Hits & Misses – 2009/2/16

Comments (4)

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  1. Vicki says:

    Too bad about the vitamin result. Think how much money people have spent on those pills (me included). Was it all for naught?

  2. Joe S. says:

    The COBRA result is important and very, very bad. The stimulus package is suppose to stimulate hiring and output. But by subsidizing COBRA premiums (and thereby increasing costs to employers), the bill will make it harder for employers to provide health insurance and more expensive to hire more employees.

  3. Linda Gorman says:

    Don’t worry about the vitamin result. They basically asked 161,808 women recruited for a study if they took multivitimans or other supplements. About half did. An average of 8 years later they compared the cancers and total mortality betweeen the two groups.

    Women were at least 50 when they were asked. Earlier in life? Who knows? There were various washout procedures that might have affected the sample. The quoted paper does not mention any statistical controls for generally healthier lifestyle or higher SES.

    When the WHI results suggested that low fat diets had no effect on morbidity or mortality the usual groups gathered round to say that it might have been “too late” for changes in diet to reduce the risks.

    Still waiting for this kind of defense on vitamins. Of course the evidence-based medicine people don’t like drugs in general. Vitamins are drugs. They prefer puritanical controls over what you eat. So the low far diet results will be questioned while the vitamin and hormone replacement results are accepted as holy writ.

    The hormone replacement results, by the way, have been subjected to pretty withering criticism.

  4. Bart says:

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is the likely effect of Waxman’s COBRA amendment on age discrimination. This will be strong disincentive to hire anyone who appears to be in roughly the 53-to-63 age range. And this on top of existing benefit-related disincentives.

    Another thing I never see mentioned is that many laid-off workers are not even eligible for COBRA. If your employer goes out of business or stops offering a group plan, or if it had fewer than 20 employees to begin with, there is no COBRA coverage. And of course it does nothing for low-end workers who never had employer-provided benefits to begin with.

    Finally, the 65-percent figure is excessive. It goes well beyond the effective rate for employer-sponsored insurance, even for high-bracket employees. Why extend this largess to those who are relatively better off (having least an option to purchase group coverage)?