Medicare’s (true) Administrative Costs

A common justification for Medicare is that the public health insurance system has an overhead cost which is about 2% of claims, while the private sector has administrative costs between 20%-25% of claims.  This tells us that Medicare is the best system for America…right? Merrill Mathew’s of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAFI) summarizes…

Medicaid and IT

The National Governors Association (“Florida Invests $308 Million in New Medicaid Computer System“) reports that Electronic Data Systems (EDS) has won a contract to “develop a new Medicaid computer system beginning March 1, 2008” for the state of Florida. The system is supposed to help participants navigate Florida’s Medicaid system, file claims, and report fraud.…

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…

‘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…

SCHIP expansion in Minnesota and New York

Under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the Federal government established the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which was aimed at reducing the number of uninsured children in the United States. States were given a variety of options of how to implement this program. Nineteen states decided to operate the SCHIP program as an…

Medicaid and Immigration

DB’s Medical Rants cites an interesting New York Times article (“Medicaid Hurdle for Immigrants May Hurt Others“) regarding the administrative burden created by a new law requiring all Medicaid recipients to prove their citizenship in order to receive the public insurance.

Number of Uninsured may be overstated

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s State Health Facts website gives a wide variety of statistics detailing health insurance in America. The study finds that there are 45.5 million uninsured non-elderly individuals (16% of the total non-elderly population). Out of this total 4.1 million (9% of the uninsured) are poor children and 12.6 million (28% of the…

Does Public Insurance Crowd Out Private Insurance

Programs such as Medicaid and Medicare aim to expand health insurance to those currently uninsured.  These programs certainly accomplish this goal, but they also crowd out private insurance.  This means that an individual who has private health insurance may decide to use public insurance instead.  This would mean that society is simply substituting individual payment…

Fiscal Shenanigans and Targeted Health Care Funds

Katherine Baicker and Douglas Staiger (2004) have a working paper detailing how states often expropriate federal health care funds to use in their general budget. The paper shows that while federal dollars may not always reach the intended destination, these programs can still be somewhat effective in improving health outcomes. DSH Program Federal Medicaid Disproportionate…