PacAdvantage: Adverse Selection Death Spiral

The adverse selection death spiral has reared its ugly head again.  PacAdvantage, an insurance pooling company for 6000 small and medium sized businesses in California has closed its doors.  The Sacramento Business Journal reports (“Backer pulls plug on PacAdvantage health purchasing pool“) that the three remaining insurers underwriting the plan have pulled out.   Michael Holt of The…

Bikini Blues

While advances by physicians and new medical technologies often make for front page news, public health interventions have likely been the major cause of the significant health improvements throughout history.  For instance, creating a system of waste disposal and maintaining clean water has greatly increased the expected longevity of urban residents.  The 14th century Black…

Big day of healthcare news

Today was a big day for news in the healthcare industry.  First, a private equity group agreed to buy HCA (Hospital Corporation of America) in a leveraged buyout deal valued at $21 billion (plus the assumption of $11.7 billion of debt).  The Chicago Tribune (“HCA agrees…“) looked to Darren Lehrich of Deutche Bank for analysis: This gives…

Speed Surgery

Productivity.  More output with fewer inputs.  Increasing productivity is one of the few goals towards which all businesses strive.  The Times of London reports (“Rankings to identify slow surgeons“) that the NHS will try to increase the productivity of surgeons in the UK.  The system of “performance indicatorsâ€? will be announced this week by ministers,…

Scotland’s Middle class to fund NHS care for poor

In last week’s Scotsman (“Middle class…“), the National Health Service (NHS) said it would be transferring money from wealthier areas in the east (Edinburgh and Grampian) to poorer areas in the west.  These types of transfers are necessary for a stable society generally most people support some redistribution.  The question remains, why should the Scottish…

Reshaping Medicaid

Medicaid currently covers 55 million poor and disabled Americans; these 55 million individuals have much change to look forward to.  In February of this year, the President signed the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA)of 2005.  According the Kaiser Family Foundation, the act will reduce federal spending on Medicaid by $39 billion between 2006 and 2010, while giving states…

Commentary from other blogs

The Healthcare Economist realizes that he is not the only game in town and in this post I would like to call attention to the opinions some other blogs who have discussed issues about which I have written.  On Sunday I wrote a post regarding end-of-life treatment for cancer patients and the correct amount of…

‘Price Check, Neurology Wing’

“People generally don’t have a clue about what the health care they are consuming costs,” Michael O. Leavitt, the Secretary of Health and Human Services told reporters in a WebMD article (“Gov’t releases hospital prices“).  With a new initiative in hand, Mr. Leavitt hopes that consumer ignorance will soon dissipate. Yesterday, officials at the Centers…

Ode to Obesity

Reports of the increased obesity in the United States and its adverse effects on health outcomes are common. The AARP finds that 3 out of 10 American adults are obese (“Obesity in OECD countries“). MedPage Today reports that poor teenagers are more likely to be overweight than their non-poor peers (“…Teens from poorer families are…

Trials and transparency

The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has released a scathing report criticizing the medical procedures Parexel used in testing the TGN1412 drug. In-Pharma Technologist.com (“Parexcel back in hot water…“) reports that six individuals suffered severe side effects such as organ failure swelling of body parts due to poor administration of the trials…