Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for July, 2015

Health Wonk Review is up

The “Hot Summer Nights, Cool Summer Drinks” edition of the Health Wonk Review is up at InsureBlog.  Hosted by the always-insightful Hank Stern, it filled with useful insights from the world of health policy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Choice in the Health Insurance Exchanges

I have posted frequently on the ACA and narrow networks (here and here). How narrow are the networks plans available in the health insurance exchanges? How does provider choice differ between standard commercial insurance plans and those in the exchanges? A study by Avalere finds: …exchange plan networks include 42 percent fewer oncology and cardiology […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Cholera and Haiti

Cholera has been a huge problem for Haiti. The excellent investigative journalist and author Rose George reports: Five years on, cholera has killed nearly 9,000 Haitians. More than 730,000 people have been infected. It is the worst outbreak of the disease, globally, in modern history. In 2014, Cholera was on the verge of being eradicated from Haiti: […]

Read the rest of this entry »

What is they key driver of cancer care spending?

High-cost cancer drugs often get bad press. Cancer treatment certainly is expensive. However, drug costs are not the primary driver of high cost of cancer treatment; hospitalizations are. Using data from SEER-Medicare, Brooks et al. (2014) examine regional variation in the cost of cancer care and find: Acute hospital care was the largest component of […]

Read the rest of this entry »

“Affordable” Care Act

Is the Affordable Care Act making health insurance more affordable?  Generally, the answer is yes.  More individuals are insured due to Medicaid coverage expansions in some but not all states and the implementation of health insurance exchanges.  However, there is one worrying trend in affordability: increasing patient cost sharing. A paper by Hempstead et al. (2015), […]

Read the rest of this entry »

End of week links

Getting an Econ PhD. The choice ahead? More or less cancer? Tiny machines. Healthcare quality and finance.

Read the rest of this entry »

The case for and against prescription painkillers

Oftentimes, prescription pain killers are demonized. Opponents of painkiller are likely to cite statistics like this: The annual number of opioid painkiller prescriptions is now at more than 200 million. In hand with that, overdose deaths have shot up from over 4,000 in 1999 to more than 16,000 in 2013, according to data provided by […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Rate hikes in 2016

The Affordable Care Act may turn out to be not so affordable.  From the New York Times: Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Confirmation Bias

HT: Incidental Economist.

Read the rest of this entry »

Measles death in the US

Vox reports: We started 2015 with one of the worst measles outbreaks in recent history, which originated at Disneyland in California. And today, the US just recorded its first measles death in a dozen years. According to a news release from the Washington State health department, the (still unidentified) woman was probably exposed to the […]

Read the rest of this entry »