Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Public Policy' Category

The cause of drug violence

According to one former police officer, the effect of drugs themselves are not the main cause of violence: …drug users aren’t responsible for violence–high people just want to enjoy their high.  Drug violence is business violence….the largest causes of drug murders are territorial disputes over market share.  If no one will help you defend your property–you can’t trademark […]

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Coordinating Federal Efforts for Patients with Serious Mental Illness

Following up a December 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, testimony last week Linda T. Kohn, Director of Health Care at the GAO describes how fragmented the federal government provides very fragmented support services care for individuals with serious mental illness.  Coordinate across agencies is lacking and few agencies have conducted evaluations of their programs. Agencies identified 112 federal programs […]

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The Republican Response to Obamacare

For years, Republicans have campaigned to repeal Obamacare. The biggest question in their campaign is what to replace it with. One year ago, Republicans unveiled the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act (Patient CARE).  Now, the Republicans have a new plan.   What’s in the new plan?  The Healthcare Economist reviews the highlights. No […]

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Government IT

Information technology without a doubt is helping to restructure the very fabric of society, business and government.  However, these changes do not come without challenges.  For instance electronic health records (EHR) may harm the patient-physician interaction and are susceptible to hacker attacks. A recent Fiscal Times article demonstrates how government programs often do not invest in IT infrastructure efficiently. Meanwhile, […]

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Why isn’t there more mental health drug innovation?

There have been a number of efforts emphasize the importance of mental health and put mental health treatments at the same level of respect as physical health.  For instance, there was the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 and also The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) , which: …requires group […]

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What is Precision Medicine?

In his State of the Union, the President said that he was looking for additional funds for precision medicine. What would these funds be used for and how much money are we talking about? The details were revealed last week. The Presdient describes precision medicine as “delivering the right treatments, at the right time, every […]

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1 in 5 dollars of the US economy to be spent on healthcare by 2023

CMS Office of the Actuary (OACT) projects that the slowdown in healthcare spending will not last. From an article in Health Affairs this month: In 2013 health spending growth is expected to have remained slow, at 3.6 percent, as a result of the sluggish economic recovery, the effects of sequestration, and continued increases in private […]

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Are you really disabled?

When the government extends benefits to individuals with specific characteristics (e.g., poverty, disability), the number of people who claim to have these characteristics will necessarily increase.  For instance, there are reports that unemployed individuals who no longer qualify for welfare are now moving onto the disability rolls in large numbers.  Are these people really disabled? A recent study  by Gosling […]

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CBO presents ominous debt projections

Like most years, in recent history, the Congressional Budget Office’s 2014 Long-term Budget Outlook is not rosy. Between 2009 and 2012, the federal government recorded the largest budget deficits relative to the size of the economy since 1946, causing its debt to soar. The total amount of federal debt held by the public is now […]

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The Efficiency Frontier in Health Economics

Which treatments are better than others? Ideally, medicines that provide large health benefits and cost little will be preferred to those that offer little health benefits and/or cost a lot. In health economics, one way to systematically evaluate different treatments is the efficiency frontier. The efficiency frontier methodology is an extension of the standard approach […]

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