Economics Jokes

To lighten your mood… A traveller wandering on an island inhabited entirely by cannibals comes upon a butcher shop. This shop specialised in human brains differentiated according to source. The sign in the shop read: Artists’ Brains $9/lb Philosophers’ Brains $12/lb Scientists’ Brains $15/lb Economists’ Brains $19/lb Upon reading the sign, the traveller noted, “My…

Commentary from other blogs

The Healthcare Economist realizes that he is not the only game in town and in this post I would like to call attention to the opinions some other blogs who have discussed issues about which I have written.  On Sunday I wrote a post regarding end-of-life treatment for cancer patients and the correct amount of…

How to think like an economist

Economists are a peculiar brand of individuals.  They often think more quantitatively than researchers from other social sciences, but also are fond of never giving a straight answer.  If you wonder how economists view most problems, I will give a basic framework to use.   1. Identify the parties involved 2. Identify the incentives of each…

Paying for end-of-life treatment

Speaking about which services hospitals and doctors should provide at the end of a patient’s life is always a sensitive subject.  Family members become emotional and desire any procedure which has a non-negative chance of prolonging the patients life, regardless of the cost.  This is what insurance is for, to safeguard families from calamitous medical…

‘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…

Ode to Obesity

Reports of the increased obesity in the United States and its adverse effects on health outcomes are common. The AARP finds that 3 out of 10 American adults are obese (“Obesity in OECD countries“). MedPage Today reports that poor teenagers are more likely to be overweight than their non-poor peers (“…Teens from poorer families are…

Trials and transparency

The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has released a scathing report criticizing the medical procedures Parexel used in testing the TGN1412 drug. In-Pharma Technologist.com (“Parexcel back in hot water…“) reports that six individuals suffered severe side effects such as organ failure swelling of body parts due to poor administration of the trials…

Father of Microcredit

On NPR’s Marketplace, my favorite radio program, there is an interesting interview with Muhammed Yunus.  Mr. Yunus is the founder and director of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.  The bank describes itself as follows: GB [Grameen Bank] provides credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh, without any collateral. At GB, credit is a…

Medical Service Bargain hunters?

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s (KFF) 2005 Employer Health Benefits Survey, the estimated number of firms who will offer high deductible health plans has increased to 20% in 2005.  This is up from 5% in 2003 and 10% in 2004.  Despite this increase, only 3.9% of workers–about 2.4 million in total–are covered either by a…