Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for May, 2011

Hospital VBP gains the attention of the New York Times

The Healthcare Economist has already commented on the impending Medicare implementation of a hospital value-based purchased (VBP) system.  Now, Medicare’s hospital VBP program has garnered the attention of the popular press.  According to the New York Times: “The administration plans to establish ‘Medicare spending per beneficiary’ as a new measure of hospital performance…Hospitals could be […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Why are more than 35 percent of elderly Swedes on disability?

“The proportion of men collecting disability benefits at older ages varies greatly across countries — for example, more than 35 percent of 64-year-old men in Sweden and more than 25 percent of those in the Netherlands are on DI, versus 10 percent or less in Belgium, Italy, and Spain. Does this reflect differences in the […]

Read the rest of this entry »

El Barça gana el Champions

My soccer team, FC Barcelona, won their fourth Champion’s league on Saturday.  Felicidades!

Read the rest of this entry »

Why does cost effective care spread so slowly

According to Fuchs and Millstein, here’s why: Insurers hesitation to standardize coverage.  Standardization of coverage would force insurance companies to compete primarily on the basis of price, which would put pressure on their profits. Employers bear too much of the marginal cost from employees choosing expensive health plans.  Because companies wish to avoid alienating employees, […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Memorial Day HWR

The latest edition of the Health Wonk Review is up at the Health Affairs blog.

Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare Payment Adequacy

How do policymakers  determine if Medicare payment levels are adequate?  The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) uses the following criteria: Access to care determined by the number of providers and volume of services. Quality of care Provider access to capital Provider margins. Although these measures do provide valuable information, they are far from perfect.  Access […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Wednesday Links

The vanishing emergency room. Which conferences is thinking about paying college athletes? Who benefited from the H1N1 pandemic scare? Loopholes in the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. Is poker a game of skill or luck? Crime of the century?

Read the rest of this entry »

Drinking in College is “Largely Positive”?

According to Marshall Poe, drinking in college has more positives than negatives. “Rowdy drinking is not the problem. It is an essential, ineradicable, and largely positive element of American college culture. The problem is students who cannot or will not engage in rowdy drinking safely, for they often harm themselves and others.” How is drinking a […]

Read the rest of this entry »

MedPAC’s Analysis of Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities

Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRF) provide rehabilitation to invidiuals recovering from serious illnesses such as strokes or hip replacements.  Today I review MedPAC’s analysis of Medicare payment policies for IRFs. In 2002, expenditures on IRF totaled nearly $5.7 billion. This figure grew at an annual rate of 6.7 percent to $6.4 billion in 2004. Between 2005 […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Can Home Health Care Reduce Cost?

At one point, the answer may have been yes.  But today… “Although the initial impetus for establishing home health care was charitable, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) discovered that by providing home health care, it could prolong life while collecting premiums and abstaining from death benefit payments. Yet the model experienced a requisite shift […]

Read the rest of this entry »