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Incidental Economist 08/22/2019 14:57
The idea behind price transparency is that informed consumers can price shop for medical services that have widely varying prices, like elective surgeries or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The concept is very popular, both in the United States and abroad. Most recently, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at requiring hospitals to disclose what patients will “actually pay” […]
Incidental Economist 08/18/2019 10:51
The articles in The New York Times’ 1619 Project — observing the 400th anniversary of American slavery and its implications — are worth your time, and mine. It’s a beautiful online interactive, but very inconvenient if you want to gradually work you way through the articles over a span of days. I poked around, but […]
Incidental Economist 08/15/2019 11:40
Colleagues and I are advertising for two policy analysts. If that’s you, this is an opportunity to work with us at the Partnered Evidence-based Policy Resource Center (PEPReC). Though PEPReC is a center in the Veterans Health Administration, the position will be filled through Boston University. Apply here (writing focus) or here (budget/spreadsheet focus). @afrakt.
Incidental Economist 08/12/2019 12:53
While I was on vacation, I published two pieces elsewhere. On hospital mergers and prices with Elsa Pearson in the Providence Journal: “Mergers are often advertised as a way to reduce prices and improve quality of care. We know from decades of research that they do neither of those things and it’s time we stop […]
Incidental Economist 08/07/2019 07:30
The following originally appeared on The Upshot (copyright 2019, The New York Times Company) Sickle cell disease affects about 100,000 Americans, most of them African-Americans. There are few treatments for it, and experts say not enough is being done to prevent complications. Just recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services declined to put in quality measures that […]
Incidental Economist 08/02/2019 08:20
My colleagues Nambi J. Ndugga, Elsa Pearson, and Melissa Garrido have a piece out in Axios today on the challenges posed by benzodiazepines (BZDs). In the U.S., deaths associated with BZDs like Xanax and Valium have increased from 135 in 1999 to over 11,500 in 2017. The dangers of misusing these potentially addictive drugs are particularly acute […]
Incidental Economist 07/31/2019 07:00
The following originally appeared on The Upshot (copyright 2019, The New York Times Company) and is coauthored by Elsa Pearson and Austin Frakt. In the first congressional hearing held on “Medicare for all” in April, Michael Burgess, a Republican congressman from Texas and a physician, called such a proposal “frightening” because it could limit the treatments […]
Incidental Economist 07/30/2019 11:37
Nutrition studies are really, really bad a lot of the time. Sometimes researchers don’t do careful work, and the systems in place don’t always prevent weak research from being published. Add that to the fact that media outlets tend to overblow stories about food and cancer, and it’s a recipe for research disaster. @DrTiff_.

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