The opioid crisis in numbers

Most people who spend time in health care are aware of the opioid crisis. But how bad is it really? The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation provides a number of interactive graphs to quantitatively describe how the opioid crisis has evolved between 2000 and 2017. For instance, the the graph below shows…

For-profit chains are gobbling up local hospitals. What trend in the broader US economy explains this behavior?

One trend in recent years is how many hospitals are being purchased by large regional or national hospital chains. An April 2019 slide deck from the NIHCM Foundation shows this trend graphically. A paper by Hsieh and Rossi-Hansberg (2019) provide some aggregate data as well as a case study from the Boston area. Four decades…

Single payer = single data point

Bernie Sanders and others are advocating a Medicare for All system.  At first glance this is a sensible approach.  Why not allow the government to provide equitable health insurance coverage for all?  Don’t we want to let all Americans have high quality care?  Why not use the power of the federal government to help negotiate…

Do generic drugs cost too little?

Much of my blog discusses the value of new, innovative treatments.  In the current patent environment, drug patents expire and low cost generics enter the market.  This results in huge surplus value accruing to consumers.  However, those benefits only occur if the supply of effective, low-cost generic medication reach patients.  Unfortunately, that is not always…