Reshaping Medicaid

Medicaid currently covers 55 million poor and disabled Americans; these 55 million individuals have much change to look forward to.  In February of this year, the President signed the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA)of 2005.  According the Kaiser Family Foundation, the act will reduce federal spending on Medicaid by $39 billion between 2006 and 2010, while giving states…

Social Assistance and Employment rates

Is a welfare system a welfare improving?  On the one hand, this form of social insurance gives money to those who have come upon rough times, facing low income and unemployment.  On the other hand, giving individuals money conditional on not having low income gives these same people an incentive not to work.  The field…

World Cup 2006

Today begins the biggest event in sports.  No, I am not talking about the NBA finals (although the Dallas Mavericks did win game one); I am speaking of the World Cup 2006 and it begins at 9am today in Germany.  The schedule gives us 29 consecutive days of futbol.  If you think that soccer is just a game,…

Mapping the Majority

How many people in Mexico have access to the Internet in their home?  What proportion of the Domincan Republic’s poorest fifth of citizens has access to sanitation service?  What proporation of the richest 10% of people in El Salvador have access to electricity?  In Chile, how many people own their home? [Answers below] If you…

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…