Do we need specialty hospitals?

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (“Orthopedic hospital…“), the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin posted profit margins of 52%.  The article claims that the healthcare industry generally only has profit margins of around 3%-5%.  Does this mean that the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin is providing highly valued services?  Is it good at cutting costs?  Or is it…

Scotland’s Middle class to fund NHS care for poor

In last week’s Scotsman (“Middle class…“), the National Health Service (NHS) said it would be transferring money from wealthier areas in the east (Edinburgh and Grampian) to poorer areas in the west.  These types of transfers are necessary for a stable society generally most people support some redistribution.  The question remains, why should the Scottish…

Mandated Maternity Benefits

In many cases, the government will mandate that employers provide benefits in lieu of having the government provide the benefit themselves. One example is that the U.S. government mandates that firms purchase Worker’s Compensation insurance. Are these mandated benefits a more or less effective form of social insurance than direct government provision? Summers (1989) claims…

Private Information and Long-Term Care Insurance

‘Adverse selection’ and ‘moral hazard’ are phenomenons which affect any analysis of the insurance market.  For instance, Cutler and Zeckhauser (1997) speak of an adverse selection ‘death spiral’ which made untenable the continued offering of a generous health insurance benefit at Harvard University.  In their NBER paper, Finkelstein and McGarry (2003) attempt to estimate the effect…

Welfare vs. Workfare

In 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWORA) brought ‘workfare’ into the spotlight.  In addition to replacing the old AFDC program with the new TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families), the law required welfare recipients to work or to look for work in order to receive benefits.  This was not the first time in history…

Medicaid and IT

The National Governors Association (“Florida Invests $308 Million in New Medicaid Computer System“) reports that Electronic Data Systems (EDS) has won a contract to “develop a new Medicaid computer system beginning March 1, 2008” for the state of Florida. The system is supposed to help participants navigate Florida’s Medicaid system, file claims, and report fraud.…

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…