Nudge or Nanny State?

An interesting article in the N.Y. Times “Upshot” section by Austin Frakt argues that federal efforts to nudge people towards healthier behaviors may be doomed to fail. A $100 billion dollar health care package…encourages exercise by treating gym memberships as tax-deductible medical expenses…[a]nd it would permit the use of flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts…

Can single payer systems work?

Much of the discussions of the pros and cons of single payer systems are ideological.  Single payer advocates will say they are fair, potentially can leverage economies of scale, and more equitable.  Single payer opponents will argue that they are inefficient, and restrict choice. An interesting paper from Tomoki Fuji (2018), shows that the answer…

Healthcare Economist on President Trump’s plan to lower Medicare drug prices

A recent report from Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) found that for about 30 physician administered drugs, prices are 8 times as high as those charged in other developed countries. To address the high prices, President Trump unveiled a three-part plan to reduce drug prices.  Under the “international pricing index” proposal, U.S. drug…