Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for December, 2013

Monday Links

Lonely? Price elasticity of beer. Which ERs have the longest waits? The rise of AFib. Deadlines.

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Health care crisis in Spain?

Due to its recent economic woes, Spain has imposed a number of austerity measures including significant cuts to social services and health care.  The Economist reports that “expenditure was reduced by 13.7% in 2012 and by 16.2% in 2013 (including social services). Some regions imposed additional cuts as high as 10%.” Cuts to health care […]

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Lifetime protection aganst the flu?

The Atlantic has an interesting article about recent efforts to create a flu vaccine that protects patients against influenza for decades, or even their entire lifetime. Currently, the flu vaccine helps the body produce antibodies that attack influenza surface proteins. The problem is that the flu is quick learner; it readily mutates ts surface proteins […]

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Obama signs up for bronze plan

The Washington Post reports that: President Obama has enrolled in the federal health-care insurance exchanges, selecting a bronze-tiered insuranceplan on the D.C. marketplace. Does Obama really believe the exchange plans are better than his current plans? Of course not. He did not put his wife, or children on the exchange plan. This PR stunt will […]

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The Hardship Provision

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) contains a provision, known as the individual mandate, which requires all individuals to have health insurance. Like most rules, however, there are loopholes. The most recent loopholes, however, were enacted by the Obama administration due to the problems with the Healthcare.gov website. Robert Laszewski explains: If you had a health […]

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Which plan is better?

Question: A person is considering two insurance plans. The first plan has a $5,000 deductible and a $5,000 maximum allowable out-of-pocket expense limit. The second plan has a $3,000 deductible, a 20% coinsurance rate, and a $9,000 out-of-pocket expense limit. Which plan is better? The answer of course depends on your expected health expenditures and […]

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HWR: Xmas Edition

The Health Wonk Review: the Letters to Santa edition  is up at Workers Comp Insider. The always insightful Julie Ferguson host’s this week’s HWR round-up.

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Lost in Translation? Types of Studies in the Economics and Medical Discipline

Statistics are statistics, but different disciplines use different terminology to refer to the same types of analysis.  A 2013 Institute of Medicine Report on cancer care lists a number of different study types (see below).  Whereas economists would refer to a study that examines  groups with and without an event or outcome as a “difference-in-difference” study, […]

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Testing multiple hypotheses simultaneously

Most people know about the good ol’ t-test.  You present a null hypothesis (e.g., the Healthcare Economist is the most popular blog covering health economics on the web), collect data to conduct the test, and use the mean and variance of the data to test whether your hypothesis is true. Standard convention holds that most […]

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Does Health Insurance Improve Health?

In Burkina Faso, the answer is ‘no‘. According to Fink et al. (2013): Our results suggest that the insurance had limited effects on average out-of-pocket expenditures in the target areas, but substantially reduced the likelihood of catastrophic health expenditure. The introduction of the insurance scheme did not have any effect on health outcomes for children […]

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