Pennsylvania works the system

Michael Cannon reports (“Pennsylvania Proposes to Defraud Non-Pennsylvanians“) that Pennsylvania is manipulating the Medicaid system.  Pennsylvania is increasing Medicaid payments to hospitals (thus increasing the amount of federal matching funds) with one hand, but with the other is creating a tax on “profits of general hospitals in two counties, Allegheny [Pittsburgh] and Philadelphia.” Thus, the…

Darkness at Noon

Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler is a unique novel which describes the imprisonment of Communist revolutionary Nicholas Rubashov. Rubashov was a loyal supporter of the Communist cause in Russia, but his subsequent imprisonment on bogus charges causes him to reflect on whether his fight to bring Communism to Russia was truly beneficial to Russian…

GoodReads

Are you a bibiophile? Are you always on the lookout for a good book recommendation? If this is the case you should try GoodReads. The website is a social networking site like Facebook or MySpace. Instead of using a social network to keep up with friends or the latest gossip, GoodReads allows users to list…

Minimum Insurance Benefit

Many reform advocates have claimed that the federal government should mandate a package of insurance benefits that all private and public health insurers would be legally compelled to provide. Switzerland is one country in which the government defines a what the insurance benefit will be for all standard health insurers. The National Coalition on Health…

March Madness Calvalcade of Risk

The very cleverly formatted March Madness edition of the Cavalcade of Risk has been posted at Regulating Health Insurance. This website received both a #2 and a #6 seed. Henry Stern of Insure Blog deservingly received a #1 seed for his insightful piece on Alzheimer’s disease. Would you get a genetic test for a predisposition…

Overtested and Overtreated

The N.Y. Times (“…No Rhyme or Reason“) has an interesting essay about how doctors financial incentives pressure them to run too many tests on patients and refer them to too many specialists. Doctors are usually reimbursed for whatever they bill. As reimbursement rates have declined in recent years, most doctors have adapted by increasing the…

Facebook finds Blood Donors

TechCrunch reports on a Facebook application that alerts potential donors to donate blood in times of shortage.  Take all Types (TAT) is the name of the innovative non-profit which invented this application.  The TAT website wisely states: “There are always shortages of blood throughout the nation, even though there are plenty of potential donors out…

Who values the Social Security Annuity?

If you were offered an actuarially fair lump-sum payment, would you give up half of your Social Security benefits? This is the question asked by Brown, Casey and Mitchell in their 2008 NBER working paper. Overall, about 60% of respondents from the HRS data set preferred the lump-sum payment. The authors find the following individuals…

Marital Status and Body Weight Changes

Why do people want to lose weight? While this seems like an obvious question, it does merit answering. There are two major reasons: health concerns and appearance. Being obese increases the risk of suffering from many diseases (e.g.: diabetes). On the appearance side, individuals may experience social pressure to lose (or possibly gain) weight. Further,…