‘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…

Failure of Medical Malpractice Law: Part II

Recently, I wrote a post regarding the inefficiency of the Medical Malpractice system. Both Brennan, Sox and Burstin (1996) and Studdert, Mello and Brennan (2004) found that not only were there many frivolous suits brought to court, but even more prevalent was the phenomenon that individuals who suffered negligent care did not sue (only 3%…

SSDI “$1 for $2” Reform

Currently the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program covers almost 8 million Americans. The program is designed to help those who need assistance the most: those who cannot work due to disability. These individuals are entitled to approximately $830 per month. One feature of SSDI is that it has an implicit 100% tax on earnings.…

Tax Credits, the Distribution of Subsidized Health Insurance Premiums, and the Uninsured

The popular press has been decrying the existence of large numbers of Americans without medical insurance. From Indiana to Wisconsin to California, politicians are looking for a means–such as government provided health insurance–to give more residents medical insurance. Economists, however, generally speak out against the provision of private goods by the government. An interesting solution…

Failure of Medical Malpractice Law

The problems with the Medical Malpractice system in the US have been well-documented. President Bush has presented proposals to cap punitive damages in malpractice litigation. Other others have decried the fact that despite a large number of negligence cases each year, very few patients bring suit to court. Below are two studies which should give…

The libertarian health care system

The poor can not afford health care. Health care costs rise above inflation year after year. Serious errors committed by hospitals and physicians are reported by the news media on a daily basis. How can we fix these problems? Can we rely on Uncle Sam to do what’s needed? Will Wilkinson doubts that government intervention…

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…

California’s stem cell initiative a waste?

In November 2004, California passed Proposition 71 which allocated $3 billion over ten years to stem cell research. Many of my friends–especially those in the medical field–strongly supported the bill. While I support stem cell research, I do not approve of the referendum system by which this bill was enacted. Spending $3 billion on unproven research…