Posted in American Presidents, Disease Prevention, Economic Issues, Evidence-based Medicine, Free Society, Government Regulations, Liberty, outcomes measurement, Patient Safety, Policy Issues, Protocols, Rule of Law, U.S. Constitution, Uncategorized

Would a National Lockdown Have Saved the U.S. From COVID-19? – Reason.com

A comparison of Texas and California suggests that legal edicts matter less than The New York Times thinks.

And it is odd that the Times wishes Trump had taken complete control of the situation, given his resistance to the sweeping social and economic restrictions that the Times favors. Any “unified national strategy” imposed by Trump almost certainly would have entailed overriding the lockdowns imposed by states such as California and New York, which the Times credits with saving many lives.

It’s not clear the Times is right about that. Quoting Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious disease expert at Columbia, it says “the rush to reopen” was “the opportune moment that was lost.” If so, states that imposed lockdowns early, lifted them gradually, and quickly re-imposed restrictions in response to surges in cases and deaths should have fared better than less cautious states. But a comparison of Texas and California, the two most populous states, does not provide much evidence to support that hypothesis.

Contact tracing data from New York indicate that “household/social gatherings” accounted for three-quarters of infections in that state this fall. Mobility data show that Americans sharply curtailed their public activities last spring before most states had imposed lockdowns and began moving around more before those lockdowns were lifted. The pattern in both Texas and California was similar to the nationwide trends, notwithstanding their markedly different policies. In both states, mobility peaked in the fall and has declined since then. These data suggest that government policy does not play as important a role in the behavior that drives virus transmission as the Times seems to think.

In a National Bureau of Economic Research paper published last August, UCLA economist Andrew Atkeson and two other researchers, after looking at COVID-19 trends in 23 countries and 25 U.S. states that had seen more than 1,000 deaths from the disease by late July, found little evidence that variations in policy explain the course of the epidemic in different places. Other analyses have reached different conclusions.

Do the benefits of lockdowns outweigh their costs? That question is crucial not just in setting current policy but also in deciding how to deal with future epidemics. Without the “fractured” approach that the Times decries, it would be a lot harder to answer.

https://reason.com/2021/01/18/would-a-national-lockdown-have-saved-the-u-s-from-covid-19/

Posted in Access to healthcare, Crony Capitalism, Economic Issues, Government Regulations, Healthcare financing, Independent Physicians, Medical Costs, Patient Choice, Policy Issues, Price Tansparency, Uncategorized

Institute for Justice: “North Carolina Surgeon Wins First Round in Fight to Eliminate State-enforced Medical Monopoly”

 

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by Justin Wilson

 

“The court correctly rejected the government’s argument that Dr. Singh needed to apply for a CON before bringing this case,” said IJ Attorney Renée Flaherty, who argued the motion. “No one should have to go through an unconstitutional process in order to challenge it. We look forward to showing that North Carolina’s CON law unconstitutionally favors existing businesses at the expense of Dr. Singh and other medical providers.”

In July 2018, IJ and Dr. Singh, a Winston-Salem surgeon, and his business, Forsyth Imaging Center, sued the Department of Health and Human Services, alleging that North Carolina’s CON law is unconstitutional because it bans medical providers from offering services patients need solely to protect existing providers from competition. In order to receive a CON, providers must persuade state officials that new services are “needed” through a cumbersome process that resembles full-blown litigation and allows existing businesses, like established hospitals, to oppose their applications. Even after a CON is granted, existing providers can appeal the decision. Dr. Singh should not have to go through such a burdensome process just to provide affordable services that patients need.

North Carolina Surgeon Wins First Round in Fight to Eliminate State-enforced Medical Monopoly

Posted in advance-pricing, Free Society, Government Regulations, Liberty, Philosophy, Policy Issues, U.S. Constitution, Uncategorized

Without Free Speech, All Speech Becomes Government Speech – Foundation for Economic Education

There is fundamental confusion on the source of our right to free speech. The right to free speech codified in the 1st Amendment is not a grant of the right of free speech; it is a prohibition against government interfering with an inherent right of Americans:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

https://fee.org/articles/without-free-speech-all-speech-becomes-government-speech/

Posted in Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), CPT billing, Crony Capitalism, Economic Issues, Free-Market, Government Regulations, Health Insurance, Insurance subsidies, Medical Costs, Medicare, Policy Issues, Reforming Medicare, Tax Policy, Uncategorized

Watch “Milton Friedman – Monopoly” on YouTube

The Healthcare industry, or medical-industrial complex, wears the armor of Government-sponsored protectionism; chinked together by pieces of the tax code, The McCarren-Ferguson Act, Certificate of Need laws, Medicare billing regulations, HIPAA, HITECH, and the ACA.

You would be hard pressed to find a more entrenched, impenetrable cartel.

Posted in Economic Issues, Education, Entitlements, Free Society, Free-Market, government incompetence, Government Regulations, Liberty, Philosophy, Policy Issues, Poverty, Rule of Law, Uncategorized, Wealth

Watch “John Stossel – Influence of Milton Friedman” on YouTube

Milton Friedman’s core message was that personal freedom and economic freedom go hand in hand.

Pursuing life, liberty & happiness must be accomplished by individuals, and can’t be granted to us by bureaucrats or gov’t programs.

Milton Friedman understood this and trumpeted this message throughout his life.

