Federal Contracting and the DC Boom

Time Magazine on the economic boom currently happening in Washington, DC: “Yet the diversity of the Washington economy is an illusion, for each of its business sectors is to some degree a creature of the region’s single great industry—the federal government. According to a 2007 report by the Tax Foundation, for every dollar in taxes…

Variation in End-of-Life Cancer Treatments

According to a recent Dartmouth Atlas study: “The nation’s most elite cancer care centers performed only modestly better than community hospitals at meeting recognized quality standards for treating dying cancer patients, displaying similar patterns of relatively aggressive, high-intensity treatments in the final weeks of these patients’ lives… The Dartmouth researchers also found that even among…

Heroes without Health Insurance

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend.  It is a time to celebrate the service of current and former members of the military. Although military veterans garner a lot of attention around Memorial Day, some veterans are not having their needs met the rest of the year. A recent study, for instance, finds that many veterans…

Fixed Effects Logit Estimator and the Incidental Parameter Problem

Fixed effects (FE) regressions are a useful tool for controlling for time-invariant factors in a regression specification.  When using a linear OLS model, FE represent the average value of the dependent variable for that individual after controlling for covariates.  Estimating a fixed effects model for non-linear regressions, however, can be problematic. For instance, if you…

Medicare Trustees Report: We’re Fucked

Despite lower costs than previously projected, the Medicare Trust Fund is still in bad shape. he estimated exhaustion date for Medicare’s Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund, “…remains at 2024,the same year shown in last year’s report. As in past years…the fund is not adequately financed over the next 10 years. HI expenditures in 2011 were…

Measuring Hospital Efficiency

Medicare recently released the Medicare Spending per Beneficiary (MSPB) measure on Hospital Compare. This measure includes all payments to doctors, hospitals or other facilities for services provided to a patient during the three days before the hospital stay, during the stay, and during the 30 days after discharge from the hospital. Kaiser Health news provides…