For-profit chains are gobbling up local hospitals. What trend in the broader US economy explains this behavior?

One trend in recent years is how many hospitals are being purchased by large regional or national hospital chains. An April 2019 slide deck from the NIHCM Foundation shows this trend graphically. A paper by Hsieh and Rossi-Hansberg (2019) provide some aggregate data as well as a case study from the Boston area. Four decades…

Why don’t physicians follow evidence-based guidelines more often?

Many researchers complain that physicians often use treatments with little evidence to base these decisions. From off-label prescribing, to unstudied surgical procedures, physicians are often painted as cavalier practitioners who don’t read studies. For instance, Austin Frakt at Incidental Economist writes: The British Medical Journal sifted through the evidence for thousands of medical treatments to assess…

Trump Executive Order to Mandate Price Transparency for Providers

As the N.Y. Times reports, more transparency is coming to provider prices. The White House released an executive order Monday afternoon intended to require insurance companies, doctors and hospitals to give patients more information about precisely what their care will cost before they get it. More transparency is generally good and surprise billing for out-of-network costs has been a major…

Does the VA provide high-quality care?

This question is difficult to answer. In many countries with government provided health care, wait times are long. For the Veterans Affairs (VA) beneficiaries, this does not seem to be much of an issue according to a Penn et al. (2019) study covering wait times between 2014 and 2019: Although wait times in the VA…