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Apr 20 2020

Lockdown’s Disastrous Effect on Healthcare

We need to end the Wuhan coronavirus lockdown ASAP — if not for the economy or liberty, then for the sake of our health.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Hip and knee replacements are being delayed, but so are mastectomies. Some doctors are pausing chemotherapy treatments for less aggressive cancers due to government recommendations but also to avoid suppressing patient immune systems. Preventive screenings including mammograms, colonoscopies and melanoma checks have been cancelled.

At least “life-sustaining” abortion is still available under Michigan’s Gauleiter Gretchen.

It’s impossible to forecast the human cost from this suspension of care. Aggressive cancers may go undetected. Chronic conditions that have been controlled with regular check-ups and medicines may worsen.

Staying healthy will be all the more difficult after the shutdown has crippled the healthcare system.

Most doctors and hospitals make most of their money on elective procedures for privately insured patients. Now their largest revenue stream has dried up.

According to the models, hospitals are overflowing with COVID-19 cases. The reality is turning out differently.

Oxford Economics forecasts that 1.5 million “non-essential” health-care workers will lose their jobs this month. …

St. Claire HealthCare in Kentucky is furloughing a quarter of its staff, and Appalachian Regional Healthcare is closing clinics and outpatient centers. The hospital trade association in Pennsylvania reports that its hospitals are losing $1.5 billion to $2 billion each month.

Even in New York, the one state where the virus nearly lived up to the hype,

Eastern Niagara Hospital’s CEO Anne McCaffrey explained last week: “For the last few weeks we’ve had [non-essential] employees not working to their full capacity, many of them not working at all, expecting there would be a need elsewhere in the hospital for them. Currently, we’re not experiencing a surge of Covid-19 patients.”

That’s okay. Putting our faith in Big Government will make everything right again. Or maybe not:

Eastern Niagara last year was among two dozen or so hospitals to file for bankruptcy due to miserly Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements. … Congress’s $2.2 trillion relief bill boosts Medicare reimbursements for coronavirus patients by 20% and includes a $100 billion fund for hospitals, but it’s unclear how this money will be allocated.

If I know Big Government, the money will be allocated according to political pull and ideology — i.e., inefficiently.

This breaks the needle on the irony meter:

The avowed purpose of the government shutdowns was to reduce stress on health-care providers.

How is this for stress? The beds lay empty while healthcare workers are laid off and hospitals, like the rest of the economy, stagger toward bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, new research presents the possibility that the draconian Flatten the Curve strategy achieved very little.

Next time the media screams that the sky is falling, it will have to scream even louder for people to listen.

On a tip from Varla.

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