Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Public Policy' Category

Funding Physician Medical Education

Each year, more than $15 billion of taxpayers’ money is spent to support physicians in residency training. About one-third of this amount comes from Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Health Resources and Services Administration. The remaining nearly $10 billion flows through the Medicare program, primarily to academic medical centers via a complex […]

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The Mississippi Appendectomy

Access to care is a key issue for the poor. But for many poor, African-Americans, access to care is not the only impediment to regular visits to their doctor.  History can play a big role as well. For African-Americans, even going to a doctor can be a fraught historical act in Mississippi. There are the practical […]

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Innovation vs. Equity in Health Care Philanthropy

In the Denver Post, Dottie Lamm makes discusses Larry Ellison’s hope to live forever and his donation towards anti-aging research.  Ellison has donated $450 million to anti-aging research. Ms. Lamm worries that this research will only benefit the rich. If such measures are available only to billionaires, or millionaires, or even to “one-percenters,” I see […]

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What is MIPS?

Yesterday I posted about MIPS, the new Medicare physician reimbursement program set to begin in 2019.  The Health Affairs blog provides a nice summary of some of the changes. First and probably most importantly, the formulaic approach to setting base payment rates is gone, replaced with automatic increases for all doctors from 2015 through 2019. For […]

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Quality-Adjusted Cost Of Care

One of my paper (along with co-authors Darius Lakdawalla, Claudio Lucarelli, Sean Nicholson, Zeba M. Khan and Tomas J. Philipson) was published at Health Affairs.  The title of the study is: Quality-Adjusted Cost Of Care: A Meaningful Way To Measure Growth In Innovation Cost Versus The Value Of Health Gains.  The abstract is below. Technology drives both […]

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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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