Posted in American Presidents, big government, Dependency, Economic Issues, Free Society, government incompetence, Government Regulations, Government Spending, Job loss, Liberty, Organizational structure, outcomes, Policy Issues, Rule of Law, Tax Policy, Uncategorized

Everyone Agrees Government Is a Hot Mess. So Why Does It Keep Getting Bigger Anyway? – Reason.com

Nick Gillespie

Counter-intuitively, the less trusting of government we become, the more likely we are to call for more regulation by that same government. “When individuals distrust others, they prefer government officials to regulate and control, even when they know that these officials themselves cannot be trusted,” observed Philippe Aghion, Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc, and Andrei Shleifer in the aforementioned Quarterly Journal of Economics article.

Their paper drew on the World Values Survey, which has collected data from 50 countries for decades. One example they cite involves relative levels of regulation on starting new businesses. “High-trusting countries such as Nordic and Anglo-Saxon countries impose very few controls on opening a business,” they write, “whereas low-trusting countries, typically Mediterranean, Latin-American, and African countries, impose heavy regulations.” A similar pattern occurs when it comes to setting wages. Residents of low-trust Russia, Slovenia, East Germany, and Bulgaria “exhibit[ed] the strongest support for government control of wages. Approximately 92% of Russians and 82% of East Germans favor wage control. Respondents in Mediterranean countries also strongly favor wage control by the state: 78% of the Spaniards and 60% of the French agree” that the government should control wages. Meanwhile, “in Anglo-Saxon and Nordic countries, less than half the population agree.…Similar patterns obtain for the support of government control of prices.”

But why do people in low-trust countries turn for protection to governments they know are at best incompetent and at worst corrupt? I talked about this dynamic with one of the paper’s co-authors, Andrei Shleifer, who grew up in the old Soviet Union, moved to the United States as a teenager in the mid-1970s, and now teaches economics at Harvard.

When people perceive that their world is out of control and unpredictable, Shleifer says, they want order to be restored—the faster the better. “They want regulation. They want a dictator who will bring back order.” Often, he adds, the rules and restrictions create a negative feedback loop. In response to loss of trust, governments set up new regulations that make it harder to start businesses. Those policies tend to lead to fewer businesses and less employment, which in turn leads to slower economic growth, which leads to calls for more redistribution and yet more regulation.

Weak or nonexistent economic growth is the deep background for the loss of trust throughout society, according to the George Mason University economist Alex Tabarrok. Like Shleifer, Tabarrok is an immigrant, in his case from Canada. Up through the early ’70s, he explains, annual economic growth averaged about 3 percent a year in the United States. Since then, it has become both more volatile and weaker overall. For most of the 21st century, it has averaged around 2 percent. “When everyone is getting wealthier and the economy is humming along and things are improving, it’s easier to trust other people,” Tabarrok says. “If the economic pie is relatively fixed, you distrust other people more because you know the only way someone can get ahead is by screwing you and vice versa.”

Then there’s the populist rhetoric, coming from politicians as different as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, that accuses American leaders of selling out their own citizens while furthering the interests of the European Union, Russia, China, and other foreign powers. The idea that “the system is rigged” is far more widely represented in retail politics than it was a few decades ago. That’s both a cause and an effect of the loss of confidence in government. Shleifer stresses that while things in the aggregate are getting better—for virtually everyone in the United States, the standard of living keeps ticking up—the situation is “more volatile.” You don’t get a job until later in life, he says, and when you do, it seems less secure than the one that your parents or grandparents had.

Shleifer points to the economic expansion that has been underway since 2009. “This economy has bounced back tremendously from the Great Recession and much faster than Japan or Europe,” he says. Yet there’s still a widespread perception among many people that getting and keeping a job are beyond their control. That palpable lack of agency orients people to push for government intervention.

Source: Everyone Agrees Government Is a Hot Mess. So Why Does It Keep Getting Bigger Anyway? – Reason.com

Posted in Access to healthcare, Economic Issues, Government Regulations, Health Insurance, Healthcare financing, Medicaid, Medical Costs, medical inflation, Medicare, out-of-pocket costs, Policy Issues, Uncategorized

The Pernicious Impact of Government Intervention in Healthcare, Captured in a Chart

AdministratorGrowthVS.PhysiciansAs Dan Mitchell mentions in his post, much of the dysfunction we witness in healthcare are simply symptoms of the distortions that arise when we rely on a third-party payer system, with heavy government involvement, and all its perverse incentives which distort decision making for all participants. And so often the proposed “fixes” are aimed at mitigating symptoms caused by the third-party effect, rather than peeling back the layers to get to the root cause. Is it any wonder things aren’t improving despite billions and billions of subsidies, massive intervention, regulations and various forms of scrutiny!

International Liberty

America’s healthcare system is a mess, largely because government intervention (Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and the tax code’s healthcare exclusion) have produced a system where consumers almost never directly pay for their medical services.

This “third-party payer” system basically means market forces are absent. Consumers have very little reason to focus on cost, after all, if taxpayers or insurance companies are picking up the tab for nearly 90 percent of expenses.

As a result, we get ever-higher prices.

But we also get a lot of featherbedding and inefficiency because providers want to take advantage of this system.

Athenahealth offered some sobering analysis on the system last year.

The number of physicians in the United States grew 150 percent between 1975 and 2010, roughly in keeping with population growth, while the number of healthcare administrators increased 3,200 percent for the same time period.

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Posted in American Exceptionalism, big government, Crony Capitalism, Dependency, Economic Issues, Free Society, Free-Market, Government Regulations, Government Spending, Influence peddling, Keynesian Economics, Liberty, Organizational structure, Policy Issues, Progressivism, Tax Policy, Uncategorized, Welfare State

Watch “How Big Should Government Be? Left vs. Right #1” on YouTube