Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Public Policy' Category

Do expensive drugs reduce the price of health?

The answer is ‘yes’ according to a report by the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) titled Reforming Biopharmaceutical Pricing at Home and Abroad. Innovations such as new drugs often reduce the price of health even when the new drug is very expensive relative to other goods. Consider the example of a patient diagnosed with HIV […]

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2018 State of the Union: Healthcare Recap

What did you think of the State of the Union address?  I won’t get into all the policies and positions put forth by President Trump, but I will review his statements related to health care. And we are serving our brave veterans, including giving our veterans choice in their healthcare decisions. Last year, the Congress […]

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Does preventive care save money?

Aaron Carroll argues ‘no’ and–in most but not all cases–I agree with him.  Here is the evidence he cites: More health insurance does not reduce emergency department (ED) visits.  States that expanded Medicaid eligibility with ACA funding saw an increase in ED visits relative to non-expansion states.  In Oregon, individuals who won an eligibility ‘lottery’ to […]

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What is evidence-based health policy?

Many people have heard of evidence-based medicine (EBM).  A perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine by Katherine Baicker and Amitabh Chandra, however, tries to define what evidence-based health policy (EBHP) is.  They list three key criteria: Policies need to be well-specified.  For instance, “expand Medicaid coverage” is too general, whereas specifying that benefit package A […]

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Innovation in small markets

The introduction of new treatment technologies typically occurs where there is a large market.  A lot of innovations are developed to treat disease that affect a large number of people in the developed world because the financial returns are large.  It is less likely to observe innovation in the treatment of rare diseases or diseases […]

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Is your state solvent?

That is the question that a new study by the Mercatus Center attempts to answer with their “Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition 2017 Edition.” They found that the most financially solvent states (from best to worst) are: 1. Florida 2. North Dakota 3. South Dakota 4. Utah 5. Wyoming Yet all is not perfect […]

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Should Republicans support Unions?

I’m not talking about civil unions (that topic is for another blog)…but instead actual trade unions. Compared to Democrats, Republicans have been relatively pro-business and anti-union for many years.  However, The Atlantic has an article making the case that Republicans should become more pro union.  Perhaps not pro-union in the traditional US union setting but […]

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Trials in Health Policy

Scientists often use randomized controlled trials (RCT) to examine whether certain treatments have a causal effect on patient outcomes.  For social scientists, however, conducting an RCT is more difficult.  Nevertheless, there have been a number of health policy trials. In a recent NEJM paper, Newhouse and Normand (2017) review some of these trials.  A summary […]

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Will Better Care deliver better care?

The Senate’s new health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, proposes a number of changes to the Affordable Care Act.  The Kaiser Family Foundation has a detailed breakdown of the bill and compares it with the Affordable Care Act that President Obama passed and the American Health Care Act that was proposed […]

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The Future of Oncology Treatment and Value Assessment

Value frameworks are all the rage of late.  But are payers really using them? According to my colleague Jeremy Schafer, the answer is yes.  From an article in Drug Topics: “Value assessment may become more important as the health-care market shifts to outcomes and value-based reimbursement models,” said Jeremy Schafer, PharmD, MBA, Senior Vice President […]

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