Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Do you live in an area with hospital competition?

Likely not.  At least according to some research by William Vogt.  In an NIHCM Issue Brief, Dr. Vogt states: The inpatient hospital market in the United States was transformed by a wave of hospital consolidation during the 1990s, which witnessed more than 900 mergers and acquisitions. Many cities came to be dominated by two or three large hospital systems, and […]

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Does Competition Improve Quality?

For the most part, the answer is “Yes” according to a recent study by Jung and Polsky.  The authors use a Herfindahl index to measure competition and examine how outcomes for home health patients vary based on the level of competition.  The (unadjusted) figures–based on data from OASIS— show that quality increases as competitions increases […]

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Market Concentration in Medicare Advantage

From the Commonwealth Fund: “The analysis says people have many plans to choose from but that enrollment is concentrated in a handful. It notes, for example, that the average Medicare beneficiary in 2010 has 33 plans from which to choose. But in 14 states and the District of Columbia, a single company (not the same […]

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Are health insurance markets competitive?

The answer: sometimes.  A study by Dafny (2009) finds that in markets with ten or more insurers, markets do seem to be competitive.  However, with six or less insurers, health insurers do have some market power due to switching costs. “Using data on ‘fully insured’ health plans offered to employees of 184 publicly-held firms in […]

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Should a Government Health Plan compete with Private Health Plans? A Rebuttal

Last month, I blogged about allowing a government-sponsored health plan to compete with private insurers.  Joe Paduda gives one argument in favor of a public health insurer that any economist would love: increased competition.   “The reality today is that almost every market is already dominated by a very few health plans, so much so that […]

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Does competition improve health care quality?

If economists decided to re-write the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt love Competition” may make the list.  However, does competition always improve quality?  Even in the case of health care? A paper by Scanlon et al. (2008) “…found no evidence of a strong and consistent relationship between HMO competition (measured either by the HHI or the […]

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