Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for December, 2009

How is the financial crisis affecting the UK’s National Health Service

In the 1990s, the UK’s National Health Service may have imitated most American’s idea of what is wrong with a single payer system.  However, when Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997 government spending on the NHS increased.  Over the past decade spending on the health service has risen by over 6% a year in […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Financing Reform…with Taxes on Tanning Salons?

The N.Y. Times reports that Democrats in the Senate are nearing the 60 votes needed to pass a health reform bill.  To do this, Democrats have made a number of concessions.  These include: abandoning a public option, prohibiting abortion coverage, and of course, long-term-care insurance to people with severe disabilities, new services for pregnant teenagers, […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend Links

Thirdhand Smoke and treating PTSD with Tetris. Eastern European healthcare market roundup. Swine flu vaccine for children recalled for potency drop. One of the clearest, most concise explanations of what went wrong during the mortgage meltdown. HIV microbicides?  Too bad they don’t work.

Read the rest of this entry »

Scrubs’ advice to Residents

“Medicine is, well, it’s a dead career.” “Thanks to insurance companies and malpractice lawyers, you have absolutely no hope of finding a rewarding or satisfying profession in this once noble field.” “You are all murderers and assassins that have been sent here to try to kill my patients.” Dr. Cox, Scrubs Sitcom.

Read the rest of this entry »

Socioeconomic Status and Wait Times in Europe

One of the most contentious parts of the healthcare debate in the U.S. is whether or not to move towards a more European style of health care.  Those in favor cite the equality of the system, the lower cost, and lower administrative cost.  Those against rail against the lack of provider choice and the long […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Surgical Complications and Mortality Rates

Mortality during surgery is dependent on two factors.  The first is the probability of having complications during surgery.  The second is the probability of dying conditional on having a complication.  One would expect that hospitals with low mortality rates would have both fewer complications and lower probability of death conditional on a complication.   A […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Mid-Week Links + CoR

The latest edition of the Cavalcade of Risk is up at My Wealth Builder.  Below are more links of interest.  Are we winning the war on cancer? Red Cross is $200 million in debt. Physicians paid on a non-fee-for-service basis conduct 15-31% fewer patient visits per week. Between 2002 and 2009, California employer-based premiums increased 117.5%. The incredible disappearing […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Episode-Based Performance Measures: A reality?

Pay-for-performance has become very fashionable of late. One way to measure physician performance is with episode groupers. This software groups together some or all of the services related to the care of a patient’s chronic or acute medical conditions. Policymakers can then use the episode as the unit of observation for: feedback on physician performance, […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Samuelson Dead

The first American Nobel laureate in economics died on Sunday at age 94. The N.Y. Times has an obituary.  Here are other economists’ comments.

Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare Oversight

One problem with any government-run health insurance program is that politicians have an incentive to make decisions that are attractive to small, wealthy, cohesive constituencies, rather than for the greater good.  For instance, although CMS administrator tried to stem the tide of rising physician costs, Congress has repeatedly reinstated the physician raises.  The following three […]

Read the rest of this entry »