Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for May, 2008

Explaining the Mortgage Meltdown

NPR’s This American Life has a great episode (“The Giant Pool of Money“) explaining in a non-technical, entertaining manner how the “credit crunch” came upon us. The episode looks at all the parts of the mortgage-backed securities chain: home owners and borrowers, brokers, banks, rating agencies, Wall Street, and foreign and domestic investors. A special […]

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Health Insurance, Physician Compensation and the Quantity of Medical Care

Many studies have attempted to determine how the manner in which physicians are compensated by health insurance companies affects the quantity of medical care provided. Today I will summarize some seminal studies in this field. Epstein, Begg and McNeil (NEJM 1986) In this study, the authors examine whether or not there is a difference in […]

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Custom-made versus ready-to-wear treatment

Many patients have an idealized view that physicians customize their treatments for each individual patient.  For instance, do physicians tailor prescription dosage based on individual characteristics and responses over time, or will they simple prescribe the standard dosage? A paper by Frank and Zeckhuaser (JHE 2007) find that norm-following behavior (rather than patient-by-patient customization) is […]

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Why Economists support Free Trade

Economist Greg Mankiw reveals the answer in the “Trade: why not?” post on The Free Exchange blog.

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Employers must be involved in health insurance?

At least Joe Paduda thinks so.  His post today gives an example from the employer GTE.  GTE was worried about ER and inpatient admissions rate for children with asthma.  Why?  Because employees who were single parents would miss work to take care of their children when they were sick. Mr. Paduda’s argues convincingly that employers […]

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Sample Selection vs. Two-part Model

Much of health care data is characterized by a large cluster of data at 0, and a right skewed distribution of the remaining outcomes. For instance, people who do not get sick generally use $0 of medical care. Those who do get sick, use a varying amount of medical care dollars, but there are a […]

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Do we finally know how vaccines work?

Vaccines work well because of an adjuvant. The adjuvant boosts immunity but physicians did not know how it worked until now. The Economist reports (“A shot in the dark not more“) that Stephanie Eisenbarth, Richard Flavell an co-authors have discovered that the adjuvant “works by stimulating bits of the immune system called NOD-like receptors.” Why […]

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Kaiser’s Blog Watch

The Kaiser Family Foundation has a new BlogWatch feature.  Every Tuesday and Friday, the site will highlight some of the best health blogging on the net.  Check out the inaugural edition here.

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Checking in on my 96-year old grandmother

My grandmother is 96 years old and incredibly lives on her own.  My mother drops off packages of food she prepares for my grandmother and gets her mail, but my grandmother still does her laundry and gets herself ready in the morning. Bringing in some help for her or moving her to an assisted living […]

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Decreased Mortality leads to increased investment in Education

Economists predict that longer life expectancy leads to more investment in education. For those who live a short time, sacrificing working years for education is not worthwhile if the payback period is short. For those with a longer life expectancy, an individual can reap the monetary rewards from education over a longer period of time. […]

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