Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for August, 2006

PPS and Competition

Prospective Payment Systems (PPS) and competition go hand in hand.  Without competition, a PPS gives hospitals and physicians the incentive to minimize health care outlays.  A competitive fee-for-service (FFS) system-to which most Americans were accustomed to in the 1980s-can lead to severe cost increases due to the problem of moral hazard.  Combining PPS and competition […]

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Amy Finkelstein in BusinessWeek

Amy Finkelstein is one of my favorite healthcare economists and recently BusinessWeek ran an article (“So that’s why it’s so expensive“) profiling her and her work.  I have profiled Ms. Finkelstein before in my June 15th post describing her 2005 paper with McGarry.  She also has a new NBER working paper (“The aggregate effects of health […]

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Would you prefer a 17-day or 1-day wait to see a physician?

You may be used to calling your doctor and being told by the staff that you must wait weeks to see your family practice physician.  Now imagine calling your doctor and hearing, “I can see you this afternoon…or tomorrow if you like…which one is best for you Mr. Shafrin?”  How can a practice be able to do […]

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Bikini Blues

While advances by physicians and new medical technologies often make for front page news, public health interventions have likely been the major cause of the significant health improvements throughout history.  For instance, creating a system of waste disposal and maintaining clean water has greatly increased the expected longevity of urban residents.  The 14th century Black […]

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Avian Flu: What should be done

Economist Tyler Cowen of George Mason University has an interesting paper (“Avian Flu: What should be done“) on the optimal policy to combat avian flu.  Below, I cite a few of the more interesting points from his executive summary: Prepare social norms and emergency procedures which would limit or delay the spread of a pandemic. Regular hand […]

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Physician-Patient email communication: a review

We are now in the information age. Let’s take a look at the following numbers: Internet World Stats reports that approximately 70% of Americans now have access to the Internet. (This puts it 7th in the world in terms of Internet penetration). Over 85% of physicians have access to high speed internet in their offices. […]

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The Effects of HMO on the Survival of Hospital Services

In the mid to late 1990s, there was a large backlash against HMOs due to the perception that the “HMO cares more about saving money than it does about them.” People feared that HMO would drop coverage of services which they valued. In this month’s NBER working paper edition, Yu-Chu Shen (2006) looks answer two […]

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