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.

Goodman: Obamacare at Age Ten

In a post at 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.

Herrick: Things Are Worse for Patients with Pre-existing Conditions

There is not a single health plan in Dallas/Fort Worth today that will give an enrollee access to UT Southwestern Medical School – perhaps the best medical research facility in the world. There is no individual plan sold in the entire state of Texas that will get a cancer patient into MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

This same pattern is repeated all over the country, according to In fact, the insurer that has been most successful in the Obamacare exchanges is Centene – a Medicaid contractor that generally covers only those providers who will accept Medicaid rates. What Centene offers enrollees is basically Medicaid with a very high deductible. More.

Market Tailspin: How Bad Could Things get?

Are we going to have another Great Depression? Hard to see why not. According to the BLS, roughly a quarter of US workers work at home each day. If that could be doubled, a big if, and if no one could otherwise work, we’re still talking a reduction in output of 50%. Yes, all kinds of remote-working adjustments will be made, so maybe 50% turns into 25%, i.e. the Great Depression. More.

Will the Stock Market Drop by Half?

Let me give you my partial list of the businesses that I think will go under. I think restaurants will fail. I think coffee shops will fail. I think dry cleaners will fail. I think airlines will fail. I think cruise boat companies will fail. I think hotels will fail. I think department and boutique clothing and other retail stores will fail. I think travel agencies will fail. I think movie theaters will fail. I think universities and colleges will fail. I think theaters will fail. I think theme parks will fail. I think spas will fail. I think resorts will fail. I think convention centers will fail. I think malls will fail. I think gyms will fail. I think orchestras will fail. I think hair salons will fail. I think nail salons will fail. I think barber shops will fail. I think bars will fail. I think every business that’s not online and involves customers will fail. More.

Can we Stop the coronavirus from Creating a financial Crisis?

I believe the only answer is to follow a more focused version of Italy’s hard-nosed policy: put the country into a nationwide monthlong quarantine, requisition labs and build new ones and use the month to produce hundreds of millions of virus test kits and millions of ventilators. When people leave their homes, they’ll need to be tested every few days and then every week for months to ensure there are no further outbreaks. More.

Will the Coronavirus Kill the global Economy?

Well, consider how passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise liner fared. On February 1, just one passenger had clear signs of coronavirus. Thanks to their on-board, two-week quarantine, 691 passengers are now infected for an infection rate of one in five. If the virus can reach so many so quickly, what can it do over time? 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.