Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for July, 2008

Solving California’s Water Shortage

Forbes reports that “California is perpetually portrayed as suffering from a shortage of water. Case in point: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently declared a statewide drought, telling citizens to prepare for rationing.”  As any economist would tell you, the solution to the water shortage problem is simple: raise the price of water. The largest culprits of […]

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How do CDHPs affect Pharmaceutical Spending and Utilization

Recently, health insurers have been more likely to offer a tiered copayment structure to enrollees. Patients face low co-payments for generic drugs, higher copayments for “preferred” name-brand drugs, and the highest for name-brand drugs on a “nonpreferred” list. Consumer driven health plans (CDHPs) however offer a simpler payment system. The consumer generally places funds into […]

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Lichtenberg says pharmaceuticals increase life expectancy

Frank Lichtenberg has two working papers Lichtenberg (#14008) and Lichtenberg and Duflos (#14009), which show that pharmaceuticals have worked to increase life expectancy. The first paper examines new cardiovascular drugs and finds that new cardiovascular drugs decreased mortality and hospitalizations in OECD countries. If drugs vintage had not increased from 1995-2004: 1) hospitalization and mortality […]

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Carnival of Personal Finance #161

The latest edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance is up at The Budgeting Babe. Included is my post on the Buxfer software.

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Adults need vaccines too

Most people believe that vaccines are for kids. The CDC and public health departments have done a good job of keeping vaccination rates high for children. With the advent of new vaccines for adults, the key now is to increase vaccination rates for these older groups. The Wall Street Journal (“Get your shots“) details a […]

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Avastin: Worth the price?

The New York Times (“The evidence gap“) has a great article about the high-priced cancer drug Avastin.  Avastin treats patients with advanced forms of cancer by cutting of blood supply to the cancerous tumors.  The cost-effectiveness of Avastin has been cast in doubt. “Roy Vagelos, a former chief executive of Merck who is considered an […]

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Would you give up some life expectancy to know the day you will die?

“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men. Gang aft agley” – Robert Burns The only certainty in life is uncertainty. Individuals make plans for their future without knowing how long they will live in reality. Retirement planning, for instance, is very difficult due to uncertain life expectancy. Would you be willing to trade some of […]

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Choosing a Medicare Part D plan

As I noted in an earlier post, choosing a Medicare part D plan is difficult.  However, there are resources to help people choose a Medicare Part D plan based on which prescriptions they are taking and where they live.  Medicare has its own Personalized Plan Search.  The private sector also has come up with user-friendly […]

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How good is your Health Insurance?

Most people do not know the answer to this question. Of course, individuals like plans with lower health insurance premiums, but patient deductibles, copayment and coinsurance rates also will determine how much the consumer will end up paying for a given insurance plan. Even if costs are similar across insurance plans, benefits packages may not […]

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HealthMap: Tracking diseases online

Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School has launched HealthMap, an automated data-gathering system used to track disease. HealthMap aims to organize and disseminate this online information using feeds from various public health organizations. This is similar to the concept I first saw at the Who Is Sick website, but the HealthMap seems to be […]

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