Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

How much does a hospital stay cost?

A paper by Geue et al. (2012) attempts to answer this question by examining five different methods of estimating the cost of a continuous hospital stay (CIS). Each method is discussed below in more detail. Costing Methods

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Healthcare Costs to Rise by over 7 percent in 2013

Reuters reports on a PwC study evaluating health care premium growth. “The cost of healthcare services is expected to rise 7.5 percent in 2013, more than three times the projected rates for inflation and economic growth, according to an industry research report released on Thursday. But premiums for large employer-sponsored health plans could increase by […]

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AHIP claims health reform will increase premiums. Will it really?

The lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is touting a study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers showing that health reform would increase premiums significantly.  The findings claim that insurance premiums would rise between “26 percent between 2009 and 2013 under the current system and by 40 percent during this same period” if these four health reform provisions […]

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Why is healthcare so expensive?

Why is medical care so expensive? It depends on who you ask. Victor Fuchs (1996) polled 46 health economists, 44 economic theorists and 42 practicing physicians. Fuchs asked if they agreed with the following statement: “The primary reason for the increase in the health sector’s share of GDP over the past 30 years is technological […]

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Does Hospice Care Reduce Medicare’s cost for end-of-life care?

Historically, Medicare recipients in their final year of life generated about six times the expenditures of the average surviving Medicare enrollee and accounted for almost 30 percent of total program spending. However, in the late 1980s, a confluence of two forces helped increase the use of hospice care among Medicare beneficiaries. First, in 1984, Medicare […]

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Why is Medical Care so expensive?

Why does Medicare spend $7,500 for patients in El Paso, Texas but spends $15,000 for patients in McAllen, Texas?  It McAllen richer? Does McAllen receive better care?  Are patients sicker in McAllen?   “Come on” the general surgeon finally said. “We all know these arguments are bullshit.  There is overutilization here pure and simple.”  Doctors, he said, […]

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When do patients find out how much they will pay for their drugs?

Consumer Reports writes that “66% of those polled by Consumer Reports said they found out the cost of a drug when they picked it up at the pharmacy counter, while just 4% said they had a conversation with their doctor about the cost of a drug.”  Because doctors do not discuss cost with their patients, these […]

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Prevention and Cost

More evidence that although preventive may improve patient health, it may also increase costs.  (See also my post from 12 Feb 2008). Afschin Gandjour (2009) “Aging diseases – do they prevent preventive health care from saving costs?”  Health Economics, v18(3): 355-362.

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Transportation Brokerage Services Lower Health Care Costs

Transportation issues can create significant barriers to accessing quality health care.  If you do not have a car, physically cannot drive, or do not have public transportation where you live, getting to the doctor’s office can be difficult.  Although the federal government mandates that state Medicaid programs provide nonemergency medical transportation services to vulnerable populations, […]

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Affordability Index

Everyone knows that health insurance is getting more and more expensive.  But how can we measure how expensive it is?  A paper by UC-San Diego professors Richard Kronick and Todd Gilmer creates an “affordability index” to measure this.  The affordability index is equal to the per-capita, non-elderly health spending divided by the median income.  In […]

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