Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for March, 2012

Weekend Reading List

AARP releases its Guide to Health Reform. How is the Health Reform paid for? The world’s first euthanasia clinic. Golden rule of organ donation. Will Obamacare end health insurance as we know it? Who is Jon Gruber? The $1200 basic blood test.

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Health Wonk Review is up

The latest edition of the health wonk review is up at David Williams’ Health Business Blog.  It focuses on the Supreme Court’s deliberations on the Affordable Care Act.

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Free Market Medicare? Competitive Bidding for Durable Medical Equipment

Government spending on wasteful projects is legendary.  There is the Bridge to Nowhere, Star Wars, and many more.  In Medicare, the government also has a reputation of overpaying for durable medical equipment.  For instance, critics claim that Medicare is both paying too high a price for motorized wheelchairs and buying wheelchairs for people who do not […]

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How to drop the individual mandate and avoid the collapse of the private health insurance market

Today, the Supreme Court is deciding  whether to let many of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ACA, a.k.a. Health Reform, a.k.a. Obamacare) stand.  One of the key provisions is the individual mandate.  The individual mandate requires all individuals to purchase health insurance.  If you don’t buy health insurance, you must pay a […]

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Americans’ Opinions of the U.S. Healthcare System: March 2012

On the verge of the Supreme Court’s momentous decision regarding health care care reform, it is important to take a minute to examine what most Americans think.  A recent poll finds mostly what we already knew: people like their health insurance, but don’t like ObamaCare.  Surprisingly, most people (65%) favor changing Medicare to a voucher-based […]

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The Impacts of Managed Competition in Netherlands

Financial incentives matter.  If one had to give economists (and health economists as well) a slogan, this would be it. In 2006, the Netherlands instituted a form of managed competition. According to Van Dijk et al (2012) “Before 2006, inhabitants had either compulsory social (sickness fund, 62%) or voluntarily private (36%) health insurance depending, among others, on income (below a gross […]

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Friday Links

eRx decreases errors by 60 percent. CBO: ACA effect on employer-provided insurance. Effectiveness of Pap Smear screening: U.S. vs. Netherlands. Gingrich to States: Resist implementing health insurance exchanges. Disease mongering.

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The Origins of Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare is a widely popular program.  Most American support increasing taxes rather than making cuts to Medicare spending.  Americans prioritize spending on only Social Security and education more than Medicare.  Then there is the famous “Keep Your Goddamn Government Hands Off My Medicare!” statement. Medicaid is Medicare’s ugly step-sister.  Whereas Medicare beneficiaries qualify primarily due […]

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Cavalcade of Risk #153: March Madness Edition

In March tens of millions of Americans engage in risky behavior; 60 million people fill out NCAA tournament brackets and over $12 billion are wagered on the NCAA tournament each year. This year, two of my hometown teams (Wisconsin and Marquette) have made it to the Sweet 16 and with one more win they will reach the […]

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The Start of Rationing in Medicare?

Prior authorization is a common tool that managed care organizations use to reduce patient utilization of medical services.  Some physicians believe that prior authorization creates barriers to effective care, but other commentators believe that prior authorizations can be implemented in a more efficient manner.  Either way, prior authorizations are a form of rationing care. Although […]

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