Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for May, 2006

IRS Subpoenas UnitedHealth on Stock Options

In February, this year, I wrote of the seemingly outlandish compensation William W. McGuire, the CEO of UnitedHealth Group, received in 2005. Of his $124.8 million of compensation, $114.6 million was in the form of stock options. It now seems that this compensation might not have been entirely kosher. Yesterday, the New York Times (“US […]

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Physician Affirmative Action in India

In India, low-caste and minority individuals often have difficultly ascending the social ladder.  Discrimination against the low-caste individuals has been extensively documented.  In order aid these disadvantaged groups, the Indian government has increased the quota for low-caste and minority physicians at state-run hospitals.  The International Herald Tribune (“Doctor’s Strike…“) reports that “22.5 percent of jobs […]

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Hospital Trends

The structure of hospital care has been changing rapidly over the past few decades. The first item to note is that the number of nonprofit hospitals is decreasing. For-profit hospitals are making up a larger percentage of all hospitals than in 1980. Below, table 1 shows the number of hospitals in the United States. I […]

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On moral hazard and insurance

One of the major reasons why President Bush’s plan for Health Savings Accounts (HSA) required that participants use high-deductible health plans (HDHP) was to lessen the incidence of moral hazard. When an individual is insured against medical expenses, they are not liable for the full cost of medical services and thus are more prone to […]

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Attention Shoppers

Can consumer-driven health care (CDHC) really work?  According to the New York Times, many entrepreneurs believe it can. In “Attention Shoppers,” the newspaper details how Wal-Mart, CVS and other chain stores are opening walk-in health clinics. The clinics are staffed by Nurse Practitioners and operated independently of the chain store. The benefits of the walk-in […]

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Mummy State

The Independent of the UK reports (“Childbirth revolution“) that the British government is “planning a ‘strategic shift’ in childbirth policy away from hospital delivery and towards births in the home.” Instead of having doctors supervise the birth, midwives will deliver the child. On one hand, I commend the British government for this policy change. The […]

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Happy Mother’s Day

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers of the world.  In particular, I would like to thank Bonnie Shafrin and Lillian Paley for all the love they have given me over the years.

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Better Health Care

When economists talk of improved healthcare, they are generally speaking of technological improvement or increased efficiency in the production of medical care.  When most people talk about better healthcare, “better healthcare” means more medical services for free.  The Angry Economist rants regarding the ‘something-for-nothing’ attitude of the general public. The very existance of that phrase […]

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RVU costing

RVU costing sets physicians’ fees by employing various accounting procedures to determine the relative worth of each service they provide. An article by Mark Berlin in Healthcare Financial Management (1997) details how the RVU costing system works. First let us examine the four types of cost accounting group practices traditionally use. Job Order Costing. This […]

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Crony Capitalism

Recently, we have seen a shift towards the left in Latin America. Socialistic presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia (who just nationalized Bolivia’s national gas industry) and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela both enjoy much popular support. Brazilian president Lula Da Silva has a background as a union leader and Nestor Kirchner of Argentina also rose to […]

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