Tourney Time

The NCAA Men’s basketball tournament is almost upon us. Time to fill out your brackets and cheer for your favorite teams. I have filled out my bracket, but as an economist, I can’t do this as any normal person would. I have used some quantitiative measures in order to rank the teams. The teams are…

Are you ready to be inspired?

If your life has been in a rut lately and you wish for some inspiration in your life, I have the perfect book recommendation: Mountains beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.  The book is about Paul Farmer, a world renowned infectious disease physician who has dedicated his life to improving the quality of health care in…

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…

IT usage in the Health Care sector

When I go to Ralph’s, my La Jolla grocery store, I scan my Ralph’s club card. The firm then is able to track all of my purchases and offer me customized coupons. If I go another Ralph’s store in Clairemont, this store still has access to all my prior purchases and I still receive a…

NeuroEconomics

Nearly since its inception, the field of Economics has used preference relationships, utility functions, and complete rationality as the theoretical basis for nearly all of its major findings.  Nevertheless, while the homo oeconomicus may preform well in certain contexts, in others areas the hypothesis of completely rational humans has been found to be patently false. …

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…

Praise for Health Care Economist

I would like to thank Joseph Paduda for his kind words on March 2nd. Principal of Health Strategy Associates, Mr. Paduda cited my Medicare timeline and stated: “Jason Shafrin at Healthcare-Economist.com has provided a brief timeline of the development of Medicare in the US. Jason’s blog is quite good; heavy on the policy side (no…

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…