Closing Thought–27Jan22

Is Medicare paying for the Covid miracle cure?


That miracle of medical technology that has been pushed by idiots on the Right as a treatment for Covid.

Is Medicare on the hook for this pipe dream?

If you’re in the camp that believes ivermectin is a wonderful drug … for ailments other than COVID, a new Mother Jones article is likely to raise your ire. It flags a January study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that looked at just who is paying for the ivermectin doctors have been prescribing COVID patients despite the FDA’s warning that doing so is dangerous. The answer: well, you. A team led by Kao-Ping Chua of the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health looked at a sampling of Medicare Advantage claims (excluding ones involving patients who had a diagnosis code for a parasitic infection prior to filling the ivermectin prescription). They found that Medicare Advantage covered, on average, 74% of the cost of each ivermectin prescription, or $39 a pop.

The team added in what private insurers paid (61% of the cost) and arrived at a total of $2.5 million in insurance coverage per week, with Medicare’s portion of that being about $925,000. The researchers point out the total is an undercount because it doesn’t include Medicaid. “Findings suggest that insurers heavily subsidized the costs of ivermectin prescriptions for COVID-19, even though economic theory holds that insurers should not cover ineffective care,” they write. Mother Jones has this takeaway: “Chua’s findings are especially noteworthy when considering one of the main arguments of ivermectin proponents: The drug is cheap, often just a little more than a dollar a dose. Yet the study vividly illustrates that while individual costs can be low, on a population level, they add up fast.”

Forbes notes the researchers looked at private and Medicare plan spending during the week of Aug. 13, 2021, and “it’s not yet clear how ivermectin prescribing levels may have fluctuated after that week in August.” It adds another caveat, which is that the sample used wasn’t a random or nationally representative sample but a convenience sample, meaning a sample of the people who happened to be in the database used. The sample they ended up with had a higher proportion of people from the Midwest and a lower proportion from the South.

This needs a review.

The taxpayer does not need to be on the ook for bogus science.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


More SCOTUS News

It looks like there will be a opening on the highest court soon…..seems one of the old farts on the court will be retiring…….

Justice Stephen Breyer is reportedly planning to retire from the Supreme Court at the end of its current term—and while no official announcement has been made, White House press secretary Jen Psaki fielded plenty of Breyer-related questions at Wednesday’s briefing. Psaki said that while she couldn’t discuss specifics, President Biden “certainly stands by” his promise to nominate a Black woman to the top court, the Guardian reports. Asked whether that woman could be Vice President Kamala Harris, Psaki said Biden “has every intention” of running for reelection with Harris on the ticket. More:

  • Biden “happy to talk about it later.” When he was asked about Breyer’s retirement at a White House event Wednesday, the president said he would be “happy to talk about it later.” An official announcement is expected Thursday. Sources tell Politico that Breyer told the president last week about his intention to retire.
  • Liberals are relieved. Breyer, 83, is the most senior of the three remaining liberal justices on the court, as well as its oldest member, and liberals are relieved that he apparently plans to step down while there is plenty of time to confirm a successor while Democrats have a Senate majority, the AP reports. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Biden’s nominee “will receive a prompt hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee and will be considered and confirmed by the full United States Senate with all deliberate speed.”

Praise for Breyer. Democrats praised Breyer for his contributions to the court since he was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1994—and for his decision to retire, the New York Times reports. Schumer said Breyer “embodies the best qualities and highest ideals of American justice,” while Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones said he was glad Democrats won’t risk “losing yet another seat on the high court to the radical, anti-democracy right.”

The timeline. Democrats will now have the summer to get a nominee through the confirmation process, allowing her to join the court before the next term starts in October, weeks before the midterm elections, per Politico.

Some see this as good news for the Dems….for some see the Right turn of the court as a problem for the nation.

When former President Donald Trump’s third Supreme Court nominee was confirmed in 2020, cementing the most conservative majority on the court since the 1930s, it wasn’t clear which conservative goals the justices would tackle first. Culture-war issues like abortion, gun rights, affirmative action and religious liberty were obvious possibilities, but issues with a more subtle impact like reining in the power of the executive branch and limiting unions had long been on conservative legal advocates’ wish list, too. So the question wasn’t whether the court would move to the right — it was more a question of where they’d start.

The term isn’t over yet, but it’s already looking like this year could be a bonanza for conservatives — and not just because of the high-profile cases that have snapped up most of the attention. I’ve written about how the justices could limit or overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that established a constitutional right to abortion, and expand gun rights for the first time in over a decade. But there are several other, less flashy cases that could also have sweeping effects on Americans’ lives.

I wish I was more optimistic….but so far the Right turn has been years in the making and I do not see much difference no matter who Biden nominates.

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”