Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for July, 2008

Your doctor says you have six months to live. Should you believe him?

Your doctor says you have six months to live. How accurate is this figure? Do you really have 4 moths to live? One year? A paper by Alexander and Christakis (2008) analyzes physicians predictions of patient survival. The authors find that physicians systematically overestimate how long the patient will live. This bias is exacerbated when […]

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Americans have the best cancer survival rates

On Friday I reported that the U.S. scored poorly on the Commonwealth Fund’s National Scorecard. Those in favor of universal health care are probably rejoicing. “The U.S. system is dysfunctional beyond repair and we need universal health care!” Yesterday, the Economist reported on an article in The Lancet Oncology journal which found that the U.S. […]

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Roche to buy Genentech?

In “Does Roche have Genentech’s Rx?“, NPR’s Marketplace reports on Roche’s bid to purchase all of Genentech, a firm that developed the three best-selling cancer drugs in the United States.

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How San Diego is solving it’s traffic problem

Last year, I wrote a blog post about how Los Angeles could fix its traffic problems.  Today, the San Diego Union Tribune reported that traffic has decreased between 3.3% and 9.1% during the week and between 5.2% and 11.9% on the weekends.  How has San Diego accomplished this? Higher gas prices are the reason.  A […]

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Cochrane Review: The effect of capitation, fee-for-service (FFS) and mixed payment systems on primary care physician behavior

Primary care physicians can be compensated in a number of ways. The most popular are capitation, fee-for-service, salary, or some mixture of the three. But how does the physician compensation method affect care levels? This is the question Gosden et al. (2000) try to answer in their Cochrane review. The authors search the literature for […]

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Funding the Montgomery County margarita machine

What happens to seized drug money? According to the Economist, in Montgomery County, Texas the sized drug money was used to fund the beer and liquor needs of the district attorney at their local county fair. The funds were also used to purchase a margarita machine. Looks like seized illegal drugs were used to fund […]

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U.S. Health Care scores poorly

The Washington Post reports that U.S. Health Care [is] Still Ill. This conclusion comes from a report from the Commonwealth Fund titled Results from the National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance, 2008. Even though the U.S. still spends more money on medical care than any other nation, performance on the Scorecard has not improved […]

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CoR #56

The latest edition of the Cavalcade of Risk is hosted by Michael Cannon at the Cato@Liberty blog.  Some of my favorite posts include: The Million Dollar Journey blog talks about the advent of Critical Illness (CI) insurance.  This is similar to the contingent claims insurance contract which economists have advocated–but has been difficult to apply […]

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Should there be a mandated nurse/patient ratio in Nursing Home facilities?

A recent paper by Kitchener et al. (HSR 2008) investigates the actions of one nursing home chain to find how they maximized their profits. The authors find that Sun Healthcare Inc. employed three strategies to maximize shareholder value: rapid growth through debt-financed mergers; labor cost constraint through low nurse staffing levels; and a model of […]

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Delaying the Medicare Paycut

The controversy as to how much Medicare should pay doctors is continuing to brew (see N.Y. Times article).  Congress passed a law overriding a pay cut to Medicare doctors.  Although the president vetoed the bill, Congress garnered enough support to override the veto. Dr. Rich of The Covert Rationing Blog claims that the Medicare reimbursement […]

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