How does the U.S. stack up?

According to the Commonwealth Fund: “An 11-country survey focusing on health care access, cost, and insurance coverage found that adults in the United States are by far the most likely to go without care because of costs, have trouble paying medical bills, encounter high medical bills even when insured, and have disputes with insurers or…

Why are coffins cheaper in California

How occupational licensing affects the cost of goods and services: “After Hurricane Katrina leveled the pine forest that had been their sole source of income, Benedictine monks in Louisiana  wanted to support themselves by making and selling coffins. Unfortunately for the monks, in Louisiana only a licensed undertaker can sell coffins. It’s the law, enforced…

Duan’s Smearing Estimator

The Problem Many times, researchers wish to transform the dependent variable of a regression in order to estimate parameter values.  Performing the transformation, however, complicates the calculation of the expected value of the dependent variable on the untransformed scale.  Assume, the Yi is the dependent variable. Assume the function g is used to transform the…

Quality of Care Measures Across Settings

How well does Medicare measure quality?  Not very well, especially across different treatment settings.  According to a RAND report: “Only 10 clinical conditions are addressed by reporting programs for more than one setting. Three clinical conditions are included in programs for three settings: (1) acute myocardial infarction, (2) perioperative/surgical care, and (3) urinary incontinence. Seven…

Proposal from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

Yesterday, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released a proposal for reducing the national debt. The full report can be found here and relies on five key pillars. These are: Enact tough discretionary spending caps and provide $200 billion in illustrative domestic and defense savings in 2015. Pass tax reform that dramatically reduces…