The “Stimulus” Package’s Depressing Health Care Provisions

I’ve got a commentary over at NPR about how the health care provisions in the “stimulus” package are bad investments.  Here’s a taste:

We desperately need research on the effectiveness of medical treatments, and the law includes $1 billion for that. Yet experience suggests the benefits of taxpayer-funded research may be zero…

[T]he law’s $33 billion for electronic medical records also fails the cost-benefit test. The CBO estimates it would be cheaper just to do the second MRI…

The law includes $115 billion in health insurance subsidies. Economists have no clue whether that passes the cost-benefit test either…

The law will finance expanded COBRA benefits with a $65 billion hidden tax on other workers’ health insurance premiums. That hidden tax will actually reduce wages and job creation…

The good folks at NPR encourage you to post comments.

(FYI, Cato will host a forum on comparative-effectiveness research on Tuesday, March 3.)