How good is your mental health care? Depends where you live

Access to physician services and pharmaceuticals is vital–particularly among patients with serious mental illness–to insure patients receive the care they need. However, the likelihood patients receive this care depends on where they live. A paper by Manchester (2018) examines a cohort of patients eligible for both Medicare and U.S. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and…

Links

What costs the U.S. $197.3 billion? Slow death of rebates? How robust is propensity score matching? Trump and fetal tissue research. N.Y. Times: “Balancing prices and access to drugs for the patients of today with the innovation that will benefit those of tomorrow will take ingenuity, as well as a lot of political will.”

Is physician judgement overrated?

Would you trust the judgment of a machine or a physician?  That is a pretty simple question.  A seminal paper by Dawes, Faust and Meehl (1989) claim that you should trust the machine.  The compare statistical or actuarial methods that are not based on human judgement against physician’s own decisions. In reviewing the literature, they…

Would telehealth increase the price of health care?

Health Affairs December 2018 issue focuses on telehealth.  The general assumption is that telehealth is an unambiguous good.  Getting access to health care providers–particularly those who live in remote areas or have transportation challenges–is certainly a good thing. But could telehealth increase the price of health care? In this thought exercise, pretend for a moment that…

Bayesian Statistics

We all know that there are two types of statistics: frequentist and Bayesian.  Frequentist approaches treat parameters to be estimated as fixed quantities and the data we observe to come from a data generating process based on these quantities.  The Bayesian approach assumes that we don’t want to just estimate the parameters as fixed points…

Payer coverage of FDA-approved drugs

Many people think that once a treatment is approved, your insurance automatically covers the treatment.  However, that is no longer the case.  Some health plans may keep certain drugs off of formularies.  Others health plans have drugs on formulary but may require step edits (failing another drug first before moving to the novel treatment) and…

Medicare, adverse selection and cancer

Conventional wisdom holds that Medicare Advantage provides better service and lower cost sharing than traditional Medicare fee-for-service, and thus is attractive for many people.  However, Medicare Advantage may restrict access to providers and may be less attractive to patients with more severe illnesses.  Healthcare economists, however, do not rely on rumors and stories to make…