Blog Posts (27)
June 18, 2013
As I pointed out in a recent post, experts have been debating what has caused the recent slowdown in medical spending in the United States. They are also try to figure out whether that slowdown will continue. And figuring this out is pretty darn import...
June 13, 2013
There has been lots of talk lately about a slowdown in health care expenditures. This has caused even more debate about whether the slowdown is temporary or permanent, and whether the Affordable Care Act deserves any credit for it. Below here is a pict...
June 11, 2013
I found a wonderful picture that nicely summarizes how much Americans spend on health care each year. The picture was produced by the Milliman company, and represents typical spending for a family of four.
The $22,000 figure represents overall healthc...
June 10, 2013
A recent article in the New York Times, projects increasing problems with federal budget deficits over the next several decades, problems caused in no small part by the likelihood of increased health expenditures.
More evidence of the importance of ov...
May 30, 2013
Health policy wonks have been pointing for a while now to large variations in Medicare spending across different parts of the country. Live in Miami, and the government is probably going to spend a heck of a lot more for you on Medicare than if you li...
May 20, 2013
If you have been paying attention to US healthcare policy debates lately, you know that hospitals have a price problem. Walk across the street from one hospital to a competitor hospital, and you could easily find yourself facing a $30,000 increase in ...
May 15, 2013
In the April issue of Health Affairs, a group of authors explored the cost-containment strategies and four “high income countries“, and try to see what they were doing that we are currently not doing in the United States. The first picture ...
May 10, 2013
Once again, lots of reports in the news about crazy variation in hospital prices in the United States, with thousands or tens of thousands of dollars difference in the price of services from one hospital to its neighbor across the street. Marketplace d...
May 9, 2013
There is one thing that politicians on both sides of the aisle agree upon: the biggest threat to the future fiscal solvency of the United States is Medicare, the program that pays medical expenses for elderly and disabled Americans. For many years now,...
May 7, 2013
It’s comforting to think that most healthcare problems in the U.S. could be solved by letting the power of an unregulated free market do its work.
It’s also wishful thinking and overly simplistic, according to Peter Ubel, MD, a general internist, b...
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May 22, 2013 5:12 pm
A family of four covered through a typical employer health plan will pay out $9,144 this year in premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. That’s up about 6.5 percent over 2012.
February 8, 2013 12:22 pm
Online outrage is brewing after a 5-year-old Croatian girl named Nora Situm was reportedly told she had to pay $837,000 the day before she was to travel to the United States.
November 12, 2012 5:46 pm
In an unusual move, a big drug company said on Thursday that it would effectively cut in half the price of a new cancer drug after a leading cancer center said it would not use the drug because it was too expensive.
November 5, 2012 4:14 pm
The most highly experienced doctors spend less money treating patients than those with fewer years of experience, according to a new study.
October 22, 2012 4:43 pm
How much is good health care worth to you? $8,233 per year? That’s how much the U.S. spends per person.
That figure is more than two-and-a-half times more than most developed nations in the world, including relatively rich European countries like France, Sweden and the United Kingdom. On a more global scale, it means U.S. health care costs now eat up 17.6 percent of GDP.
June 7, 2012 12:25 pm
Getting physicians and patients talking about whether tests are necessary is a small but important first step in addressing what is wrong with our current health care system. Issues such as how we pay for care, how we organize our delivery systems, and how we engage and empower patients in their own care choices all must be addressed. But for any change to be successful, we need a real partnership between doctors and patients.
April 25, 2012 12:25 pm
Hospital patients waiting in an emergency room or convalescing after surgery are being confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside. This and other aggressive tactics by one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debts, Accretive Health, were revealed on Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general, raising concerns that such practices have become common at hospitals across the country.
April 25, 2012 11:38 am
Independent experts have condemned the Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis for trying to force the NHS to buy an expensive drug to treat patients suffering from a degenerative eye disease, rather than using a cheaper, unlicensed alternative. Novartis is taking four NHS areas in the south of England to a judicial review because they have allowed doctors to prescribe the anti-cancer drug Avastin to treat the wet form of age-related macular degeneration.
April 25, 2012 11:32 am
An NBC News investigation discovered that cases like Latasiewicz’s are not unusual, but the result of current health care policies and guidelines. They are known as “permanent patients” and are hidden in plain sight in hospital rooms across the country. That’s because under federal law, hospitals must treat any patient who needs emergency medical attention even if they have no way to pay. Nursing and rehab facilities are not required by law to do so. At the same time, hospitals cannot discharge a patient without a plan in place for his or her ongoing care. The result is patients stuck in the hospital in need of long-term care but with nowhere to go, large medical bills, and no way to pay – a cost that is usually covered at the hospital’s expense.
March 28, 2012 5:31 pm
A few months ago, I went to a talk by a health economist. “How many of you think cost will factor into your decision-making with patients?” he asked the audience of medical students. About 80 percent raised their hands. Surprised, he commented that when he asked that question ten years ago, maybe 20 percent of his audience raised their hands. “Then again,” he joked, “maybe you are only saying ‘yes’ because you know I’m an economist.”
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