Quantifying the digital divide

Telemedicine and video-conferencing are helping to bridge the gap in access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic. These approaches, however, only work if patients have access to the technology needed to engage in telemedicine or videoconference visits. A paper by Roberts and Mehrota (2020) uses data from the 2018 American Community Survey (ACS) and finds…

Masks work

That is based on an event study approach from a recent Health Affairs article by Lyu and Wehby (2020). Specifically, Mandating face mask use in public is associated with a decline in the daily COVID-19 growth rate by 0.9, 1.1, 1.4, 1.7, and 2.0 percentage points in 1–5, 6–10, 11–15, 16–20, and 21 or more…

LA: Distance learning only

The New York Times reports: California’s two largest public school districts said on Monday that instruction would be online-only in the fall, in the latest sign that school administrators are increasingly unwilling to risk crowding students back into classrooms until the coronavirus is fully under control.The school districts in Los Angeles and San Diego, which…

Those greedy insurance companies?

Health insurance companies are not spending as much money as expected. While COVID-19-related costs are up, the cost savings from people foregoing or delaying elective care has more than offset the COVID costs. Health insurers are refunding much of that savings to their enrollees. However, this is due to a provision of the ACA that…