Is health care demand elastic?

Most experts believe that health care demand is fairly inelastic. If you are sick, you will not be very price sensitive. There are exceptions to this rule (e.g., elective surgery such as plastic surgery, purchases of eyeglasses) but most studies find that patients are fairly insensitive to changes in health care prices. For instance, the…

Obama vs. Tanner

President Obama says: “If you like your current health-care plan, you can keep it.” “You will pay less.” “Quality will improve.” Michael Tanner says: You can’t buy any insurance, only “insurance that includes all the benefits government thinks you should have.”  Further, the government plan may dominate the market because the public plan “would be…

Rationing Health Care

The N.Y. Times Magazine has a nice piece on rationing health care, but nothing too new if you’ve been a loyal reader of the Healthcare Economist. Below is an excerpt. “Health care is a scarce resource, and all scarce resources are rationed in one way or another. In the United States, most health care is…

The American Forty Years War

The U.S. is currently involved with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but its longest running entanglement is its war on drugs.  Marketplace reports that “the war on drugs, though, has been going on for four decades. Forty years ago today President Nixon asked Congress to create a national anti-drug policy. It became the war on…

Public Plan enrollment freeze

Many health reformers are urging President Obama to pass legislation which would create a public, Medicare-style health plan which would be available for all individuals.  The plan would be open to all…or would it.  If a government ran a huge deficit and had to cut spending, would there be an enrollment freeze if the public…

Physician Organization and Quality of Care

Previous studies have found that paitents of staff/group model HMOs consistently report lower quality of care than patients of Network HMOs.  The finding of Rodriguez et al. (2009) contradicts these assumptions.  They find the following: Physicians belonging to integrated medical groups had better performance on the communication and care coordination measures. Physicians belonging to medical…