Nudge or Nanny State?

An interesting article in the N.Y. Times “Upshot” section by Austin Frakt argues that federal efforts to nudge people towards healthier behaviors may be doomed to fail. A $100 billion dollar health care package…encourages exercise by treating gym memberships as tax-deductible medical expenses…[a]nd it would permit the use of flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts…

Infectious Disease: Themes

An interesting post by Nicolas Bagley at the Incidental Economist provides a brief overview of a class he taught on infectious diseases and the law.  Looking at diseases ranging from cholera, Spanish flu, polio, AIDS, SARS, and Ebola, Bagley claims that ten key themes emerged: Governments are typically unprepared, disorganized, and resistant to taking steps…

Health in Baltimore

Baltimore is in the news, and not for the best reasons.  The arrest and eventual death of Freddie Gray have unleashed a series of protests and riots.  One conference where the Healthcare Economist had a poster presentation–the American Heart Association (AHA) Quality of Care and Outcomes Research (QCOR) Scientific Sessions (conference) was cancelled this week due…

I’d rather have HIV than diabetes

This is what a provocative article in the Spectator concludes. A recent large epidemiological study showed that, for those diagnosed with HIV now, life expectancy is similar to someone who does not have the virus. The medical profession now considers HIV a chronic disease; it’s regarded in public health terms in the same category as,…

Health Care Quality in Cuba

Many people who claim the U.S. healthcare system is broken point to Cuba as a country that spends little on health but gets high returns.  Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko even visited Cuba and claimed that it could be a model for a single payer system in the U.S.  As the Economist reports: “Until recently, Cubans…

Employers Pushing Healthier Living

“This isn’t about big brother telling people what to do,” says John Rice, GE’s vice-chairman, “but helping them make better choices.” The Economist reviews large employers efforts to improve employee health and thus decrease their own health care costs.  Some of these efforts include: Prohibiting smoking on company premises Handing our healthy recipes Building on-site…

Drinking in College is “Largely Positive”?

According to Marshall Poe, drinking in college has more positives than negatives. “Rowdy drinking is not the problem. It is an essential, ineradicable, and largely positive element of American college culture. The problem is students who cannot or will not engage in rowdy drinking safely, for they often harm themselves and others.” How is drinking a…