Barry Asmus, RIP

Barry Asmus, who died March 30, 2020, studied at Montana State University, where he was mentored by economists at PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center. He picked up his appreciation of the free market from them (Richard Stroup was his thesis adviser). While Barry didn’t enter the environmental field, he became an advocate for the free market.

Gorman: US Hospitals are Safer

Gorman: US Hospitals are Safer

A frequent criticism of US hospitals is the charge of excessive adverse medical events,  sometimes leading to avoidable deaths. How do our hospitals compare to hospitals in national health care systems? Quite well. The percent of patients who experience an adverse event is twice as high in Canada, three times as high in Britain and four times as high in New Zealand. 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.

Kotlikoff: Back to work in Two Weeks

First, test everybody – the healthy and the sick. The “healthy” may be infected and asymptomatic, yet still spreading the virus. Hence, testing the “healthy” can help us quarantine those who are infected but so far asymptomatic. Second, the “healthy” who test negative can be allowed to return to work, attend school, shop, frequent restaurants, etc. Group testing makes this practical. More.

Kotlikoff: How Social Security is Conning Seniors

Forbes

Social Security has a policy of calling people close to 70 and making them an “offer” to start their benefits retroactively. Doing so saves Social Security money but hurts the recipients, who lose thousands of dollars of life time benefits. The bribe comes packaged with suggestions that if they die they won’t get their checks, so why not grab six months of benefits for sure. 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.

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