Basic thoughts on health insurance from economists

David Cutler and Richard Zeckhauser review “The anatomy of health insurance” in chapter 11 of the Handbook of Health Economics.  The chapter provides an overview of the economics field’s insight regarding health insurance.  The authors summarize the literature’s findings into 5 main lessons listed below: Risk spreading versus incentives: Health insurance involves a fundamental tradeoff…

2006 Nobel Prize in Economics

This morning it was announced that Edmund Phelps was the 2006 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics.  Mr. Phelps is a macro-economist best known for his work explaining the trade-off between unemployment and inflation in the economy.  A biography of Mr. Phelps can be found on the Columbia University website. 

Population Growth: U.S. versus Russia

In Sunday’s L.A. Times I found two articles regarding population growth.  The first (“America at 300 million“) notes that although the U.S. is nearing 300 million people, there is plenty of space available for these newcomers.  Although the birth rate is still not at replacement, the recent increase in immigration has allowed the U.S. to…

Top Business Schools

Today the Princeton Review named my alma matter (University of Pennsylvania) as the university with the best business school (the Wharton School).  While I don’t believe the rankings accurately reflect school quality, its always nice to be number one. ‘Hurrah, Hurrah, Pennsylvania…Hurrah for the red and the blue!’

Nobel Prize in Medicine

What do you need to do to win a Nobel Prize these days?  Simple, just figure out a way to shut down individual genes in the body.  This is what Andrew Fire and Craig Mello–the 2006 Nobel Prize winners in Medicine–achieved in order to merit the award.  Their technique holds the possibility of new therapies for…

Eye of Newt

Ever wonder what Newt Gingrich is up to?  You may be surprised to learn that he’s working to change healthcare in the U.S.  Mr. Gingrich has founded the Center for Health Transformation.  On the Consumer Health World Blog, Gingrich proposes dividing Medicaid into 3 different programs. Capabilities Program – This program would help both Americans…

FairTax Proposal

The current tax system is complex.  If a researcher would want to correctly model the current tax system, they would have to take into account the myriad of deductions in the federal tax code (e.g.: Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, mortgage interest deduction, etc.) as calculate these deductions for each type of household. …

The Perilous State of the UK’s NHS

The Health Care Renewal blog cites an editorial in the British Medical Journal describing how the spirit of medical professionalism is dying due to top-down administrative decision making.  “And although medicine has embraced the need for evidence based medicine, policy making remains largely an evidence-free zone. [Richard Lehman wrote,] ‘the personal responsibility of our professional…