Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for August, 2015

Medicare spending surges again

The August update to the Congressional Budget Office’s 10-year economic outlook is fairly rosy.  The deficit will ‘only’ be $426 billion, which is $59 billion less than the deficit last year and would represent 2.4% of GDP, the smallest deficit as a share of GDP since 2007.  Nevertheless, CBO still products overall US debt to rise […]

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The Cons of Restrictive Prior Authorization Policies

Dr Dana Goldman, a USC professor and partner at my employer–Precision Health Economics–explains how restrictive prior authorization policies can adversely affect the care patients with schizophrenia receive. 

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What is Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement?

Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI)A helpful post from Steven A. Farmer, Meaghan George and Mark B. McClellan explains.  Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CCJR) is a bundled payment structure for hip and knee replacements.  CMS notes that: 2013, there were more than 400,000 inpatient primary procedures in Medicare, costing more than $7 billion for hospitalization alone. […]

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What is the cancer incidence rate in your state?

Find out at the CDC’s website. They have incidence information by cancer type and gender for all states between 1999 and 2012. Below is a sample chart you can produce with these data.

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Mid-week links

AirBnB pricing. “You have to learn to love the bomb.” Don’t sell. Transparency or jail? A rheumatoid arthritis vaccine?

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A universal flu vaccine

Wired reports: Today, independent teams reported inScience and Nature Medicine how they’ve tinkered with a piece of viral protein so it can teach immune systems—in this case, in mice, ferrets, and monkeys—to fight whole groups of viruses rather than just a single strain. “It’s a great first step in the road for generating a universal […]

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Narrow Networks in your state

The Affordable Care Act aimed to increase patient access to care.  Although it has certainly improved the share of patients who are insured, it is not clear whether it has actually improved “access.”  Many health insurance exchange plans are able to offer low premiums by limiting the number or type of doctors you are able to […]

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ACO Characteristics

In recent years, payers have moved towards shifting more financial risk to providers.  One of the most significant ways financial risk is passed to providers is through the creation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).  The biggest ACO program is Medicare’s Shared Savings Program (MSSP).  Are ACO’s improving quality and reducing cost?  A paper by Schulz, […]

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HWR is up

Peggy Salvatore of Health System Ed posts this week’s edition of the Health Wonk Review. She has the clever theme of “The More Things Change, The More They Cost.” Check it out!

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How useful are health rankings?

According to an HSR editorial by Stephan Arndt, the answer is not very.  Generally, county level health rankings are too variable to be of much use.  Further, while some metropolitan regions may have large sample sizes, the sample sizes in less densely populated rural counties will be far lower leading to less precise estimates of any […]

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