Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for October, 2007

GM-UAW deal

An explanation for the recent General Motors-United Auto Workers deal is pretty simple: it is a transfer of risk.  GM will set up a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) which will be controlled by the union.  According to the Detroit Free Press (” UAW ratifies”) GM will place about $30 billion dollars in the account […]

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Can poverty improve health?

A recent paper by Franco et al. (2007) claims that increased poverty may improve health (see also NPR’s Marketplace report). How is this possible? Lower income reduces excess food as well as cigarette consumption.  Further, poverty makes public transportation less affordable and individuals may substitute walking for taking the bus.  The authors study Cuba’s experience […]

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Implicit Tax: Medicare as a Secondary Payer

“Medicare adopted its [Medicare as a Secondary Payer] MSP policy in 1982, effective January 1, 1983. This legislation states that for individuals working at firms with 20 or more employees, and otherwise eligible for Medicare benefits, Medicare serves as a secondary payer for health care expenses. The employer’s health insurance is the first payer. Because […]

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Quotation of the day

“It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we do know that just ain’t so.” — Artemus Ward

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The latest edition of the Cavalcade of Risk is up

The latest edition of the Cavalcade of Risk is up at Robert Laszewski’s Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review.

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Analyzing Background Risk with Morgan Dollars

Their have been much economic research to determine how individuals evaluate risk. Most of this work takes place in a laboratory setting using hypothetical monetary payoffs. Further, the issue of “background risk” is often ignored. For instance, “…mortality risks from alternative occupations tend to be highly correlated with morbidity risks. It is implausible to ask […]

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2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded

The work of three researchers who developed the procedure of gene targeting have won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine.  The winners are: Mario R. Capecchi (USA, born Italy). Has used gene targeting to uncover the role of genes involved in organ development, and the overall plan of the body. Martin J. Evans (UK). Used […]

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Climbing Mt. Everest or The road to completing a PhD

The N.Y. Times has an interested article titled “Exploring Ways to Shorten the Ascent to a Ph.D.” The piece speaks of the difficulty of completing a Ph.D. and wonders whether a PhD should be considered more of a training exercise or a mandate for revolutionary research. An excerpt: For those who attempt it, the doctoral […]

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More Physician Assistants prefer working in specialty fields over the primary care setting

What has happened to physician assistant (PA) education in recent years? An article by P. Eugene Jones (Academic Medicine 2007) enlightens readers with the latest information. The states with the most PA programs are: New York (19), Pennsylvania (15) California (10), Texas (8) and Florida (6). Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Mississippi, Vermont and Wyoming all have […]

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Microsoft’s Online Health Records

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the introduction of the online medical records system titled Health Vault. Online medical records would greatly increase productivity in the health care industry since: Patients would be able to have all their health care information in one spot. Moving from one state or country to another would not entail losing your medical […]

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