The Rational Addict

The New York Times has an interesting profile of Dr. Carl Hart and his research into the neurology of rational addition. Dr. Hart recruited addicts by advertising in The Village Voice, offering them a chance to make $950 while smoking crack made from pharmaceutical-grade cocaine…To participate, they had to live in a hospital ward for…

Beta Binomial Regression

Oftentimes, one will observe data cluster around two different points.  This distribution is known as a bimodal distribution.  A bimodal distribution could arise, for instance, when patients have two choices of health care providers, and the data measure the share of times patients use one of the providers. To model the effect of different covariates on variable…

Medicare: Expert vs. Public Opinion

A great article from NEJM summarizes the differences on the problems Medicare faces as seen by experts and the public.  This press release summarizes the results. One reason that many Americans believe Medicare does not contribute to the deficit is that the majority thinks Medicare recipients pay or have prepaid the cost of their health…

California Hospitals Charge Fair Prices to the Uninsured

Why is that?  Because in 2006 California passed the Hospital Fair Pricing Act.  Melnick and Fonkych (2013) describe the bill as follows. The Hospital Fair Pricing Act…mandated that hospitals develop formal, written financial assistance policies and limit the  prices they charge uninsured patients with low to moderate incomes…Under the law, hospitals must limit the amounts they collect from…

Cancer screening rates

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) publishes screeening rates for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers over the past 25 years.  I have reproduced the charts below.  I wonder how the USPSTF recommendation in November 2009 that women ages 40 to 49 should not undergo screening unless they are in a high-risk group will affect mammography rates in the most recent…