Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'International Health Care Systems' Category

Cancer drug pricing in Europe

How do Euroepan countries reimburse for pharmaceuticals? A paper by Pauwels et al. (2014) provides an nice summary. I review that article today. With the exception of Germany, most countries had a national and/or regional drug budget.  Germany is also unique in that only Germany and the UK allow for free pricing, whereas other countries […]

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Adding the patient perspective to health technology assessment

Health technology assessments (HTAs) aim to measure the cost effectiveness of a given treatment or set of treatments for a specific patient populations.  Often, these assessments are conducted from the point of view of the payer–either a national health system or the individual insurer perspective.  This payer focused perspective can often focus largely on treatment costs rather […]

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Does private ownership improve quality of care?

In the case of elderly care services in Sweden, the answer is ‘yes’.  In Bergman et al. (2016), the authors… assemble a large data set on elderly care services in Sweden between 1990 and 2009 and estimate how opening to private provision affected mortality rates – an important and not easily contractible quality dimension – […]

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Doctors with Borders

Although I believe that a lot of the pundits claims of economic downturns due to the Brexit are overblown, there are clearly many uncertainties to resolve.  The Telegraph reports on how Brexit will affect doctors working in the UK. As a result of the country’s decision to leave the EU, health regulators may have to change the […]

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Are expensive cancer drugs worth the money?

A paper by Sebastian Salas-Vega and Elias Mossialos attempts to answer this question looking at nine countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States) using data between 2004 and 2014.  They find that: All nine countries—most notably France and Japan—witnessed an improvement in neoplasm-related years of potential life lost, […]

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Is balance billing a good thing?

Are health care prices set on an open market? Almost certainly not. In many cases, physician fees are set by insurers. Currently, for instance, Medicare sets fees for physicians administratively. At Medicare’s inception, however, Medicare did allow physicians to charge whatever fees they wanted; Medicare would pay a base rate and patients would be responsible […]

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Health insurance in China

Although China has the world’s largest economy, the average individual is actually fairly poor.  Average incomes in the country are less than $15,000 per year, ranking #121 in the world.  However, a vast majority of Chinese have health insurance due to some recent reforms. A paper by Zhang et al. (2016) uses data from the 2011-2012 China […]

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Healthcare for all in Latin America?

The Economist has an interesting article surveying some of the efforts in Latin America to expand health insurance coverage.  Below is an excerpt: One model is that of a tax-financed system with government as sole payer (as in Britain’s National Health Service). That applies, of course, to the famed health service in communist Cuba, as well […]

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Canada’s single payer system doesn’t cover drugs?

Yes it is true.  Wang et al. (2015) report: Unlike physician and hospital services, which are universal in Canada, coverage for prescription drugs dispensed outside hospitals falls outside the Canada Health Act and provincial governments only provide public drug programs for some population groups,primarily seniors and social assistance recipients…Canada is still the only country that […]

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Economists’ Declaration

In September 2015, 267 economists from 44 countries, led by Lawrence H. Summers of Harvard University, signed the Economists Declaration on Universal Health Coverage, which calls on global policymakers to prioritize a pro-poor pathway to universal health coverage as an essential pillar of sustainable development.  The full text is here.  An excerpt is below: Universal […]

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