Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for April, 2010

Effect of Decreasing Medicare Reimbursement Rates on Cataract Surgeries

What if Medicare spends reimburses physicians too generously for a certain service. Will reducing reimbursement for that service decrease utilization and cost? A study by Mitchell, Hadley and Gaskin (2002) attempts to answer this question by examining the impact of changing Medicare reimbursement for cataract surgeries.  Between 1992 and 1994, Medicare decreased fees paid for […]

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Developing a pre-existing condition

I have recently read in the press a number of mentions of the phrase “developing a pre-existing condition.”  For instance, a Cato Institute paper discusses this phenomenon and how you can buy insurance against developing a pre-existing condition. This phrase seem paradoxical however.  How can you develop a pre-existing condition?  Before you “developed” the condition, […]

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Friday Links

Gooznews: Whether to save money be reducing prices or quantity. Do new drugs decrease health spending? Do new cancer drugs and imaging techniques reduce mortality? Preventive care’s true cost. Wooing half-hearted terrorists. Does it matter if you eat your fruits and veggies?

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Health Wonk Review

The latest edition of the Health Wonk Review is up at David Harlow’s HealthBlawg.

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Substitution and Price Indices

In this post, I discussed how to construct the Laspeyres, the Paasche, and the Fisher price index.  In practice, the Laspeyres tends to overstate the price increase and the Paasche tends to understate the price increases.  Let us look at the following example to see why this is the case. In this spreadsheet, I use […]

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The Impact of Comparative Effectiveness Research on Health Care Spending

Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER), as it name suggests, compares how well different medicines treat a given disease.  Politicians claim that using CER findings can help improve quality and decrease cost.  If one treatment produces better health outcomes on average than another and also costs less, we should always make people use that treatment, right? Not […]

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Defining Opportunity Cost

As an economist and an avid reader I certainly appreciated Marketplace Money’s description of the concept of opportunity cost: “The late Robert Eisner, an economist at Northwestern University, somewhat tongue-in-cheek illustrated opportunity cost this way. The cost of buying and reading his book–The Misunderstood Economy–was not only the dollars spent on it, but also the […]

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Tuesday Links

Which countries are the most capitalist and most communist. Private healthcare in Spain. Medicare sanctions Aetna’s Part D plan. Test for chlamydia after every new sexual partner. Faith-based health insurance. VA invests more in EHR than private sector.

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U.S. vs. Canada: Health outcomes and heart disease

This blog has posted frequently on comparisons between the U.S. and Canadian healthcare systems (see here, here, here and here).  Although there are many points of contention, it is clear that the Canadian system is less expensive than the American.  According to the OECD, in 2006 Canada spent $3,678 per person on health care and […]

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Incentivizing wins: A basketball digression

Although this blog deals mostly with topic related to health economics, today I will digress to another one of my passions basketball.  This post deals with an issue of incentives: Do all basketball teams have an incentive to win games? As we are now nearing the end of the NBA regular season, the Toronto Raptors […]

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