Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'HC Statistics' Category

How much are you willing to pay to live an extra year?

Health Economists often use the cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) metric to answer this question.  QALYs are used to measure not only the additional years of life from a treatment, but also the quality of life.  For instance, you may prefer to live 1 year in perfect health to two years in a coma. […]

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Is the US health care spending slowdown real?

Between 2000 and 2007 annual health expenditures in the US grew by 6.6% per year. Between 2008 and 2011, however, the growth rate was only 3.3 percent per year. Are structural changes (e.g., the ACA) helping cause the slowdown? According to Dranove et al. (2014), the answer is likely ‘no’. The authors use new data […]

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What’s in store for 2015?

PwC’s Health Research Institute projects what is going to happen to health spending in 2015.  According to their annual report, Medical Cost Trend: Behind the Numbers: At first glance, the health sector [in 2015] appears to be reverting to historical patterns of bouncing back as the nation recovers from the economic doldrums. Whether spending more freely because […]

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Regional Variation in Medical Spending: A Texas Case Study

A large body of research (including my own) indicates that there exists significant regional variation in medical spending. What is the source of these differences: differences in the prices paid per service or differenes in the amount of healthcare services used? The conventional wisdom is that Medicare does a better job of controlling prices, and […]

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Health care cost rising by almost 10%

Many times I have been asked whether the Affordable Care Act is a good thing.  The 1 sentence answer is: “Yes, because it expands health insurance coverage to more Americans, but no because it adds many layers of regulation and does little to slow cost growth.”  This last point is rearing its ugly head.  Sally Pipes […]

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U.S. life expectancy lagging peers

From Wonk Blog: There is a positive trend in life expectancy in the U.S.  America’s relative ranking on life expectancy, however, is not among the lowest in the developed world.

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Has the cost curve bent?

The answer may be ‘yes’ according to recent figures from the CMS Office of the Actuary (OACT). For the fourth consecutive year, growth in health care spending remained low, increasing by 3.7 percent in 2012 to $2.8 trillion. At the same time, the share of the economy devoted to health fell slightly (from 17.3 percent to 17.2 percent) as […]

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The skewed Medicaid spending distribution

Many people claim Medicaid recipients are moochers, relying on the federal government.  Further, Medicaid costs states a lot of money.  Why don’t Medicaid programs just raise copays to reduce unnecessary use of medical care? The reason is that the vast majority of Medicaid beneficiaries don’t spend too much money.  Medicaid is expensive mostly due to […]

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Foreign-Educated Healthcare Workers

Many of the health care workers serving Americans were either born or educated abroad?  Where do they come from?  A paper by Chen et al. (2013) gives the answer. Top 5 countries for foreign educated physicians India: 20.4% Philippines: 8.1% Pakistan: 6.0% Mexico: 5.4% Dominican Republic: 3.2% Top 5 countries for foreign educated nurses (RNs) […]

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Geographic variation in Medicare and Medicaid spending

In some research I conducted with the Institute of Medicine, we found that there is little relationship between the geographic variation in Medicare and Medicaid spending.  Research by Todd Gilmer and Rick Kronick of UC-San Diego conduct their own research using Medicaid data from 2001-2005.  Like my own research, they find that a state’s per […]

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