Mandatory Vaccines in Michigan

Seven hundred twenty million dollars.  This would the the annual cost to immunize all girls against the human papilloma virus (HPV).  According to the Detroit Free Press (“Law…“), the state of Michigan is considering requiring all girls entering the sixth grade to receive the HPV vaccine.  Is this good policy? Cervical cancer affects 9,700 women…

Hospitals Negotiating Leverage

In the early- and mid- 1990s, hospitals were under pressure.  Managed care was taking off and forcing hospitals to reduce prices.  These managed care plans had the upper hand because: Competition between hospitals was intense.  Each hospital had to fight to secure contracts from managed plans in order to direct large chunks of patients to their…

Poisson Distribution Estimation

The Poisson distribution is one that is often used in health economics.  Wikipedia has a nice basic summary of the Poisson distribution; Wolfram MathWorld gives a more sophisticated analysis.  The distribution is where ‘λ‘ is equal to the number of expected occurrences in a period.  The distribution expresses the probability of a number of events…

Empirical Research: Wine and longevity

In January of this year, I wrote (“Does drinking wine truly increase longevity“) that I was doubtful that wine has a large impact on longevity.  As a dedicated social scientist, I have decided not to simply accept the findings of other experts, but instead to do some of my own empirical research.  Monday and Tuesday…

EU Health Market

The BBC reports that patients in the EU may soon have the right to go to any EU country for medical treatment.  In a September 5th article (“EU chief…“), one can see a future of medical tourism in the EU. Many EU members have argued that medical services fall outside the scope of the single…

Managed Care and Employer Health Insurance Offerings

Daniel Polsky and Sean Nicholson have two papers which aim to look at employer health insurance offerings.  The first [Polsky, Nicholson (2004)] tries to estimate the factors driving the cost differences between HMO plans and non-HMO (eg: PPO, indemnity) plans.  The authors deconstruct the cost differences into three factors: Utilization Effect: this occurs if individuals…

Measuring Corruption with Parking Tickets

How do you measure the level of corruption in a nation?  Transparency International uses a Perceptions Index to rank the corruption of each nation.  The problem with this index is that it does not give the true corruption of officials, but the resulting corruption from a mix of personal corruption and the effective enforcement of…

Tax Collection in History

On Thursday I mentioned the Treasury Department’s plan to turn over some of the collection of delinquent taxes to private companies.  In most modern societies of the Western world, tax collectors are salaried employees of the state.  This was not always the case.  A 2006 paper by Cosgel and Miceli aims to create a model…