Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for October, 2008

Pediatricians and the Iraqi Insurgency

Today I attended a seminar by Eli Berman on his paper, “Can Hearts and Minds Be Bought? The Economics of Counterinsurgency in Iraq.”  He noted that the U. S. Military often employs pediatricians to collect information.  When, the military pays for a pediatrician to serve an Iraqi community., not only does this engender good will […]

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Influenza Vaccination in China

In Europe and North America, the influenza vaccination rate is about 20% to 40%.  In China, this figure is only 2%.  The pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis smells opportunity. China Business Daily reports that Sanofi-Aventi will invest €7 million to build a new vaccination prodction facility in Shenzhen.  The article continues: “after the company’s the pharmaceutical factory […]

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Physician Compensation in Canada

Does physician compensation affect the quantity of medical care provided?  My paper “Operating on Commission” claims that the answer is yes.  I find that surgery rates increase 78% when patients switch from capitation to fee-for-service (FFS) specialists. A paper by Devlin and Sarma (2008) examines a similar question for Canadian family physicians.  Since the inception […]

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Favoritism in the NHS

One of the goals of a government-run, single-payer, centralized health system is to give everyone equal access to quality care.  The availability of health care in the UK’s National Health System should be the same for all people regardless of income or employer. An article in the Telegraph reports that NHS employees are getting preferential […]

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The Pre-election Health Wonk Review is up

The latest edition of the Health Wonk Review is up at Joe Paduda’s Managed Care Matters.

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The perfect instrument: Your DNA

Do fat people earn lower wages?  Finding a correlation between weight and wages does not mean that a causal relationship exists.  For instance, assume that body type has no effect on wage. If more motivated people have higher wages and also exercise more, we may find a negative relationship between body weight and wages.  On […]

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Should Medicare pay for nosocomial infections?

Hospital-acquired, or nosocomial, infections are often caused by poor hospital care.  Patients arrive to the hospital and often leave with infections caused by unsanitary hospital conditions.  Should Medicare pay for these hospital-induced health care costs? A knee jerk reaction would be to say no.  If the hospital adversely influence patient health, Medicare or other payors should […]

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Paul Krugman wins the Nobel Prize in Economics

Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in Economics on Monday “for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity.”  More coverage is available at the Nobel Prize homepage and The New York Times.

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INFORMS 2008

This afternoon I will by flying to Washington, D.C. for INFORMS 2008.  This is a conference discussing topics related to operations research.  Posting will resume on Wednesday.

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Medical Licensing: Improving or harming the quality of medical care

One way to insure that you have a high quality doctor is that they have a medical license.  In fact, no doctor can legally practice in the United States without one.  Yet Shirley Svorney’s article claims that we can reduce cost any maybe even improve quality by eliminating licensing requirements. Many readers may pause here […]

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