Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for July, 2006

Is Price Inflation Different for the Elderly?

One Social Security reform often suggested is to change the indexation of benefits from a wage inflation measure to a price inflation measure, such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  Critics argue that the price of healthcare has increased more than overall CPI and since the elderly spend a higher percentage of their income on […]

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The technology of birth: Is it worth it?

Life expectancy for low-birthweight babies has increased dramatically in the later half of the 20th century, mostly due to improved medical technology.  Prolific use of complex medical equipment and techniques–such as phototherapy, intravenous hyperalimentation, CT scans, etc.–during premature births has increased the average lifetime spending on low-birthdweight babies $39,000 between 1950 and 1990.  Is this […]

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Medicare’s (true) Administrative Costs

A common justification for Medicare is that the public health insurance system has an overhead cost which is about 2% of claims, while the private sector has administrative costs between 20%-25% of claims.  This tells us that Medicare is the best system for America…right? Merrill Mathew’s of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAFI) summarizes […]

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Nearest doc: 200 miles

A very interesting book I recently came across is Arctic Village by Robert Marshall.  The book recounts the author’s two year stay in Wiseman, Alaska during the 1930s.  Wiseman is a town (if you could call it that) located above the arctic circle and is made up of less than 200 people.  The book details […]

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1.5 million harmed annually by preventable drug errors

MedPage Today reports that the National Academy’s Institute of Medicine (IOM) claims that preventable drug errors are widespread in the U.S.  It is estimated that 1.5 million American are harmed each year from preventable drug errors; the treatment of these cases adds $3.5 billion of yearly cost.  How can we fix this problem?  The authors […]

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Big day of healthcare news

Today was a big day for news in the healthcare industry.  First, a private equity group agreed to buy HCA (Hospital Corporation of America) in a leveraged buyout deal valued at $21 billion (plus the assumption of $11.7 billion of debt).  The Chicago Tribune (“HCA agrees…“) looked to Darren Lehrich of Deutche Bank for analysis: This gives […]

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Solving the Dividend Puzzle

For most individuals, dividend taxation is higher than capital gains taxation.  In theory, one would believe that corporations would thus elect to hold all their profits as retained earnings (or repurchase outstanding shares) in order to increase the price of the stock as opposed to paying out the profits as dividends, since the tax treatment […]

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Cavalcade of Risk #4 posted

The Cavalcade of Risk #4 is posted.  From the C or R website: The purpose of the C of R is to offer insights into the world of risk management; generally, this will be insurance-related, but that’s not a requirement. Our goal is to help folks understand what risk is, and how to manage it. […]

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Contingent Valuation Method

How much would you be willing to pay for a cancer treatment with a 2% chance of working?  How much would you be willing to spend for a new vaccine that was as effective as a prior vaccine, but was now available in chewable tablets?  One way to answer questions regarding new products or goods […]

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The Cost Effectiveness of Nurse Practitioners

Many studies have claimed that Nurse Practitioners (NPs)–as well as Physician Assistants (PAs)–are adequate substitutes for primary care physicians.  Researchers claim that NPs can perform a great majority of the tasks currently carried out by primary care physicians, and should be used more frequently since NP and PA salaries are usually half of primary care […]

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