Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Cancer screening rates

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) publishes screeening rates for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers over the past 25 years.  I have reproduced the charts below.  I wonder how the USPSTF recommendation in November 2009 that women ages 40 to 49 should not undergo screening unless they are in a high-risk group will affect mammography rates in the most recent […]

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Are screening subsidies enough?

The answer is ‘no.’ For instance, consider the case where breast cancer screening is subsidized, but you are uninsured an breast cancer treatment is unaffordable.  What is the value of breast cancer screening?  It is probably pretty low since if you find out you have breast cancer, there is not much you can do about […]

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Do I need an Annual Wellness Visit?

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Health Reform, Obamacare) mandates that Medicare provide an annual wellness visit (AWV) to all beneficiaries free of charge.  Today, I answer some questions related to CMS’s implementation of the mandated annual wellness visit requirement. What is included in an annual wellness visit?  The AWV includes “the establishment of, or update […]

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Does Prescription Drug Coverage Save Money?

Many experts have claimed that increasing Medicare beneficiary’s access to prescription drugs through Medicare Part D is cost saving.  Even if it does increase cost, by increasing patient adherence to various prescription drugs, Medicare could prevent certain expensive hospitalizations and emergency room visits. The only problem is that it doesn’t. According to Liu et al. […]

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Does Preventive Care Save Money?

“…the broad generalizations by many presidential candidates can be misleading. These statements convey the message that substantial resources can be saved through prevention. Although some prevention measures do save money, the vast majority reviewed in the health economics literature do not.” Cohen JT, Neumann PJ, and Weinstein MC (2008) “Does Preventive Care Save Money? Health […]

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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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Publicly Provided Prevention Health Plan

Most physicians, public health officials and economists believe that most individuals do not receive sufficient levels of preventive care.  Only half of American adults receive all recommended screening and preventive care. The Partnership for Prevention has a plan to increase preventive care utilization. The organization proposes introducing: “..federally funded insurance programs [that] would provide highly […]

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The paradox of better screening

Does better screening lead to improvements in health outcomes?  Conventional wisdom holds that this is always true.  For instance, catching breast cancer at an early stage greatly improves survival probabilities.  However, early screening can lead to a statistical anomaly where better screening appears to improve mortality rates even when treatments are entirely ineffective. Here is […]

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China and Universal Health Care

The Wall Street Journal reports that China is aiming for Universal Health Care.  The Chinese hope to cover 90% of the population within 2 years, and provide health coverage for all Chinese by 2020.  “This all stands in contrast to China’s current system, which provides little government funding to government hospitals and requires patients to pay heavy out-of-pocket […]

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Self-protection and insurance

Typically, economists when economists look at the health insurance market, they focus on the insurance side of it. By this I mean to define insurance as the purchase of a product which will reimburse the buyer in the case of an adverse event. However, one must also look at the concept of protection. Protection is […]

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