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The Conversation

Local health economist breaks down the financial benefits of COVID tests for laboratories

A person swabs their nose as they receive testing for both rapid antigen and PCR COVID-19 tests at a Reliant Health Services testing site in Hawthorne, Calif., on Jan. 18, 2022.
Patrick T. Fallon
/
AFP via Getty Images
A person swabs their nose as they receive testing for both rapid antigen and PCR COVID-19 tests at a Reliant Health Services testing site in Hawthorne, Calif., on Jan. 18, 2022.

Free COVID-19 PCR tests are turning out to be a windfall for laboratories, says University of Hawaiʻi health economist Timothy Halliday. Looking at data from the state Department of Taxation, he found that while the actual cost of the test may be between $20 and $30, labs were getting reimbursed at a higher rate. All perfectly legal, Halliday says. But some wonder why the cost can't be curbed.

This interview aired on The Conversation on June 14, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

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