Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for April, 2010

Health Wonk Review: NBA Playoffs Edition

In honor of the on-going NBA playoffs, the week’s edition of the Health Wonk Review will examine the top 16 health policy posts written over the past two weeks. The worthy authors have shown terrific vision and an ability to make slam dunk arguments (groan). The authors’ raw talents and athletic intellectual abilities are so […]

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Economics of the Timing of Influenza Vaccine

Although the H1N1 influenza virus has garnered most of the media attention, protecting children against standard strains of influenza has generally been shown to be cost effective.  However, the cost effectiveness depends on the timing.  The flu season generally lasts from September to June, but flu generally has the highest incidence in November and December. […]

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Are WHO rankings entirely worthless?

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2000 report, the U.S. ranked 37th in the world in terms of the quality of its health care system.  The placed the U.S. health system behind Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica and Morocco.  Do we need to fire all U.S. doctors?  Should everyone stop reading this blog post and […]

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Medicare Spending by Program Service Categories

In 2008, the federal government spent $782 billion on health care through the Medicare and Medicaid program. Below is a breakdown of the expenditures incurred by service product. Source: 2009 CMS Data Compendium.

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Duflo Wins John Bates Clark Medal

From the N.Y. Times: Esther Duflo, a development economist at M.I.T., has been awarded the John Bates Clark Medal. The award is given to “that American economist under the age of 40 who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.” Professor Duflo, 37, helped found the Abdul Latif […]

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Friday Links

Obama makes hospitals allow gay visitation rights. Geographic variation in hip replacement costs. Postoperative sepsis rates increase 8%. Which heartburn treatments are cost effective? A life-threatening disease invades the pacific northwest.

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Effect of Decreasing Medicare Reimbursement Rates on CABG Surgeries

Many researchers claim that decreasing physician reimbursement will decrease Medicare expenditures.  Mechanically, this is true, but in reality, physicians may adjust their treatment behavior to make up for lost income.  A study by Yip (1998) evaluates how change in reimbursement for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgeries affected the volume of CABG surgeries physicians perform.  […]

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Cavalcade of Risk

The latest edition of the Cavalcade of Risk is up at My Wealth Builder.

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Medicare Fees and Physicians’ Medicare Service Volume

How do changes in Medicare fees affect the quantity of medical care supplied by providers?  A paper by Hadley and Reschovsky (2006) examine this question be estimating the elasticity of supply.  They find the following: Medicare fees are positively related to both the number of beneficiaries treated (η=0.12–0.61) and service intensity (η=1.04–1.71). Physicians with apparent […]

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A Tale of Two Bounties: Can Physicians Cost Shift from Medicare to Private-Pay Patients

Do physicians cost shift after Medicare reduces reimbursement rates?  A paper by Rice et al. (1999) examines whether or not this in fact occurred after Medicare reduced payment for surgical procedures in the late 1980s.  To be more specific, “The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 (OBRA-89) reduced Medicare physician payment rates for thirty-six groups […]

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