Why is Medical Care so expensive?

Why does Medicare spend $7,500 for patients in El Paso, Texas but spends $15,000 for patients in McAllen, Texas?  It McAllen richer? Does McAllen receive better care?  Are patients sicker in McAllen?   “Come on” the general surgeon finally said. “We all know these arguments are bullshit.  There is overutilization here pure and simple.”  Doctors, he said,…

Prevention and Cost

More evidence that although preventive may improve patient health, it may also increase costs.  (See also my post from 12 Feb 2008). Afschin Gandjour (2009) “Aging diseases – do they prevent preventive health care from saving costs?”  Health Economics, v18(3): 355-362.

Transportation Brokerage Services Lower Health Care Costs

Transportation issues can create significant barriers to accessing quality health care.  If you do not have a car, physically cannot drive, or do not have public transportation where you live, getting to the doctor’s office can be difficult.  Although the federal government mandates that state Medicaid programs provide nonemergency medical transportation services to vulnerable populations,…

Affordability Index

Everyone knows that health insurance is getting more and more expensive.  But how can we measure how expensive it is?  A paper by UC-San Diego professors Richard Kronick and Todd Gilmer creates an “affordability index” to measure this.  The affordability index is equal to the per-capita, non-elderly health spending divided by the median income.  In…

Health Insurance costs increase 60% over 3 years?

At least this is what David Williams of the Health Business Blog has experienced in paying for his firm’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan.  “This year’s increase is 13.3 percent, on top of last year’s 26.3 percent increase and an 11 percent increase the year before. Thanks to the magic of compounding it means the premium…