Yes, externalities are real – we’re all paying for Ivermectin

Some libertarians oppose vaccine mandates by claiming that unvaccinated people only impose costs on themselves. However, as I noted in an earlier post, we’re all paying for the vaccine hesitancy stirred up on the right.

From JAMA (footnotes omitted):

Findings suggest that insurers heavily subsidized the costs of ivermectin prescriptions for COVID-19, even though economic theory holds that insurers should not cover ineffective care. Wasteful insurer spending on these prescriptions, estimated at $2.5 million in the week of August 13, 2021, would extrapolate to $129.7 million annually. For perspective, this total exceeds estimated annual Medicare spending on unnecessary imaging for low back pain, a low-value service that has received extensive attention. The true amount of waste is even higher because estimates did not include Medicaid spending. Moreover, by reducing barriers to a drug that some individuals use as a substitute for COVID-19 vaccination or other evidence-based care, insurance coverage could increase spending for COVID-19 complications.