Updates / Health Care


By / 1.27.2017

“Have your cake and eat it.”  With these six aggressively monosyllabic words, the redoubtable Boris Johnson came clean, almost despite himself, about the contradictions of Brexit, and perhaps those of today’s right-of-center populism altogether.  In time, the phrase may be seen as the defining utterance of the post-truth era in trans-Atlantic politics. The Washington corollary […]

By / 9.30.2016

According to PPI estimates, rising labor costs accounted for almost $65 billion in added health care costs in 2015, or 47 percent of the total increase in personal health care spending (as reported by the latest projections from the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid). By contrast, IMS reports that net spending on prescription drugs […]

By / 5.6.2016

Productivity growth in the United States continues to slump.  The latest numbers from the BLS show that multifactor productivity growth was only a tiny 0.2% in 2015. In particular, gross medical productivity of the US healthcare system fell by 1.2% in 2015, according to PPI’s calculations.* That’s after two years of ticking up slightly. Falling […]

By / 5.7.2015

Our recent report on tech employment, authored by myself and Diana Carew,  calculated that women have been getting three times as many healthcare-related bachelors degrees as men. A NYT article from February 2015 lauded women for taking advantage of the stable, middle class jobs in healthcare, observing that As the job market has shifted, women, in general, have […]

By / 12.3.2014

Senator Schumer has made a plausible argument for why Obamacare was a political mistake.  I disagree. Democratic politicians have mainly defended Obamacare on the grounds of access, fairness and cost containment. But in the process, Democrats have missed an opportunity to show how Obamacare is a platform for entrepreneurial growth. Framed correctly, Obamacare could turn out […]

By / 12.2.2014

I am speaking Thursday at a Cato conference on The Future of U.S. Economic Growth, with a politically diverse group of speakers including Martin Baily, Robert Gordon, Brad DeLong and Erik Brynjolfsson. My panel is entitled”What is to be done?,” and focuses on feasible policy solutions. In preparation for the conference, I put together an essay on “Hacking […]

By / 5.7.2014

An article in Forbes trumpets a new approach to actually curing cancer using the immune system.  The article itself, entitled “Is This How We’ll Cure Cancer?” is worth reading, though a healthy dose of skepticism is important. However, from my perspective, what’s important are the  quotes about cost towards the bottom of the story “You’re going to […]

By / 4.14.2014

Insurers and politicians have been complaining that Sovaldi—Gilead’s new cure for hepatitis C—costs too much at $84,000 per treatment. But that complaint, while accurately reflecting short-term financial incentives,  perversely misses the real point. In the long-term, the real budget-buster for the U.S. healthcare system is the cost of managing and treating chronic conditions such as […]

By / 9.24.2013

I’ve been critical of the FDA in the past. But now that the FDA has released its long-awaited guidance for “Mobile Medical Applications,”  I’m pleasantly surprised at the stance the agency has taken. Basically, the FDA has done exactly what it should do–gotten out of the way of innovation, while reserving the right to jump […]

By and / 6.17.2013

How much do congressional Republicans hate Obamacare? How determined are they to see it fail? We may soon find out. For the first time, a constituency group to whom the GOP normally pays close attention—religious institutions—is asking for a legislative “fix” of the Affordable Care Act to make it work as intended. If the recent […]