Millions wasted on unnecessary test

Forbes reported last week (“Millions…“) that millions of dollars are wasted each year due to unnecessary tests. Their findings are based on an article by Dr. Dan Merenstein and co-authors and is to appear in the June issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. What is the definition of an unnecessary test? The United…

The Dismal Science

Alex Tabarrok of the Marginal Revolution blog, has an interesting post regarding economics, long known as the dismal science.  First off, he has an entertaining excerpt from the Jon Stewart show: Jon Stewart: Uh, the way you’ve explained the tax cuts doesn’t really seem fair. John Hodgman: Fairness isn’t really the point.  They don’t call…

Economist’s Morality

I just finished reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, a very entertaining novel about the maturation of a boy who grew up in Afghanistan and later emigrated to the United States.  In the book, there is a wonderful passage where the protagonist’s father lectures him on morality.  His speech is one with which most…

IRS Subpoenas UnitedHealth on Stock Options

In February, this year, I wrote of the seemingly outlandish compensation William W. McGuire, the CEO of UnitedHealth Group, received in 2005. Of his $124.8 million of compensation, $114.6 million was in the form of stock options. It now seems that this compensation might not have been entirely kosher. Yesterday, the New York Times (“US…

Physician Affirmative Action in India

In India, low-caste and minority individuals often have difficultly ascending the social ladder.  Discrimination against the low-caste individuals has been extensively documented.  In order aid these disadvantaged groups, the Indian government has increased the quota for low-caste and minority physicians at state-run hospitals.  The International Herald Tribune (“Doctor’s Strike…“) reports that “22.5 percent of jobs…

Hospital Trends

The structure of hospital care has been changing rapidly over the past few decades. The first item to note is that the number of nonprofit hospitals is decreasing. For-profit hospitals are making up a larger percentage of all hospitals than in 1980. Below, table 1 shows the number of hospitals in the United States. I…

On moral hazard and insurance

One of the major reasons why President Bush’s plan for Health Savings Accounts (HSA) required that participants use high-deductible health plans (HDHP) was to lessen the incidence of moral hazard. When an individual is insured against medical expenses, they are not liable for the full cost of medical services and thus are more prone to…

Attention Shoppers

Can consumer-driven health care (CDHC) really work?  According to the New York Times, many entrepreneurs believe it can. In “Attention Shoppers,” the newspaper details how Wal-Mart, CVS and other chain stores are opening walk-in health clinics. The clinics are staffed by Nurse Practitioners and operated independently of the chain store. The benefits of the walk-in…

Mummy State

The Independent of the UK reports (“Childbirth revolution“) that the British government is “planning a ‘strategic shift’ in childbirth policy away from hospital delivery and towards births in the home.” Instead of having doctors supervise the birth, midwives will deliver the child. On one hand, I commend the British government for this policy change. The…