Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for February, 2012

Will the Welfare State Cause the Next Great Depression?

According to Robert Samuelson’s article in the Wilson Quarterly, the answer is yes. Just as the gold standard amplified and transmitted the effects of the Depression, so the modern welfare state is magnifying the effects of the recession. The United States, Europe, and Japan, together representing about half of the world economy, face similar pressures: […]

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Are Consumer-Driven Health Plans Reducing Medical Spending?

Although the U.S. now spends about 18% of GDP on health care, rate of growth of healthcare spending fell every year between 2002 and 2009.  Why is this?  One reason is the economy.  A worse economy means that less people have health insurance coverage and thus the utilization of medical services decreases.  Another answer is […]

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Does expanding insurance coverage improve access to care?

Although Health Reform did little to reduce the cost of health care, it did make significant strides to expand access to care.  For low-income individuals, the increased access comes along two dimensions: expanded Medicaid eligibility and increased physician fees.  Specifically, Health Reform required to Make all individuals with incomes below 138% of the Federal Poverty […]

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Fighting Obesity by Popping Pills?

Drug-makers have had little success gaining FDA-approval for diet pills.  According to The Economist: “It has been 13 years since the FDA approved a prescription diet pill. That drug, Roche’s Xenical, has notorious gastrointestinal side-effects. The FDA rejected Vivus’s Qnexa in 2010 over concerns for the safety of pregnant women and the quickening of patients’ […]

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Friday Links

Some interesting reading as you head into the weekend… Accountable Care Organizations and Collective Farms. Are placebos the best medicine? Has the qubit arrived? Santorum on healthcare. China outsources to Europe.

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Medicare Reforms Linking Reimbursement Rates with Hospital Performance

Health reform not only changes the health care market for the demand side (e.g., patients, insurers), but also for the supply side (e.g., hospitals, physicians).  In the Medicare setting, a number of initiatives have aimed to pay providers who provide high-quality or low-cost care more money, and pay providers who provide low-quality or high-cost care […]

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Cavalcade of Risk is up

The Insurance Regulatory Law Blog hosts the 151st Cavalcade of Risk.  Van Mayhall’s cross-word puzzle format is highly entertaining.  Can you solve the puzzle?

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Less Money for Preventive Care, More Money for Docs

Merrill Goozner reports that paying for the “doc fix” comes at the cost of preventive services. Friday’s payroll tax cut extension bill included $18 billion to maintain Medicare physician salaries at current levels for the rest of this year. Unlike the payroll tax extension, Congress insisted on paying for the doc-fix with offsetting budget cuts.  […]

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Everyone’s vote counts…unless it counts twice

The U.S. is supposed to have the most advanced voting system in the world.  The U.S. voter registeration practices, however, may be closer to the third world.  According to a Pew study, voter registration is rife with problems. “About 2.7 million people have active registrations in multiple states, including about 2,000 people registered in four […]

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American Declaration of Independence: Ideology or Economy?

On this President’s Day, let’s revisit America’s founding document: the Declaration of Independence.  The Declaration of Independence includes broad ideological statements such as “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and claims that the British have violated “certain unalienable rights.” But were the real reasons for the American Revolution […]

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