Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for August, 2011

Be right back…

The Healthcare Economist is taking a vacation to Sweden and Spain over the next week and a half.  Blog posting will resume by Monday, September 12.

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Smoking Prevention in China

“All tobacco companies are state-owned, and the industry provides signifiant revenue; it also directly employs more than half a million people. From the government’s perspective, smoking is important to stability, both economic and social.  Some cigarettes are even subsidized–the cheapest brands cost as little as thirty cents a pack, because officials fear that farmers will […]

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Does Prescription Drug Coverage Save Money?

Many experts have claimed that increasing Medicare beneficiary’s access to prescription drugs through Medicare Part D is cost saving.  Even if it does increase cost, by increasing patient adherence to various prescription drugs, Medicare could prevent certain expensive hospitalizations and emergency room visits. The only problem is that it doesn’t. According to Liu et al. […]

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How Accurate is the Chronic Condition Data Warehouse?

The CMS Chronic Condition Data Warehouse (CCW) provides researchers with Medicare and Medicaid beneficiary, claims, and assessment data linked by beneficiary across the continuum of care.  The files also use ICD-9 codes and other information to identify the chronic condition each beneficiary has.  The question is, how well does the CCW identify these chronic conditions? […]

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Just Say No

The cover of Newsweek examines how overtreatment can harm people’s health.  The article’s catchy title is “No! The one word that can save your life.” Healthcare Economist readers have know this is the case for a while.  The Institute of Medicine has noted that the prevalence of iatrogenic injuries is a serious problem, killing 100,000 […]

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What does drug ‘price’ mean anyway?

How much do drugs cost?  The answer to this question depends who you are and how you want to measure cost.  For instance, MediSpan‘s Master Drug Data Base (MDDB) defines drugs prices as follows: Wholesaler Acquisition Cost (WAC) – the cost reported to Medi-Span by a manufacturer at which wholesalers purchase drug products from that […]

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CoR #138 is up

The latest edition of the Cavalcade of Risk is up at Insurance Coverage Law in Massachusetts.  Yours truly has a post in the leadoff position.

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Mid-Week Links

Attila the Cardiologist. An Epiphany On Direct-Pay Practices. Fast money in Workers Comp. Radiation. Conflict of interest at Moody’s.

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Estimates of Health Reform’s Effect on Employer-Sponsored Insurance (ESI)

Avalere Health provides a nice summary of some of the estimates of how health reform will affect the rate at which employers offer health insurance.  The provisions which may have an impact on health insurance offering include: Free-rider penalties (+) Exchanges (?) Medicaid expansion (-) Individual mandate (+) Small business tax credit (+) Insurance market […]

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What’s the difference between an ACO and Managed Care?

Medicare recently release a request for proposal for health care agencies to participate in both the Medicare Shared Savings Program and the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) pilot project.  The Pioneer ACO project is similar to the Shared Savings Program but has higher levels of cost sharing and (in year 3 of the pilot) partially […]

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