Health Wonk Review to the “Rescue”

Over the past few days, the rescue of the Chilean miners has captivated the world.  The men had been locked underground since August 5, 2010, when the San José copper-gold mine, near Copiapó, Chile, collapsed, leaving 33 men trapped deep below ground.  After so much waiting, the look of unadulterated joy on the miners’ family members’ faces produced heart-warming pictures such as these.

Voice in my head: But Jason, you are supposed to be hosting the health wonk review today.  What do the Chilean miners have to do with health policy blogs?

There are two connections.  First, I am shamelessly attempting to tie this edition of the HWR review to current events.  Second, on a smaller scale, this edition of the Health Work Review will try to rescue readers from boring, unintelligent, naive blog posts (groan!).

And with this long-winded introduction complete, let’s get to the best health policy writing on the web!


  • If you only read one blog post (or series of posts) from this HWR, go to The Incidental Economist to find out the real reasons why the US health care system so expensive.  Aaron Carroll’s analysis is truly excellent work.




  • The government has gotten in the business of taxing vices.  Sin taxes make consumers pay more for cigarettes and alcohol, and health reform has even instituted a tanning tax.  With all the recent policy initiatives at the federal level have focused on reducing obesity and improving health by getting people to eat better, The Notwithstanding Blog wonders why the government is subsidizing high fructose corn syrup and taxing vegetables.



  • Hospitals should not run ACOs according to Ken Terry of
  • Healthcare Economist Jason Shafrin (that’s me) believes that gaining market power–rather than improving patient outcomes–may be the real reason providers are ACO proponents.



  1. Thanks for including our submission from Occam PM, and for this excellent edition of HWR (and don’t apologize for the shameless tie-in to current events, I’ve been stewing over how to do that today too!) I second the recommendation for The Incidental Economist series: it’s an excellent one that really goes point by point through the entire murky world of the health care economy, and tries to explain what exactly we’re up against. I learned a lot reading it this past month, more so than most sound-bite laden mainstream “news” stories.

  2. Pingback: InsureBlog
  3. Thanks for including our post.

    However, I think you misread it. The simplified dialogue actually goes like this:

    The United States: Private insurers cannot deny coverage to children with preexisting conditions.
    Insurers: That’s fine…then we just won’t offer insurance products for any children.
    California: That’s fine, but starting in January, if you do that you won’t be able to sell to any adults in the individual market, either.
    Insurers: Oh.

  4. Ah. My attempt to be clever obscured the point of your post. I will update.

  5. Another timely, livley roundup. Thanks for linking to the NatNetBoston health and science map. Anyone care to add their own? TR

  6. Hi Jason,

    Thanks for featuring our blog post on concierge medicine. This was an excellent summary of health care “must reads”

    Jamie Rauscher, Editor Bedside Manner

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