Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for November, 2008

Should the U.S. Have Universal Healthcare?

Should the U.S. have universal healthcare?  The National Physicians Alliance says ‘Yes’, but the Institute for Policy Innovation says ‘No.’  You can voice your opinion at Opposing Views.

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Slowing medical CPI may not last

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Medical CPI is only 3.2%.  This is less than the 4.1% average inflation rate over the past ten years and the 6.0% average medical inflation rate over the past 30 years.  In most markets, a slowing economy reduces demand and reduces prices (see the recent decline in oil […]

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Physicians who use DSS lose prestige in their patients eyes

Is it better for a physician to have more information or less?  Should physicians utilize diagnostic support systems (DSS) which base their recommendations on hundreds or thousands of data points or should they trust their gut instinct?  Most rational people would say that physicians should use DSS–not blindly–but as a tool to guide their decisionmaking. […]

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Docs get free dinners…for prescribing generics?

The pharmaceutical industry is well known for taking doctors (and medical students) out to nice dinners, giving them presents, and doing whatever they can to entice physicians to prescribe their drug.  Now, health insurers are following the pharmaceutical companies lead. The AP reports that in order to convince physicians to prescribe generic drugs, a Rochester […]

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Obama likes condoms

The Think Progress Wonk Room says that President-elect Obama will reverse the Bush-era rule that NGOs must refrain from promoting family planning measures if they wish to receive federal funding: “…While the policy was “purportedly designed to reduce abortion by limiting a woman’s access to abortion services, and to ensure that U.S. funding for family […]

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Does more education improve your health?

A recent JHE article by Park and Kang wonder if more education induces people to have a healthier lifestyle.  They use data on Korean men to see if this is the case.  They find that “an increase in education induces individuals to exercise regularly, and to get regular health checkups…[but]…education has little effect on smoking […]

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Physicians prescribing placebos

Placebos are important for medical research.  In order to determine if a certain pharmaceutical is effective, researchers compare medical outcomes between one group given the drug and another given a placebo. But should physicians give placebos to patients outside of clinical trials?  The Economist magazine reports (“Great Expectations“) on the phenomenon that many physicians are […]

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U.S. spends $700 billion on unnecessary medical tests

“Peter Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office, estimates that 5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product-—$700 billion per year –goes to tests and procedures that do not actually improve health outcomes…The unreasonably high cost of health care in the United States is a deeply entrenched problem that must be attacked at its root.” This […]

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Red Light Special on Breast Augmentation

With the economy in a downturn, many firms have been hard hit.  Industries that sell luxury goods have been especially hard hit.  One example of a luxury good sector taking a beating is the elective surgery market. The New York Times reports that dermatologists, facial surgeons and plastic surgeons have all seen a significant drop in […]

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Wage inequality

Many economists have noted that wage growth has not kept up with overall economic growth over the past few decades.  We observe widening wage inequality since the 1970s.  Are workers getting poorer relative to the owners of capital?  Is a communist revolution needed to equalize the playing field? Economist Martin Feldstein thinks not.   “Feldstein […]

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