Category: BUHealth

BUHealth: COVID-19 risks when fully vaccinated and singing outdoors

This blog started as a response to a colleague who was calculating using local community vaccination and positive infection rates, using a 90% effectiveness rate for vaccines, and asking about the risks of singing without a mask outside. He calculated the risk of infection to singers as perhaps 0.15% to 0.31%. Is that reasonable? Risk […]

BUHealth: Wonderful news about vaccines and alternative strains

This JAMA research letter came out on March 19, 2021, but it is trending #1 on JAMA, and seems worth highlighting since it gives such hopeful news. The study compared measures capturing rates of antibodies in three sets of patients: 20 people actively infected with COVID-19, 20 people who had recovered from COVID-19 for 32-94 […]

Re: BUHealth: I am vaccinated!

Two serious ones, now one on humor. This Frozen musical take-off on getting a vaccine is well done if you like over-the- top musical singers. You may not enjoy this one if you are not likely to get a vaccine soon. 9/10   https://youtu.be/U74wUO54Sdg  5:49 minutes   This medley by the same singer from last […]

BUHealth: Consider donating blood

If you are curious about whether you have already had COVID-19 and would like to find out whether you already have antibodies, it is worth knowing that if you give blood, then the American Red Cross automatically tests donor blood and will tell you if you have COVID-19 antibodies. 20% of American donating blood test […]

BUHealth humor: final entries in the masked dog photo caption contest

Final entries in the masked dog photo caption contest “Waiting for the dog vaccine rollout.” “Wearing a mask is so easy even my dog can do it!” “Sadie says: Even I wear a mask when not eating!” “I hate it when I can’t lick and my hair gets all frizzy!” “How do you like my […]

BUHealth: Being less racist makes some of us less comfortable

The New York Times had a very interesting article on March 5 which documented differences in rates of vaccination by race across the 50 US states. Whereas some states (Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin and Connecticut (?!?) have vaccination rates for blacks that are less than half of the state average, in Massachusetts the rate for blacks […]

BUHealth: I am vaccinated!

A wise friend who read my previous BUHealth post comparing different vaccines warned me that it could be interpreted as saying “Wait to get a vaccine until you get the one you like the most.” I do not recommend that. I care too much about my friends. Instead, you should get a vaccine the first […]

Yes, even rich white people in the US get bad health care

Despite the abundant evidence2 showing that health care outcomes in the US are much worse than in every other OECD country, I still hear arguments that this is because uninsured, Medicaid, minorities, or low-income people in the US bring down our health outcomes. This myth is repeated3–5, and believed by a majority of Americans. 6 […]

BUHealth: UK/South African COVID strains are at BU; BU testing looks great; BU plans in-person commencement!

I greatly enjoyed reading about how BU is using its extensive research laboratory resources to test for the presence of the UK and South African variants at BU. This report includes the 70 cases of COVID-19 detected in members of the BU faculty, staff and students during the week of Feb 17-23. Below are a […]

JAMA Network articles on P4P, Policy Equipoise and Nocebo effects

In these days when pay-for-performance and value-based payment reform have become the centerpiece of US Medicare payment reform, this short and accessible article in JAMA Health Forum (5 minutes) argues that we implement and evaluate reforms using “policy equipoise” rather than the usual foundational belief – that too many economists adhere to – that these […]

Randy’s favorite articles on COVID-19

July 20. 2020 Important update on superspreading events. This article from the Washington Post provides a useful update about how superspreading events account for the vast majority of infection and are driving the pandemic. 3-5 minute read. Washington Post Ariana Eunjung Cha July 18, 2020 at 1:58 p.m. EDT ‘Superspreading’ events, triggered by people who […]

NY Times column: Men Call Their Own Research ‘Excellent’

This NY Times column 12/18/2019 summarizes a British Medical Journal article about bias in medical abstracts, but the same could be done for economics journals, I am sure. Worth the five minutes to read. Bottom line: Women should brag more, and editors and reviewers should get men to tone it down. Men Call Their Own […]

Recognizing Mentoring

A colleague W. David Bradford wrote the following article about me for the “Great Mentors” series they are running in the ASHEcon Newsletter, which is published by the American Society of Health Economists. Flattering, and very satisfying. Perhaps it will inspire more people to become great mentors. Great Mentors: Randy Ellis The full newsletter is […]

Interesting article and book

I just saw the abstract below to a review article by someone I know and regard highly (Rachel Kranton) in the March 2019 Journal of Economic Literature. I took a look at the full article(14 pages) and then bought the book on line. Then I finished reading the article (15 minutes with pondering). The Moral […]

Medicaid recipients are already working, fraud in SNAP is 1%, and Medicare would be cut

It is nice while on sabbatical to avoid the fray of politics, but our president’s recent attack on Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps) and Medicare makes me want to share the following three sets of links. The bottom line of the Medicaid video (4:52) summary of two studies is that “able bodied” eligibles represent only about […]

Holiday cheers, congrats to BU, and a psychedelic BU alumni site from 1970-1997!

Today, the first day of Hanukah and two weeks before Christmas and Kwanza, I am writing to wish my colleagues and my BUHealth blog readers a peaceful and happy holiday, whatever your faith background. I am loving my sabbatical at Boston College this fall and looking forward to our stay in Barcelona starting in mid-January. […]

US health spending and global burden of disease

I want to thank Veronica Vargas for sending me the following link from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) , which features innovative ways of displaying different cuts of US and international data from a massive data files. Viewing this site will perhaps take you fifteen minutes or more to get a feel. […]

The quintessential challenge of our time

“…the quintessential challenge of our time: the ascendance of belief over fact, outrage over thoughtful debate, and the accessibility of an endless supply of “information” that confirms our preexisting beliefs, whatever they may be. In a sociopolitical climate in which disgust often substitutes for disagreement, many people recognize the futility of using evidence to establish […]

ACA premiums are reasonable, grew modestly in 2016, and risk scores are stable.

Here are the results from CMS reports from June 30, 2017 and 2016: 2016 National average premium in the ACA Marketplace: $414.54 (CMS, 2017, page 9.) This is less than the (employee plus employer) premiums offered where I work. This number includes the cost of the subsidies that are not paid by the enrollee. 2015 […]

ACA versus GOP plans side-by-side

This article from the LA Times by columnist Noam Levey links an update on earlier postings online that does a side-by-side comparison of ACA versus the GOP’s replacement AHCA plan. That posting provides the best concise overview I have seen of the latest GOP AHCA proposal. It will take 10 minutes to review/read. Randy Here […]