Health care in Peru

Located in South America, Peru is almost twice the size of Texas and has 31 million people.  About one third of these live along the coast, largely in Lima.  About half of the population–largely Amerinidan population–live in the Andean highlands, with the rest spread on the eastern slopes of the Andes and the adjoining rainforest. …

Cancer survival around the world

An interesting study measuring trends in cancer survival between 2000 and 2014 found, unsurprisingly, that patients in more developed countries had better survival. For women diagnosed with breast cancer between 2010 and 2014, 5-year survival rates reached 89.5% in Australia and 90.2% in the United States, but generally varied worldwide and remained low in some…

Does preventive care save money?

Aaron Carroll argues ‘no’ and–in most but not all cases–I agree with him.  Here is the evidence he cites: More health insurance does not reduce emergency department (ED) visits.  States that expanded Medicaid eligibility with ACA funding saw an increase in ED visits relative to non-expansion states.  In Oregon, individuals who won an eligibility ‘lottery’ to…

U.S. Healthcare Spending

The CMS Office of the Actuary released their 2016 estimates for U.S. health care spending.  We’re getting close to health care taking up 18% of the economy. Total nominal US health care spending increased 4.3 percent and reached $3.3 trillion in 2016. Per capita spending on health care increased by $354, reaching $10,348. The share of gross…

How much is your life worth?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the answer is $10 million.  Other agencies place use a somewhat lower number.  The Food and Drug administration pegs the value at $9.5 million and the Department of Agriculture places the value at $8.9 million. Technically, what these agencies are calculating are the value of a statistical life (VSL). …

What is causing U.S. debt to explode?

According to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO’s) 2017 Long-Term Budget Outlook, you need to look no further than entitlements for the elderly. Mandatory programs have accounted for a rising share of the federal government’s noninterest spending over the past few decades, exceeding 60 percent for the past several years. Much of the growth has occurred because…

Which cancer treatment is best?

This seems like a straightforward question, but clearly depends on what you mean by “best”.  Some drugs will be more efficacious and have more adverse events; other drugs may be less efficacious but have fewer adverse events.  What if a one drug shows an 80% improvement in progression free survival (PFS), but a 50% improvement in overall…