Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Do physicians care about patients’ cost?

A paper by Li and Laxminarayan (Health Econ forthcoming) examines an interesting question: Are physicians sensitive to drug prices faced by their patients? In an ideal world, physicians act as perfect agents for their patients, taking into consideration their medical needs and financial constraints. In reality, the choice of drug and whether a generic or brand-name […]

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PQRS in 2013

Some background: Created in March 2007, the PQRI established a financial incentive for eligible healthcare professionals to participate in a voluntary quality reporting program. By reporting on a minimum of 3 measures on a specified group of patients, a physician can earn a bonus payment of 0.5% on all of their Medicare billing for 2012. […]

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Physician Influence on Federal Health Spending, 1950s

The 1950s was a time of unprecedented technological advances in the science of medical care.  In 1955, epidemiologists at the University of Michigan developed a polio vaccine.  These advances lead the federal government to increase funding for research.  Between 1955 and 1960, Congress increased the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from $81 million […]

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Will the Doc Fix happen this year?

The Healthcare Economist is going on vacation for the next week. In the meantime, I pose to you, my reader, a bet.  Do you think the ‘doc fix’ gets passed?  Before you read on, make your predictions in the comments section below. Healthcare Economist’s Prediction

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Negotiating Power

On Monday I attended a talk at AcademyHealth on the impact of market consolidation on the cost of health care.  Particularly interesting was Robert (Bob) Berenson’s analysis of the effect of provider consolidation on negotiating power and health care prices.  Particularly, provider have been gaining market power of late, according to recent CTS site visits. […]

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Wisconsin Protests and Physician Integrity

Doctors have been giving out sick notes for teachers protesting Wisconsin’s threat to disband their union.  Not only is this wrong, but Dr. Rich of Covert Rationing argues that it isn’t even a form of civil disobedience.  Physicians are often put on a pedestal as the models of professional integrity.  Previous studies, however, have found that doctors […]

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In Support of a Fake Doctor

Recently, MSNBC reported that respected cardiologist and United Airlines captain Dr. William Hamman is in fact not a doctor at all.  “The AP found he had no medical residency, fellowship, doctoral degree or the 15 years of clinical experience he claimed. He attended medical school for a few years but withdrew and didn’t graduate.”  As a […]

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Physicians Prefer a Mixed Public-Private Healthcare System

The NEJM recently reported on physician views about the public option and the possible expansion of Medicare.  It turns out, most physicians favor the status quo of a mix of public and private financing.   Why would doctors support a public plan? It could be ideological. They may simply believe that more government health insurance […]

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The Erosion of the doctor-patient relationship

The New York Times reports (“Doctor and Patient, Now at Odds“) that the doctor-patient relationship is suffering. Patients no longer place absolute trust in their doctor for a variety of reasons. On the physician side, patients know that doctors are pressured by insurance companies reimbursement mechanisms to have shorter office visits. Reports from the media […]

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Your doctor says you have six months to live. Should you believe him?

Your doctor says you have six months to live. How accurate is this figure? Do you really have 4 moths to live? One year? A paper by Alexander and Christakis (2008) analyzes physicians predictions of patient survival. The authors find that physicians systematically overestimate how long the patient will live. This bias is exacerbated when […]

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