2021 Medicare Trustees Report

The 2021 Medicare Trustees Report–formerly known as the “Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund“–had some grim news. Expenditures ($925.8 billion) exceeded revenues ($899.9 billion) in 2020. More worrying, the estimated depletion date for the Medicare (i.e., Hospital Insurance) trust…

How much is your life worth?

In a previous post, I answered this question from the perspective of government agencies: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the answer is $10 million.  Other agencies place use a somewhat lower number.  The Food and Drug administration pegs the value at $9.5 million and the Department of Agriculture places the value at $8.9 million. However,…

COVID-19 vaccination update

This weekend I received my second COVID-19 vaccine. While I certainly feel lucky to live in a country with ample vaccine supply, other countries are not so lucky. Let’s take a look at the numbers from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. These numbers are updated through May 2, 2021. First, you’ll see that…

Excess deaths due to COVID-19

Using data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and US Census Bureau, Woolf et al. (2021) find: Between March 1, 2020, and January 2, 2021, the US experienced 2 801 439 deaths, 22.9% more than expected, representing 522 368 excess deaths…The excess death rate was higher among non-Hispanic Black (208.4 deaths per 100 000) than non-Hispanic White…

COVID-19 and racial disparities

On the eve of Martin Luther King Day, let us take a quick look at the impact of COVID-19 by race/ethnicity. CDC reports rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. One can see that cases are higher for most minorities (except Asians) relative to Non-Hispanic Whites, but hospitalizations and deaths are much higher for all…