Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for February, 2010

The CBO’s Budget Outlook: Not Good

In January, the CBO released a report titled The Budget and Economic Outlook:  Fiscal Years 2010 to 2020.  A summary of the findings is available on the CBO Director’s blog.  Today, however, I focus on CBO’s evaluation of how changes in health care spending affect the federal budget. “Medicaid spending (excluding stimulus funding) increased by […]

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How to construct a Price Index

Price indices are useful for calculating inflation over time.  The consumer price index (CPI) measures changes in prices for the overall economy.  Researchers can also use price indices to understand the evolution of the price of health care over time.  For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also calculates a CPI for Medical Care and […]

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Weekend Links

Antidepressants no more effective than placebos. If you are readying this, you may be depressed. Health expenditures in 2018: 20.3% of GDP. Worker’s Comp and Medicare. Understanding the employer-based health insurance tax subsidy. Vaccines don’t cause autism.

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Capitalism vs. Socialism

John Kay offers a European perspective on the debate of between the superiority of a market economy against a centrally planned economy.  Is there empirical evidence that a market economy is superior?  John Kay says yes: “The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 …marked the end of the most extensive controlled experiment in […]

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Money Driven Medicine: A Review

I recently watched the movie Money Driven Medicine.  The movie documents many of the current ills of the American healthcare system.  The movie’s focus details how financial incentives drive both the quantity and quality of care.  Any health economist will of course say ‘duh’, but for those who believe that medicine is purely an altruistic […]

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Medicare Regional Variation in Service Use may be Exaggerated

Regional differences in the cost of health care are due to differences in both the price and volume of medical care.  Since, Medicare sets prices, there should be little variation in prices…right? Actually, Medicare payments have geographic adjustments based on a number of factors.  For instances, the hospital wage index gives pay hospitals more in […]

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Co-pays, Taxes, and Pie: Your Tuesday Links

Higher co-pays decrease physician visits, but increase hospitalizations. Where do your tax dollars go? Healthier people are more likely to buy health insurance. The Infectious Diseases of Haiti. Think 10% unemployment is bad?  Spain is nearing 20%! Why is my local pie shop featured in The Economist?

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California Counties: The Poor’s last Safety Net

The county government is often the place of last resort for the medically indigent in California.  Some counties run hospitals and/or clinics to care for these individuals outside of the Medicaid system.  Other counties operate their own HMO to cover Medicaid patients.  As I previously described, there are three types of private Medi-Cal HMO systems […]

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Does a Hospital’s Ranking Increase Patient Volume?

The US News and World Report has popular rankings for colleges, graduate schools and now hospitals.  Do patients actually decide to seek care at different hospitals based on these ratings?  Devin Pope attempts to answer this question in a recent Journal of Health Economics article (free draft). To determine whether or not this is the […]

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