How economists calculate the costs and benefits of COVID-19 lockdowns

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Value of Saving One Statistical Life, by Age

There is a huge public debate whether the economic costs of actions designed to arrest the spread of COVID-19 are worth the potential health benefits achieved.

Literally trillions of dollars in lost economic output and uncounted lives hang in the balance. No rational discussion of this weighty issue is possible without first having a hard-nosed discussion of the dollar value of saving the lives of COVID-19 patients.

This post will focus on the well-established methods that health economists have devised to answer this question.

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Hospitals charging the privately insured 2.4 times what they charge medicare patients

 

52E62FB1-E8AC-4338-A303-8C9F9900F2ABIndiana Rep. Sen. Jim Banks’ Hospital Competition Act of 2019 would curtail the pricing power of regional hospital monopolies, and incentivize them to restore a competitive market.

For generations, the prices that hospitals charge patients with private insurance have been shrouded in secrecy. An explosive new study has unlocked some of those secrets. It finds that employers and their insurers are failing to control hospital costs, increasing calls for transparency into insurer-hospital agreements.

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Why do doctors choose a $2,000 eye drug when an effective $50 alternative is available?

There are two eye drugs that have been declared equivalently miraculous. Tested side by side in six major trials, both prevent blindness in a common old-age affliction. Biologically, they are cousins. They’re even made by the same company.

 

 

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Medicare crackdown seems to be slowing down hospital readmission epidemic

 Medicare has begun punishing hospitals with hefty fines if they have too many readmissions.

There are more than 1 million Americans who wind up back in the hospital only weeks after they are released for reasons that could have been prevented — a revolving door that for years has seemed impossible to slow.

 

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30% drop in hospital stays for heart failure, saving billions

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Heart failure hospitalizations have decreased nationally overall.

There was a remarkable 30% drop in hospital stays for heart failure in Medicare patients over a decade. It is the first such decline in the United States and forceful evidence that the nation is making headway in reducing the billion-dollar burden of a common condition.

 

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Health care fraud prosecutions could rise 85% in 2011

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Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks about the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.

Federal health care fraud prosecutions in the first eight months of 2011 are on pace to rise 85% over last year due in large part to ramped-up enforcement efforts under the Obama administration, according to new government statistics.

 

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2010 census trends: Uneven aging and ‘younging’ in the U.S.

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 The divide between states gaining and losing their younger populations.

When the Beatles song “When I’m Sixty-Four” was released in 1967, many baby boomers adhered to the mantra, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Now the boomers are fully ensconced in advanced middle age, and the oldest of them are beginning to cross into full-fl edged senior-hood, as the first boomer turned age 65 last January. Some 80 million strong and more than one quarter of the U.S. population, baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) are a still a force to be reckoned with, even as they have all crossed the age-45 marker. Along with their elders, the large and growing older American population presents significant future challenges for federal government programs such as Social Security and Medicare. State and local social services and infrastructure needs will also change in communities across the nation as the population ages.

 

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First Baby Boomers Turn 65 in 2011, But Are They Ready for Retirement?

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The first baby boomers will turn 65 in 2011, but is this generation truly ready to leave the workforce?

“Baby boomer” is the name given to the generation born in a “baby boom” following World War II, between 1946 and 1964. There are about 78 million in all, which is 26 percent of the population. Those turning 65 this year will be eligible for Medicare, and full retirement in 2012.

 

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1 In 5 Medical Claims Processed Inaccurately By Health Insurers

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1 in 5 medical claims processed incorrectly by commercial health insurers.

One in five medical claims is processed inaccurately by commercial health insurers, often leaving physicians shortchanged, according to the nation’s largest doctor’s group. The American Medical Association released its third annual report card on insurers Monday.

 

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28 States May Expand Authority of Nurse Practitioners

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A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is a nurse who performs many duties commonly performed by a physician

A nurse may soon be your doctor. With a looming shortage of primary care doctors, 28 states are considering expanding the authority of nurse practitioners. These nurses with advanced degrees want the right to practice without a doctor’s watchful eye and to prescribe narcotics. And if they hold a doctorate, they want to be called “Doctor.” For years, nurse practitioners have been playing a bigger role in the nation’s health care, especially in regions with few doctors. With 32 million more Americans gaining health insurance within a few years, the health care overhaul is putting more money into nurse-managed clinics.

 

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More Americans Delaying Retirement May Help the Financial Challenges Facing Social Security and Medicare

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More Americans delaying retirement

An unprecedented upturn in the number of older Americans who delay retirement is likely to continue and even accelerate over the next two decades, a trend that should help ease the financial challenges facing both Social Security and Medicare, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

 

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