Why care about regional variations in health costs?

Why was per capita spending on people enrolled in Medicare $2,500 more in East Long Island, NY, than in San Francisco in 2006? Did the folks in New York get better care and achieve better outcomes than those on the west coast? The answer is, “no.” Welcome to the world of health care cost variation, […]

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Citizens self-rationing care due to cost

Americans skipped recommended medical tests and procedures, cut pills, and skipped dental care due to cost in the past year. Welcome to the world of rationing, borne not from a government program, but of private sector market forces. With all due respect to Adam Smith, market forces don’t always work in the best interests of […]

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The New Black Box Warning: Lack of Health Insurance

A new black box warning has arrived on the U.S. health care scene: the lack of health insurance is hazardous to your health. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended that Congress act to get the U.S. to universal health coverage by 2010. Today, the rate of uninsurance in the U.S. increases by the […]

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Does "patient knowledge" lead to inappropriate care? Better empowering health information-seeking patients

4 in 10 cancer patients sought information via the Internet, according to a new study to be published in the April 1, 2009, issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Cancer. The downside of information-seeking cancer patients, according to the study, is that 1 in 4 of these patients received the drugs off-label — that is, for […]

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The economy is rationing health IT spending – implications for ARRA

We’re living in the hype cycle of the HIT portion of the economic stimulus package. Lest we get too carried away, a survey sponsored by NCR reminds us that hospitals are rationing their health IT spending in 2009.Only 15% of hospital leaders say the economy is having ‘no effect’ on their IT spending. Otherwise, 36% […]

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