Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for August, 2017

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Battle of the bundle. Do survey respondents tell the truth about cannabis use? ICER critique and response. Expedited FDA review and drug quality. Living with RA.

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The market works!

In 2011, CMS created a demonstration to have competitive bidding for durable medical equipment (DME).   Prior to the implementation of this program, CMS used an administrative fee schedule, similar to how physicians are currently reimbursed.  How did this market-based solution fare?  A paper by Newman, Barrette, and McGraves-Lloyd (2017) answers this question. We compared […]

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Philipson to join CEA

The WSJ reports: President Donald Trump named Tomas Philipson, an economist at the University of Chicago who has specialized in health-care policy, to the three-member Council of Economic Advisers on Monday. More information is in this White House press release.  Dr. Philipson is one of the founders of my current employer, Precision Health Economics.   I […]

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Off-label use of cancer drugs

When each drug is approved by the FDA, the drug is not approved to treat all patients.  Each drug receives an “indication” which basically represents the types of patients the drug can treat.  Giving the treatment to patients with said indication is known as “on label” prescribing. Drugs developed to treat one disease may sometimes […]

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Too many trials, not enough patients

As research in new cancer treatments has grown, scientists may have run into a serious roadblock: there many not be enough patients to fill the needed clinical trials.  As the New York Times reports: There are too many experimental cancer drugs in too many clinical trials, and not enough patients to test them on. The logjam […]

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Understanding The Value Of Innovations In Medicine

Health Affairs is holding an interesting event in September on “Understanding The Value Of Innovations In Medicine” at the National Press Club. They describe the event as follows: Value” is at the center of discussions of payment and policy, but value has different definitions and meanings reflecting the diversity of stakeholders in the healthcare system. […]

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The Stethoscope

The site 99% Invisible has an interesting post on the invention of the stethoscope had how it transformed medicine. René Laennec actually felt that patient’s accounts of their own disease were still important, but the quest for objective information about disease was underway, and the stethoscope was just the beginning. Now we have X-rays, CT […]

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Should we put an end to Medicare Advantage?

Austin Frakt of the Incidental Economist argues convincingly–and I agree with him–that the answer is no. Medicare Advantage plans have been found to be of higher quality than traditional Medicare. They also reduce wasteful use of health care by managing care, something the traditional program doesn’t do at all. Finally, they fill in gaps in coverage and […]

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Can Medicaid beneficiaries access primary care providers?

In general the answer is yes, but often with some difficulty.  AJMC recaps the findings from a the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Quick Stats section from July 21, 2017. 88.9% of primary care physicians said they are accepting new patients, based on 2015 data from the National Electronic Health Records Survey. However, […]

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How many people don’t have any health insurance options

Much of the news has claimed that the Affordable Care Act is a failure because individuals in many counties have few or even no health insurance options.  However, how many counties truly will have zero Obamacare exchange insurance options in 2018 ? The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that there are only 17 counties covering 9,595 […]

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