Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for August, 2011

Is Medicare cost growth slowing?

Ezra Klein reports that this may in fact be the case according to S&P Healthcare Economics. “This chart shows per-patient Medicare revenue falling to a 2.5 percent growth rate, the lowest since S&P Indices started tracking numbers six years ago. At the very top of the this chart you see the ‘commercial index’ — which […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Do Capitalists or Communists Promote Aid to Africa?

“It is significant that none of the most passionate advocates of aid for Africa are African.  Aid can speed up development that people have already decided to carry out for themselves and have the capacity to do.  It is also essential for vaccination campaigns and for ARVs to combat HIV/AIDS.  Emergency aid is obviously vital […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Expenditure vs. Price Index

Can health care productivity be increasing even as costs are rising so fast?  This may be the case.   One study by Aizcorbe and Nestoriak (2011) examines this phenomenon. “Using retrospective claims data for a sample of commercially insured patients, we find that, on average, expenditures to treat diseases rose 11% from 2003Q1 to 2005Q4 and […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Mid-week Links

Cataract surgery is cost-effective. Does retirement improve cognitive functioning? What happens when doctors try to innovate? Why aren’t health care experts on the Super Committee? Cheer up! Who is Tony Plush?

Read the rest of this entry »

Improving Placebo Effectiveness at Kaiser

I went to my first physician appointment as a member of Kaiser.  I received a primary care visit and got lab work done within 30 minutes.  The whole process was incredibly efficient.  I notice the Kaiser docs and nurses followed best practices.  Further, the check-in process was very organized and my doctor could access my […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Databases

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ)  Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) is a family of databases and tools intended to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of the U.S.   health care system.  HCUP results from Federal-State-Industry partnership to build a comprehensive all payer data system.  A summary of the databases available from […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Predicting a Religious Revival in 2014

The Healthcare Economist predicts a religious revival in 2014.  Let me be more specific, in January 2014.  How do I know this?  Am I a religious man?  Has God spoken to me? Let’s just say I have a certain insight.  In 2014, the individual mandate goes into effect.  All individuals must buy health insurance or […]

Read the rest of this entry »

When does diversification increase risk?

Why did the financial crisis occur?  One reason may be due to too much institutional diversification.  George Sugihara explains how even when individual institutions diversify, system-wide risk can increase exponentially. “Leading up to the crash, there was a marked increase in homogeneity among institutions, both in their revenue-generating strategies as well as in their risk-management strategies, thus […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Cavalcade of Risk #137: Risk Grabs the Headlines

The stock market is in a daze. Standard and Poor’s recently downgraded the U.S. government debt from its triple A status. Control of the State Senate in Wisconsin is up in the air.  There are riots in London and famine in Somalia. Risk is one of the few constants in our lives.  With risk-related topics grabbing the headlines, […]

Read the rest of this entry »

High-Risk Health Insurance Pools

Many individuals are uninsureable. Their pre-existing conditions indicate that they are so risky either: i) no insurance company would cover them or ii) the premiums would be so high that the individual could not afford them. To insure some of these people, many states have set up high-risk health insurance pools (HRP). Currently, all these […]

Read the rest of this entry »