Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

FDA to Consider Patient Preferences

Typically, the FDA evaluates drugs and devices based on whether they are safe and effective. Patient treatment preferences play little to no role in whether a drug or device is approved by the FDA. However, times are a changing. On Wednesday, the FDA released draft guidance whereby they recommend the inclusion of patient preference information […]

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Narrow Networks

One of the ways health plans in the health insurance exchanges have been able to keep premiums down is through offering beneficiaries very narrow networks. By steering patients towards “efficient” doctors, premiums stay low. However, patients may worry that these “low cost” doctors are lower quality than those outside of the network. The tradeoff between […]

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Does your FitBit need to be FDA approved?

Right now, the answer is no, but in the near future, this may no longer be the case. The FDA has released a draft guidance on how it will regulate the new generation of wearable technology.  This guidance  says it will not regulate “general wellness” products like the FitBit. However, if the wearable cites health benefits for […]

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Regulatory Tsunami?

Medicare is working hard to make sure that doctors are efficiently providing high-quality care. Programs such as the Physician Quality Reporting System (PRQS) and the Value-Based Payment Modifier all are aimed to improve quality and lower cost. The downside of such programs, however, is that the impose reporting burdens on physicians. For instance, Medicare can […]

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Residency Hour Restrictions and Patient Outcomes

Residency has been a right of passage for physicians. Long 36-hour shifts mix with the excitement of new learning. However, recent regulations have now capped residency weekly hours at 80. Although patient medical care in the short-run may improve (because physicians are less tired), in the long run, are physicians exposed to as wide a […]

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Too much or too little regulation

Getting Obamacare subsidies may be too easy or too hard depending on your perspective. From MSN: In May 970,000 people had citizenship data errors in their Obamacare applications. As of August, 450,000 of those cases have been resolved, 210,000 are in progress and 60,000 new documents arrive every day. The 310,000 remaining applicants will receive […]

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How do states plan to control Obamacare premiums?

Obamacare mandates that individuals need to buy health insurance or else they will face a financial penalty. This threat, however, is not credible unless there are affordable health insurance options for most Americans. What are states doing to hold down health insurance rates in the ACA’s health insurance exchanges? A RWJF working paper provides some […]

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Regulating 23andMe

A number of companies, such as 23andMe, allow individuals to sequence their own genes in order to attempt to determine if they have an elevated risk for certian diseases. This sector has largely been unregulated…until now. The Economist reports, On November 22nd the FDA…sent a stern letter to 23andMe, a genetic-testing firm. Despite “more than […]

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The Trade-offs of Healthcare Regulation

When a problem appears, politicians often call for more regulation. Wall Street collapses? Frank-Dodd. Health insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions? PPACA. Need to protect patient privacy? HIPAA. But are there downsides to increased regulation? A paper by Cotet and Benjamin (2013) examines just this question. In particular, they examine the welfare implications of regulations that […]

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The end of the FDA?

When Alfred Caronia worked for a drug company, he promoted some drug’s off-label use. The Department of Justice did not take kindly to Caronia’s behavior and sued him for violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). He was convicted, but appealed the conviction. Caronia argued that this commercial speech is protected by the first […]

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