Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Does a robust economy improve your grandmother’s longevity?

A number of studies have found that economic growth (in the short-run) has adverse affects on individual’s health and economic downturns actually cause health improvements.  During an economic downturn, individuals work less, sleep more and reduce their alcohol and cigarette usage; all these actions have a salutatory effects on health. For working adults, recessions decreased […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Consumer Satisfaction with Healthcare Websites

ForeSee released a study showing which kinds of healthcare-oriented websites do the best job satisfying customers. Their results show health insurance websites have dismal customer satisfaction compared to other kinds of healthcare sites (such as pharmaceutical sites, hospital websites, health information sites, etc.). A summary of the overall customer satisfaction rates are below. Health Information […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries report poorer health than current enrollees

According to Avalere Health the people who will be added to Medicaid through healthcare reform are more sick — and therefore will be more expensive to treat — than current beneficiaries.  This chart below uses data from the 2008 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) to demonstrate this point.  

Read the rest of this entry »

Why do we die?

What factors predict how long we live?  What are the best ways to forestall death? The determinants of premature death are 40% behavoiral, 30% genetic, but only 10% medical care.  It is important to remember that medical care and health are far from synonomous.

Read the rest of this entry »

Does more education improve your health?

A recent JHE article by Park and Kang wonder if more education induces people to have a healthier lifestyle.  They use data on Korean men to see if this is the case.  They find that “an increase in education induces individuals to exercise regularly, and to get regular health checkups…[but]…education has little effect on smoking […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Bad economy may be good for your health

While your wallet may be a little lighter and your 401(k) may have taken a beating, the economic downturn may actually improve your health. The N.Y. Times reports that “people tend not to take care of themselves in boom times — drinking too much (especially before driving), dining on fat-laden restaurant meals and skipping exercise […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Poverty and Health in Developing Countries

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo find that for rural households, the probability that the mother is alive is 36 percentage points higher if the family has a daily per capita expenditures (DPCE) of $6 to $10 versus a DCPE of $1 to $2.  Using a panel data set specification, the authors also find that adults […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Can poverty improve health?

A recent paper by Franco et al. (2007) claims that increased poverty may improve health (see also NPR’s Marketplace report). How is this possible? Lower income reduces excess food as well as cigarette consumption.  Further, poverty makes public transportation less affordable and individuals may substitute walking for taking the bus.  The authors study Cuba’s experience […]

Read the rest of this entry »