Category: Health

Randomized control trial using masks.

Economists and perhaps others will benefit from seeing the results of this large-scale randomized controlled trial on wearing masks, in Bangledesh, which studied N=342,126 adults with three study arms: cluster randomized Villages and households with no intervention, with free cloth masks, and with free surgical masks. Participants also received information and local  reminders.   Here […]

Hourly weather forecasts for US

I rely upon my cell phone for hourly forecasts of rain and weather, but have not known how to get hourly forecasts more than 24 hours into the future. Yesterday a friend sent me the following National Weather Service link that forecasts hourly weather up to six days ahead.  Of course, it loses precision, but […]

The unsurprising tragedies of the Afghanistan war

As we ponder the tragedies of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, it is important to also remember the costs of our continuing. An excerpt from the Boston Globe is pasted in below. The bottom line is that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will have cost the US at least $4 trillion dollars (excluding interest […]

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 […]

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: Vaccine effectiveness strong against variants and allergic reactions are trivial.

These two accessible, free JAMA Network articles have excellent answers to some common questions. Below are a few selected quotes with key parts in RED. My notes are in italics, red italics if important. 2 minutes if you just read the red. Figuring Out Whether COVID-19 Vaccines Protect Against Variants “How well do the COVID-19 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Winter reading 2020

I started listening to Audiobooks while commuting, which lets me get in at least 45 minutes of audio listening a day during my round trip commute, which is wonderful. My most recent favorites are Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know. Malcolm Gladwell. 2019. Just as I have loved […]

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 […]

End of summer reading list

Happy end of summer! Even though the summer is winding down, it is not too late to sneak in a book or two or even keep reading them in coming weeks! Below are a few of the ones I have most enjoyed reading this summer. I recommend them all to you. I have been relatively […]

Am I finally Famous? Interview in La VANGUARDIA March 10 2018

I was interviewed and photographed for Barcelona’s major newspaper, LA VANGUARDIA, and the results appeared on Saturday, March 10 on the La Contra page, which is the most widely read part of that paper since it is on the last page and tries to be controversial. Because it is published in Catalan (a language spoken […]

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 […]

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 […]

Economist article about end of life planning

One of my students today just sent me this link to an article in this week’s Economist about end-of-life planning. How to have a better death http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21721371-death-inevitable-bad-death-not-how-have-better-death It led me to also view its link about conversations about serious illness by one of my favorite authors. “Serious Illness Conversation Guide” drawn up by Atul Gawande […]