Category Archives: Health Policy

What Jonathan Gruber Didn’t Say About Obamacare

Jonathan Gruber went from unknown to infamous in the last few weeks, a result of disparaging comments he made about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and even more disparaging ones he made about the American people. According to Gruber, the Obama … Continue reading

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Found: Billions of Wasted Medicare Dollars

It is well known that Medicare expenditures threaten the financial solvency of the U.S. government. And it is pretty well agreed upon that some of our Medicare spending goes towards wasteful medical care. But which medical care is wasteful and … Continue reading

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Outpatient Spending Is Catching Up To Hospital Expenditures

For decades now, policymakers have been trying to slow down the growth of healthcare costs. For much of this time, a large part of that effort was directed at hospital spending. American hospitals are extremely expensive, and take care of … Continue reading

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Here’s Why Funding Medical Education Helps Vulnerable Patients

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine in June (no one accused me of being a timely blogger!) shows that academic medical centers often provide poorly-reimbursed services that other healthcare institutions avoid. Where more general hospitals might avoid … Continue reading

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How Medicare Is Punishing Hospitals That Care For Poor People

Such a no-brainer: If patients who receive care at Hospital A are more likely to get readmitted to the hospital 10, 20 or 30 days after discharge than patients in Hospital B, then Hospital A must be doing something wrong. … Continue reading

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The Best-Selling Biologic Drugs

Biologic drugs are a big deal for the pharmaceutical industry right now. Blockbuster chemicals for common conditions like diabetes and hypertension are largely things of the past. We’re getting pretty good at controlling those conditions, and few people expect a … Continue reading

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Racial Disparities in Outcomes after Heart Attack Were Eliminated by Free Prescriptions

High costs make it hard for many patients to afford their medications. That’s why some medical experts believe we should give important medications to patients for free, to see if that improves their health outcomes. One famous example of this … Continue reading

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Don’t Blame Obamacare for Health Insurance Turnover

When the health insurance exchanges began operating last year, critics complained that people were being forced out of their insurance plans. They correctly pointed out that Obama was mistaken to promise that “if you like your healthcare plan, you will … Continue reading

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Debating New Ways to Pay

One of my favorite reporters, Dan Gorenstein from NPR’s Marketplace, interviewed me and a few other people recently, to discuss challenges of trying to pay physicians, reward them essentially, for providing high-quality care. It turns out to be a much … Continue reading

Posted in Behavioral Economics and Public Policy, Health Policy

Could Pay-For-Performance Lead To Overuse Of Antibiotics?

Not long ago, the Joint Commission (a healthcare quality organization) established that patients with pneumonia should receive antibiotics within four hours of diagnosis. Timely diagnosis and treatment can be the difference between life and death in patients with this illness. … Continue reading

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