How to get cheap Lipitor tomorrow

Is this a spam post?  Is the Healthcare Economist working for Pfizer?  The answer to these questions are no and no. However, there are two easy ways to get the cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor for a lower price tomorrow: Buy the generic form of Lipitor Buy Lipitor According to Marketplace, on Friday Lipitor will go…

Holistic Regulation

“We must have a strategy that regulates the financial system as a whole, in a holistic way, not just its individual components.” Ben S. Bernanke, “Financial Reform to Address Systemic Risk” at the Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C., March 10, 2009   In a 2010 short paper, Brunnermeier, Hansen, Kashyap, Krishnamurthy and Lo (2010)…

Does California really love Managed Care?

In short, yes. California is the land of managed care. Kaiser-Permanente–the managed care poster child–owns one third of the market.  Love for managed care is not just in the private market; in 2010, over half of all Medi-Cal and more than one-third of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in managed care plans.  Further, California managed care…

Another Blow to Health Reform?

The head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Don Berwick, announced he would step down from his post on Wednesday.  Berwick was a temporary 18 month appointment who Obama hoped would stay on longer.  The San Francisco Chronicle reports “The point man for carrying out President Obama’s health care law will be stepping down…

Are you depressed?

That is the question that that clinicians often have to ask.  Depression certainly operates along a scale and it is often difficult to quantify either i) if a person is depressed or ii) how depressed they are. One option to assess patient depression is the PHQ-9.  The assessment asks patients nine questions regarding their mental…

Medicare Physician Payment Adjustments

The Medicare billing system is complex.  There an alphabet soup of acronyms, (e.g., RVUs, CPT, HCPCS, GPCI) and each of these affects payments in different ways.  In addition to the standard payment terms, Medicare is also creating additional payment incentives.  These payment incentives fall into three broad categories: Quality reporting e-Prescribing (eRx) Electronic Health Records…