five drugs in use in the United States has been prescribed for an off-label purpose? Roughly one-half of all cancer patients are relying on off-label prescriptions. Much of what doctors know they learn by trial and error – outside of FDA tests. More.

How COVID-19 Is Changing The Debate Over Health Reform

Forbes

A revolution is occurring in the way medical care is being delivered in the United States. It is happening almost overnight. People have stopped going to hospital emergency rooms. They have stopped going to doctors’ offices. Most of the nation is self-isolating. Doctors and patients are no exception. They are communicating by means of phone, email, Skype, Zoom and other devices. Last December, Zoom was the host of 10 million video conferences a day. Last week, the company was hosting 200 million a day. Many of those were patient/doctor communications. More.

Kotlikoff: we need group testing, every day

Forbes

With group testing, you take samples, say, from 20 people and test them all at once. If the result is negative, those 20 are free to go to work. If the test is positive, you divide the group into two and test 10 at a time. Using this method, you greatly reduce the number of tests needed to separate those who have the virus from those who do not. And we should do this every day. More.

Coronavirus and Health Reform

Forbes

Critics of President Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis characterize it as knee-jerk, spur-of-the-moment, and grasping at any straw within reach. In fact, many of the executive actions we have seen in the past few days reflect a new approach to health policy that has been underway almost since the day Donald Trump was sworn into office.

These include the ability to be diagnosed and treated without ever leaving your own home; the ability to talk to doctors 24/7 by means of phone, email and Skype; and the ability of the chronically ill to have access to free diagnoses and treatments without losing their access to Health Savings Accounts. More.

Obamacare at Age Ten

Forbes

John Goodman writes: Many people lost the insurance they were promised they could keep. Many lost access to the doctor they were promised they could continue to see. Premiums have doubled. Deductibles have tripled. Provider networks are so narrow, people with serious health problems are routinely denied access to the best doctors and the best hospitals. More.

How Obamacare Made Things Worse for Patients With Preexisting Conditions

One of the strange features of the national health care conversation is how it has evolved. What is often referred to as Obamacare began as an attempt to insure the uninsured. In fact, the initial Congressional Budget Office estimates predicted the Affordable Care Act would be largely successful in doing just that. Yet it was the Senate’s Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, who identified the political problem with that goal early on. About 95% of those who vote already have insurance, Schumer noted. So Obamacare was promising to spend a great deal of money on people who don’t vote. More.

Are Some Drug Prices Too Low?

When people think about drug pricing in the United States, they tend to think of the sky-high prices of some newer drugs. High prices do cause real problems. Some people in need may go without. People may also go without needed drugs because prices are too low. More.