Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for February, 2006

British Columbia mulls over expansion of private health insurance

While most Americans envy the Canadian single payer system, Canadians may be looking south for inspiration to reform their health care system.  Today’s Vancouver Sun reports that: British Columbia’s Liberal government is launching a sweeping review of medicare, promising to let citizens decide if they want a health care system that might feature even more […]

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United Health CEO earned $124.8 million in 2005

Forbes magazine reports that William W. McGuire, CEO of UnitedHealth Group) received compensation of $124.8 million in 2005.  Managed Care Magazine also says that the average executive compensation (excluding unexercised stock options) for an executive of a ‘top 10 for profit health plan’ was $11.7 million and that was back in 2000.   Are these high […]

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Did Serrano Cause Prop 13?

Passed in 1978, Proposition 13 was a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to limit property taxes to a 1% of a homes value. The amendment also capped the annual growth rate in property value assessment at 2% per year until the house is resold.   William Fischel (1989) argues in “Did Serrano Cause […]

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Estimating the elasticity of health insurance offering for firms

One key parameter of interest to policymakers is the firms elasticity of offering health insurance with respect to price. This is an important question because the current tax exemption of employee compensation in the form health insurance in essence changes the price of health insurance. A large—in absolute value—elasticity would imply that the tax subsidy […]

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Difference in Difference Estimation

Difference in Difference (DD) is a commonly used empirical estimation technique in economics. Let us take a hypothetical example where a state (Wisconsin) passes a bill which makes employer-provided health insurance tax deductible. Let us also assume that in the year after the bill passed (year 2) the percentage of firms offering health insurance increased […]

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Towards a more efficient housing market

When you want to buy a used car, what is the first thing you do?  For many, the first step is to look in Kelley Blue Book to see how much one should pay for the desired used car.  Now there is a ‘Blue Book’ for real estate: Zillow.com.  The San Diego Union Tribune reports […]

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Do small firms offer more generous health benefits?

Large firms offer more generous health insurance to employees…right???? While it is true that large firms are much more likely to offer insurance to their employees, small firms are actually more likely to offer insurance in which they pay for 100% of the costs. A December 2005 paper by Zawacki and Taylor (“Contributions to health […]

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Profile of Medicaid participants

As of 2002, approximately 41 million people were on Medicaid. That is approximately 14% of the population of the United States. Who are the people on Medicaid? We can generally divide the people who receive Medicaid into four categories: 1) poor adults, 2) elderly who can not afford Medicare co-payments or deductibles 3) children and […]

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My former employer to give physicians incentives to use IT.

General Electric (my employer between 2002-2004) unveiled an interesting program named ‘Bridges to Excellence.’  This program will compensate participating physicians up to $50 per patient in exchanged for instituting IT systemts for patient records, electronic prescription writing, etc.  GE estimtates that the $50/patient figure will be about half of the projected savings from the project.  […]

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Can varying co-payment rates by risk reduce cost and improve health outcomes?

A RAND study published in the American Journal of Managed Care (“Varying Pharmacy Benefits With Clinical Status: The Case of Cholesterol-lowering Therapy“) claims that managed care administrators may be able to vary pharmaceutical co-payment amounts by risk group in order to reduce cost and improve health outcomes.  Thus study looks at Cholesterol-Lowering pharmaceuticals.  Co-payments are […]

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