Canada’s single payer system doesn’t cover drugs?

Yes it is true.  Wang et al. (2015) report: Unlike physician and hospital services, which are universal in Canada, coverage for prescription drugs dispensed outside hospitals falls outside the Canada Health Act and provincial governments only provide public drug programs for some population groups,primarily seniors and social assistance recipients…Canada is still the only country that…

P4P in Ontario

Ontario implemented a physician pay-for-performance (P4P) scheme in 2002.  This P4P framework was a jointly agreed upon by the  Ontario government and the Ontario Medical Association.  The Ontario P4P program is described in Hurley, DeCicca and Buckley (2013) in more detail below: [Ontario’s P4P program] targets performance bonuses on effective preventive services whose rates of provision were…

P4P and Diabetes Care

In April 2006, Ontario instituted the Diabetes Management Incentive (DMI) that increased payments to physicians that provided high-quality diabetes care. Did the incentive improve payments quality? According to a paper by Kantarevic and Kralj (2012), it turns out that the answer is yes, but the magnitude of the change depends on the type of physician.…

Why is end-of-life spending so high?

The answer is because using more intensive services does reduce mortality. This is the finding of a recent JAMA paper. After controlling for patient case mix, the authors examine variation in hospital spending in the last year of a patient’s life. The authors note that “Higher-spending hospitals differed in many ways, such as greater use…

The Downside of Concentrated Health Care Markets

Many recent healthcare policies aim to consolidate the provision of medical services.  For instance, Accountable Care Organizations consolidate providers with the goal of providing seamless, integrated patient care.  Consolidation can increase efficiency and (potentially) drive down prices.  If a market is highly concentrated, however, problems in a single supplier can lead to shortages.  Consider the…

Costing Methods

How do hospitals estimate the cost of different inpatient stays?  A paper by Clement et al. (2009) reviews 3 techniques: Microcosting. “With microcosting, a detailed list of each component of a patient’s care is created and costed separately for each facet of a patient’s hospitalization. Given the level of detail, microcosting is generally considered the…

Canadian Social Security and Well-Being

Does Social Security work?  By that, I mean does giving elderly individuals a government pension increase their level of income, the amount of goods the can consume, or even their happiness? An NBER working paper by Baker, Gruber and Milligan (2009) tries to answer this question in the Canadian setting. Background Currently, Canadian income transfer…