An end to the COVID-19 public health emergency would seem like good news for states. But state officials are dreading the end of that official designation because it will mean more work and less money for their Medicaid health coverage programs.
States have benefited from increased federal funding from the first COVID-19 relief law this year, and individuals who enrolled cannot be booted from coverage mid-pandemic. But both of these safeguards will not be in place after the public health emergency, or PHE, ends.
And consider also this revealing remark by someone described as “a former federal health policy official”:
“Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. When the public health emergency ends, states will have to resume acting on renewals and changes.”
Fast forward to the present, and when we look out over the political playing field the most prominent and most successful players are those who are playing in the “Socialist League” not the “Liberty League”. In my opinion, the four strongest teams playing in the “Socialist League” are the Green Socialists, the Keynesian Socialists, the Cultural Marxists, and a new team called the “Hygiene Socialists”. The “Liberty League” seems to have suspended their competition for the time being for lack of teams or because many of their players have retired injured or defected to the “Socialist League”.
The report [by NPR] then discusses ICU bed shortages and the like. Some context would again be useful. To keep costs down, hospitals try to limit ICU beds to expected demand. *Any* surge in patients, even a small one, will therefore test the system. Just having an unusual number of bad traffic accidents one weekend can lead to a local shortage of ICU beds, as can a flu outbreak. No one likes to talk about this, but rationing of ICU beds is done regularly whenever there’s a surge, and a 90 year old with a poor prognosis may be taken out and left to expire if a 30 year old with a better prognosis shows up. This sort of context would be useful… it’s not that Covid is taking up so, so many beds that it’s overwhelming an otherwise robust system, it’s that the entire system is set up such that any surge in need is going to try the system.
Speaking of the media, my colleague Bryan Caplan explains when – and when he doesn’t – take them seriously. A slice (original emphases):
Whenever the media cover a story, there’s a subtext. And the subtext is: This is important! The also goes when the media ignores a story. The subtext is: This is not important! Even if I knew nothing about the world, I would wonder, “What qualifies these people to adjudicate events’ importance?” And since I do know a great deal about the world, I am convinced that the media’s sense of importance is radically defective. These are the kind of people who would rather cover an insensitive tweet than Uighur concentration camps. They would rather report a fatality-free nuclear accident than the vastly greater health damage of coal. They would rather investigate the latest terrorist attack than discuss the global murder rate. These are not isolated shortcomings. The media’s main function is to distort viewers’ priorities.
Why were they so anxious to shut down schools and concerts attended by healthy young people — or just healthy people in general — while disregarding a vastly greater and more obvious risk? Instead of demanding stricter rules for everyone, governors should look to improve safety in nursing homes.
Steve Landsburg urges the use of the price system to allocate vaccines. A slice (original emphasis):
It is tragic that so much of pandemic-management policy has been made in defiance of basic science. It is equally tragic that so much policy is about to be made in defiance of basic economics. Because if there’s one thing that economics teaches us, it’s that you cannot distribute a scarce resource efficiently unless you use the price system. No bureaucrat at the CDC has enough information to distinguish Edna from Irma, or Tina from Gina. Therefore they won’t even try.
They are essential workers who have continued to labor hard to provide our health care and our groceries, even when their children were stranded at home in spite of overwhelming evidence that schools are not a locus of COVID-19 infection.
They are the countless children who have been dramatically falling behind in school. They are the children whose math skills are plummeting. They are the kids with disabilities and the English-language learners whose academic performances are collapsing. They are the kids who’ve dropped out of school entirely. They are the kindergarteners who sit in front of a screen for hours and have not experienced the joy of playing with other kids during recess, ever.
They are the college students who are locked in their dorms and “learning” online with little contact with peers or professors. They are all the other college kids who simply drop out of school to take care of their families.
They are all the children whose anxiety levels have dramatically soared. They have lost hope; they are depressed. Many are thinking of suicide. Some even commit it.