Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Measuring the Value of Decreased Mortality Rates

How do you measure the value of reduced mortality from a specific disease? Just because you are less likely to die from AIDS in a given year does not mean that your likelihood of dying from cancer will decrease. Thus, how does one model the monetary value of a decrease in disease-specific mortality within a […]

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Does Increased Hospital Spending Reduce Mortality?

According to Romley, Jena and Goldman (2011), the answer is yes. For each of 6 diagnoses at admission—acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, acute stroke, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, hip fracture, and pneumonia—patient admission to higher-spending hospitals was associated with lower risk-adjusted inpatient mortality. During 1999 to 2003, for example, patients admitted with acute myocardial infarction to […]

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Capitalism and Russia’s Alcohol Problem

It turns out that capitalism was not the cause of Russia’s current (largely alcohol-related) mortality crisis.  From an NBER working paper by Bhattacharya, Gathmann, and Miller (2012): Political and economic transition is often blamed for Russia’s 40% surge in deaths between 1990 and 1994. Highlighting that increases in mortality occurred primarily among alcohol-related causes and […]

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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 […]

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Medicaid’s Effect on Mortality

Does Medicaid coverage decrease mortality?  According to a recent study in NEJM, the answer is yes. “Mortality declined significantly (by 19.6 deaths per 100,000, for a relative reduction of 6.1%; P=0.001). Reductions were greatest among nonwhites and older adults, with smaller but significant reductions among whites and no effect among persons under the age of […]

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Surgical Complications and Mortality Rates

Mortality during surgery is dependent on two factors.  The first is the probability of having complications during surgery.  The second is the probability of dying conditional on having a complication.  One would expect that hospitals with low mortality rates would have both fewer complications and lower probability of death conditional on a complication.   A […]

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Winning the Nobel Prize gives you fame, fortune…and 1-2 years of added longevity

From Rabien and Oswald (2008) in the latest edition of the Journal of Health Economics: “It has been known for centuries that the rich and famous have longer lives than the poor and ordinary. Causality, however, remains trenchantly debated. The ideal experiment would be one in which extra status could somehow be dropped upon a sub-sample […]

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Evidence that Women are the stronger sex: Mortality after the death of a spouse

A few papers have found that mortality rises after the death of the spouse.  Some researchers have inferred that this is due to a causal effect of this emotionally traumatic event.  Further, married individuals generally live longer, so the loss of this “marriage protection” could be the cause of increased mortality.  On the other hand, […]

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Aviodable Mortality in 3 world cities: London vs. New York vs. Paris

A recent paper by Wesiz et al. (Eur J Pub Health 2008) attempts to compare mortality rates and avoidable mortality rates in the urban core of 3 world cities: London (Inner London); New York (Manhattan) and Paris. Mortality The authors find that Paris has the lowest mortality rates and New York has the highest mortality […]

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