There is a tradition that in the planting of New England, the first settlers met with many difficulties and hardships, as is generally the case when a civiliz’d people attempt to establish themselves in a wilderness country. Being so piously dispos’d, they sought relief from heaven by laying their wants and distresses before the Lord in frequent set days of fasting and prayer. Constant meditation and discourse on these subjects kept their minds gloomy and discontented, and like the children of Israel there were many dispos’d to return to the Egypt which persecution had induc’d them to abandon.
Source: Timothy Taylor.
Here are some numbers from a 2011 Milliman report on high cost medical conditions in employer health benefit plans in 2010 that might provide a useful frame of reference next time a twenty-year-old claims that high health care costs can be cured by diet and exercise. Keep in mind that these are claims costs for insured patients. The costs might be lower if people were paying cash.
In a typical commercially insured population, only 0.2 percent of people incur annual medical claims over $100,000. Examples of high-cost “routine” events are cardiac revascularization at about $72,000 per year, stroke at $61,000 per year, and cancer patients not receiving chemotherapy or cancer surgery at $14,000 per year.
These events are rare enough that the average claims cost for the total population is slightly less than $4,000.
High cost or catastrophic conditions, the kind that employers purchase stop-loss coverage for, include stroke, cardiovascular surgery, hemophilia, HIV, transplants, end-stage renal disease, newborns with extreme problems, cancer, and people with respiratory failure on ventilators. Of those with catastrophic conditions, about 6 percent of people with these conditions have claims over $100,000. Most fall into the $20,000 to $50,000 range.
The following graph shows how the costs for cancer patients are distributed.
About two months ago, Dr. Elizabeth Stier was shocked to learn that she would lose a vital credential, board certification as a gynecologist, unless she gave up an important part of her medical practice and her research: taking care of men at high risk for anal cancer. (More)
A recent paper by William Easterly and Ross Levine (discussed by Chris Blattman here)…tries to give a partial answer to the big question of what shaped comparative economic development around the globe…
The results are quite remarkable. Practically one half of the variation in average global development levels today can be accounted for by the size of the initial European settlement…
Europeans brought many things with them — informal norms and culture, legal norms, political institutions, specific technologies — and there is no easy way of disentangling the effects of those on economic outcomes.
More from Dalibor Rohac.
The scene at Leon Medical Centers’ Healthy Living Facility in Miami on a recent Thursday resembled a cross between a luxury hotel and a theme park.
White-gloved doormen wearing porter uniforms ushered elderly patients from white vans into a gleaming lobby with colored terrazzo floors and a bubbling fountain. Greeters in green vests and ear bud radios welcomed the Medicare members and made sure their doctors knew that they’d arrived. Refreshments were proffered: Would they like a cafecito and pastelito for the wait?
And that was just the entranceway. Three more floors of the sprawling center bustled with Leon members meeting with physicians or dentists, taking healthy cooking classes, exercising in the fitness center or learning to use Facebook in a lecture hall…
With so many providers in one place ― most of them salaried employees of the center ― [Benjamin Leon, Jr., founder of the center] says members can shorten the time between primary care physician referral to specialist to diagnosis.
“What takes six to eight weeks,” he said, “we can do in 3 1/2 to four hours.”
But Leon also holds down costs by managing patients within the center’s network of providers. Fewer referrals to outside specialists means bigger savings for Leon, particularly important as Medicare Advantage cuts are phased in. He said the plan has not eliminated any benefits for 2014.
Source: KHN/Miami Herald.
For your Thanksgiving dinner delight I am offering fodder for a friendly debate.
The idea that John F. Kennedy was really a conservative, rather than the liberal icon he is so often depicted as, is the thesis of a new book by Ira Stoll. The idea is seconded by George Will in a column in The Washington Post. Are they correct?
Before examining the case, let me make an important distinction. I seem to be one of the few writers who sees conservatism and liberalism as sociologies, not ideologies.
What’s the difference? As I explained in a previous post at this blog:
An ideology is a set of ideas that cohere. Socialism is an ideology. So is libertarianism. Suppose I told you that socialists believe the government should nationalize the steel industry and the auto industry. You would have no difficulty inferring what their position is on nationalizing the airline industry. Right? Suppose I told you that libertarians believe in a free market for tinker toys and ham sandwiches. You would have no difficulty inferring that they also believe in a free market for Rubik’s Cubes.
Sociologies are different. They represent a set of ideas that are often incoherent. These ideas are likely to come together not because of reason, but because of history or happenstance. Not only do the ideas not cohere, they may be completely contradictory.
Has anybody here…