Kotlikoff: we need group testing, every day

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

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

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.

Kotlikoff on the Coronavirus

I predict a massive drop in global stock markets in coming days with no rebound until what is now being called a pandemic is brought under control. Such a drop in the market will exacerbate the pessimism, which will slowly but surely engulf global business leaders and consumers and wreak havoc on the world economy. We have something very real to fear, which is producing real-time economic reactions, like the closing off of China, that are truly beyond belief. These reactions are fully capable of panicking billions of investors and consumers in our highly interconnected and mutually dependent global economy. More

Kotlikoff: Why We’re Going Broke

The US has spent the entire post-war period running a massive and ever-growing Ponzi scheme that takes from the young and gives to the old. … The scheme has been and is being run by expanding take-as-you-go-financed Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid systems, by running huge official deficits, and by imposing a larger share of taxes on the young and a smaller share on the old. [It has] reduced the US’s national saving rate from 13% in the 1950s and 1960s to 3% in the last two decades. This underlies, in large part, a commensurate drop in the domestic investment rate, which was also 13% between 1950 and 1969 and is now running at 4%. The textbook predicted consequence? Lower median labor productivity and median real wage growth. More

Dangers in Nationalizing Health Care

Thousands forcibly sterilized by the progressives in the early 20th century. Experimentation (by withholding treatment) on black males with syphilis in the mid century. Swine flu vaccine that killed people without preventing the flu in the 1970s. More.

Costly Surprises are Hidden in Medicare’s Rules

You can’t trust that you are getting the real story from Social Security and Medicare websites. Medicare tells seniors they don’t have to sign up for Part B and Part D coverage if the gap between jobs is 8 months or less. The surprise: it counts the gap between ever job change and life time penalties can be a 20% increase in premiums or more. It also doesn’t warn seniors that taking capital gain can double or triple their Medicare premiums. More.

Social Security Cheated 11,000 Widows Out of $130 Million

That’s the estimate of the Office of Inspector General and it averages $10,000 a piece. Social Security personnel have been signing up widows for widow’s benefits and retirement benefits at the same time – thereby robbing them of much high retirement benefits they would have later qualified for if the paperwork had been done correctly. More

Climate Change: We Don’t Have to Sacrifice for Future Generations

Greta Thunberg, the determined 16-year-old Swedish activist, has it wrong. If there is an economic payoff from avoiding global warming, there is no reason why the current generation should bear all the costs and future generations should get all the benefits. The climate can be fixed in a manner that makes every generation in every part of the world better off. More.