Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for January, 2009

Book Review: The Great American Heart Hoax

A new book by Dr. Michael Ozner takes on the cardiovascular surgery industry head-on.  The aptly titled Great American Heart Hoax claims that although insurers pay $60 billion per year  invasive cardiovascular surgery, 70%-90% of these procedures are unnecessary.   The book has three major themes: What is heart disease?  Why is heart surgery a […]

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5 Health Care Myths

Bob Laszewski has a great posts on 5 false  “solutions” to reduce health care costs.  These are: EMR: Making electronic medical records universal will greatly improve health care quality, but the impact on cost will be minor.  Better quality care can reduce iatrogenic injuries and reduce cost, but the cost reduction–if any–will likely be small […]

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Pharmaceuticals as an excuse, not treatment

Should doctors prescribe pharmaceuticals to patients who have heart disease.  Statins and ACE inhibitors are frequently prescribed to patients with cardiovascular problems.  These medications have been shown to decrease the risk of heart attack in clinical trials, but could they actually increase the risk of a heart attack in the real world? The answer is […]

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Are we winning the war on cancer?

Since the early 1980s, age-adjusted cancer mortality rates have been falling over time. Is this due to better screening, better treatment, or healthier behavioral factors? Is this progress cost-effective? Are we really winning the war on cancer? A paper by Culter (2008) tries to answer this question. First it is important to note that there […]

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The Health Wonk Review is up

The latest edition of the Health Wonk Review is up at The Health Care Blog.

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Resource: State Coverage Initiatives Website

Wisconsin’s Medicaid plan covers children from 0-5 years old whose parents have income below 150% of the poverty line.  Sixty percent of Massachusetts residence receive coverage through their employer compared to 53% nationwide.  Forty-six percent of Californian firms with less than 50 employees offer health insurance compared to the national average of 43%. How did […]

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Effect of Regulation on Health Care Quality: U-Shaped?

The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon moderates an interesting policy forum on “Does America’s Health Care Sector Produce More Health?”  A podcast of the forum is available here. Is a single payer system better than an unregulated health care system? If they U.S. scores worse on health care metrics, does that mean that unregulated health care […]

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Hospitals as Hotels

The Mayo Clinic is renowned as one of the best health care facilities in the world.  Yet it also spends millions of dollars to make its buildings look like this.  Why do hospitals spend so much money on making their buildings look beautiful instead of directing those funds towards clinical care? An NBER working paper […]

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Defense Spending as an Economic Stimulus

” A substantial short-term rise in spending on defense and intelligence would both stimulate our economy and strengthen our nation’s security.” – Martin Feldstein in WSJ. Robert Higgs disagrees.

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Cigarette taxes are bad for your health?

Many economists and public plicy researchers have found that cigarette taxes reduce smoking.  This means that cigarette taxes must be good for your health…right? A study by Baum (2009) claims that cigarette taxes may improve health, but not by as much as previously thought.  The paper finds that increasing the cigarette tax decreases smoking, but […]

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