Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Public Policy' Category

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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CBO 2014 Budget Projections

California Healthline reports that At least one million fewer people than previously expected are projected to obtain health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges this year, primarily because of the troubled rollout of the federal health insurance exchange website last fall, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s new annual budget outlook report. WonkBlog has a […]

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Are voters like medieval doctors?

According to “In Praise of Passivity” by philosphopher Mike Huemer, the answer may be yes. Voters, activists, and political leaders of the present day are in the position of medieval doctors. They hold simple, prescientific theories about the workings of society and the causes of social problems, from which they derive a variety of remedies-almost all […]

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Geographic Variation in Health Care Spending and Promotion of High-Value Health Care: Preliminary Committee Observations

Last week I shared a report I wrote at Acumen that described regional variation in spending, utilization and quality for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.  Based on our work, an Institute of Medicine committee (lead by Joseph P. Newhouse, Alan Garber, and Robin P. Graham) reached the following conclusions in their newly released report: Health care […]

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What does a NICE health economist do?

What role do health economists at the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) play and how do they conduct their cost effectiveness analyses for new treatments? I answer this question today based on NICE’s own documents.  According to their guidelines manual, the role of the health economist in clinical guideline development is to: […]

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Theory vs. Reality: End of Life Care

Charles Ornstein is a well-regarded health journalist who has written extensively about end-of-life care. Then his mother became sick. How did his preconceptions about end-of-life care change (if at all) as a result of his experience. An excerpt from the full article is below.   I’ve always thought that the high cost of end-of-life care is […]

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2013 Republican Response: A Healthcare Review

Earlier this week, I posted on the President’s State of the Union address.  Now its time to discuss the Republican Response. The main critic offered by Senator Marco Rubio is how Obamacare is increasing health care costs, shifting these costs to employers, and slowing down employment growth and the growth of employer-provided insurance. And because […]

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2013 State of the Union: A Healthcare Review

What did the President’s speech say about health care? Today I give a review. On Medicare, I’m prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission. What does Simpson-Bowles propose?  Here is a list: […]

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