Cancer screening rates

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) publishes screeening rates for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers over the past 25 years.  I have reproduced the charts below.  I wonder how the USPSTF recommendation in November 2009 that women ages 40 to 49 should not undergo screening unless they are in a high-risk group will affect mammography rates in the most recent…

Are screening subsidies enough?

The answer is ‘no.’ For instance, consider the case where breast cancer screening is subsidized, but you are uninsured an breast cancer treatment is unaffordable.  What is the value of breast cancer screening?  It is probably pretty low since if you find out you have breast cancer, there is not much you can do about…

Do I need an Annual Wellness Visit?

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Health Reform, Obamacare) mandates that Medicare provide an annual wellness visit (AWV) to all beneficiaries free of charge.  Today, I answer some questions related to CMS’s implementation of the mandated annual wellness visit requirement. What is included in an annual wellness visit?  The AWV includes “the establishment of, or update…

Sigmoidoscopy: The colonoscopy’s cheaper, equally effective predecessor

Physicians claims that colonoscopies are the gold standard of preventive medicine.  In 2008 the American Cancer Society deemed the colonoscopy as the preferred test and the health reform law (PPACA) will compel insurance companies to cover colonoscopies.  But does the sigmoidoscopy–the colonoscopy’s predecessor–offer less expensive, less invasive, equally effective preventive care? “[The sigmoidoscopy] looks at…

Prevention and Cost

More evidence that although preventive may improve patient health, it may also increase costs.  (See also my post from 12 Feb 2008). Afschin Gandjour (2009) “Aging diseases – do they prevent preventive health care from saving costs?”  Health Economics, v18(3): 355-362.