Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Infectious Disease: Themes

An interesting post by Nicolas Bagley at the Incidental Economist provides a brief overview of a class he taught on infectious diseases and the law.  Looking at diseases ranging from cholera, Spanish flu, polio, AIDS, SARS, and Ebola, Bagley claims that ten key themes emerged: Governments are typically unprepared, disorganized, and resistant to taking steps […]

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Health in Baltimore

Baltimore is in the news, and not for the best reasons.  The arrest and eventual death of Freddie Gray have unleashed a series of protests and riots.  One conference where the Healthcare Economist had a poster presentation–the American Heart Association (AHA) Quality of Care and Outcomes Research (QCOR) Scientific Sessions (conference) was cancelled this week due […]

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I’d rather have HIV than diabetes

This is what a provocative article in the Spectator concludes. A recent large epidemiological study showed that, for those diagnosed with HIV now, life expectancy is similar to someone who does not have the virus. The medical profession now considers HIV a chronic disease; it’s regarded in public health terms in the same category as, […]

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Should the CDC warn Americans about a ‘potential’ epidemic?

Although at first glance, the answer would be ‘yes’, the answer is not so straight-forward.  Consider the case of the recent H7N9 influenza outbreak in China.  Although the media gave some coverage to this issue, the risk of a pandemic was not emphasized. The reason may be Bayesian updating.  Previous influenza threats in recent years […]

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NYC Soda Ban: Good Policy or Good Intentions Gone Awry?

New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg enacted a law that would limit New York City resident’s ability to purchase certain drinks.  No, not alcohol.  Soda.  NPR reports that the “ban would have limited the size of sugary drinks at restaurants, theaters and food carts to 16 ounces.”  Small businesses did not like the idea because large sugary […]

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Health Care Quality in Cuba

Many people who claim the U.S. healthcare system is broken point to Cuba as a country that spends little on health but gets high returns.  Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko even visited Cuba and claimed that it could be a model for a single payer system in the U.S.  As the Economist reports: “Until recently, Cubans […]

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Employers Pushing Healthier Living

“This isn’t about big brother telling people what to do,” says John Rice, GE’s vice-chairman, “but helping them make better choices.” The Economist reviews large employers efforts to improve employee health and thus decrease their own health care costs.  Some of these efforts include: Prohibiting smoking on company premises Handing our healthy recipes Building on-site […]

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Drinking in College is “Largely Positive”?

According to Marshall Poe, drinking in college has more positives than negatives. “Rowdy drinking is not the problem. It is an essential, ineradicable, and largely positive element of American college culture. The problem is students who cannot or will not engage in rowdy drinking safely, for they often harm themselves and others.” How is drinking a […]

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Japan’s Nuclear Fallout: The Health Impact

The before-and-after pictures of the tsunami in Japan are heart-wrenching.  And things look to be getting worse.  From the New York Times: “With hydrogen gas bubbling up from chemical reactions set off by the hot fuel rods, the storage pond produced a fire and powerful explosion on Tuesday morning that blew a 26-foot-wide hole in […]

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End of the War on Drugs?

According to Businessweek: President Barack Obama’s plan to fight drug abuse and trafficking proposes spending $15.5 billion next year and shifting the emphasis from fighting a war on drugs to treating the problem as a national health issue, the administration’s top drug-policy adviser said in an interview. “It’s a disease, it’s diagnosable and it’s certainly […]

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