Doctors reject ‘people power’

An interesting article from The Sunday Herald of Scotland: Doctors’ and nurses’ leaders have rejected proposals that would allow members of the public to be directly elected to health boards over concerns it will make the NHS “too politicisedâ€?. Bill Butler, Labour MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, introduced the Health Board Elections Bill to Holyrood in…

Privatizing Tax Collection

The New York Times reports (“IRS Enlists Help…“) that the Internal Revenue Service will begin to subcontract collection of delinquent tax payments to private firms.  The article states: “…the I.R.S. will turn over data on 12,500 taxpayers — each of whom owes $25,000 or less in back taxes — to three collection agencies. Larger debtors…

Employment and Adverse Selection

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 160 million Americans receive their health insurance from their employers.  That figure represents three out of five non-elderly individuals.  Many experts argue that using employer provided health insurance eliminates the problem of adverse selection by forming an insurance pool around a non-medical issue (employment).  Jayanta Bahattacharya and William Vogt…

Coffee may be good for you

Good news for coffee-aholics like myself.  The Seattle Times reports (“Coffee’s Health Conundrums“) that coffee may have health benefits including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.  Researchers at the Pauling Institute concluded that “there is little evidence of health risk and some evidence of health benefits” for up to four cups a day. 

Too much care in Elyria: Part II

Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters did some research and found that a cardiology department in Elyria, Ohio received an award for quality (“Quality means exactly what?“).  Why is this significant?  As I noted on Saturday, this same department performed four times as many angioplasties as the rest of the country.  Mr. Paduda sums up…

Money and Health

Ten days ago, MedPageToday ran an article (“Hefty Bank Account…“) which claimed that people who have more money are healthier.  Using the 2000 Census American Community Survey, the study finds that “a 55-year-old man making about $49,500 per year is 44% more likely to have a functional disability than his neighbor making $57,800 a year.”  This…

Too much care? The case of cardiology in Elyria

The New York Times last week wrote an article (“…off the charts…“) examining the use of invasive treatment for cardiac problems in Elyria, Ohio.  The article says that this small city has angioplasty rates which are significantly higher than any other U.S. city. “…outside experts say such a locally dominant cardiology group could make it…

Pocket Protectors

From the ArgMax website (“Your Congress at Work“), we see that the pocket lobby may have Congess in its pocket: “A spokesman for Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C., confirmed Inglis voted for the Oman deal after being assured by House Majority Leader Boehner that the House would take up the CAFTA fixes. The language would implement…

Bayes for President

Greg Mankiw’s Blog looks to online betting for the odds that McCain, Clinton, Giuliani, and Edwards will will the 2008 Presidential Election in his POTUS 2008 post.  McCain has the edge, but Hilary Clinton is a close second.  Using Bayes rule, however, Mankiw shows that if Edwards were to be the Democratic nominee, he would…

Medicare Fraud: $630 million

Why is publicly provided health care so expensive?  One reason is the the fraud which is bound to occur.  The New York Times reports (“Hospital Grew…“) that New Jersey’s largest health care provider–St. Barnabas Health Care System–bilked $630 million from the federal government between 1995 to 2003.  Medicare pays extra cash to hospitals for the…