2011 Redux

Today’s Managing Health Care Costs Indicator is 162

I posted 162 times in 2011, and for the New Years (OK, for Martin Luther King Day weekend),  I’ve selected a small sample of these posts that either seem more relevant now than when I wrote them, or that I’m especially proud of.

Why positive early trials fade to mediocre results later (a review of a Jonah Lehrer December, 2010 New Yorker article). Note that an April post showed how Tamiflu demonstrates this concept.

High Cost California Hospitals Have Lower Mortality, although by my back-of-the-envelope calculations it looked like it would cost over $2 million per Quality Adjusted Life Year to move patients from lower to higher quality hospitals.

The IOM provides data showing huge variation, but refuting the idea that higher quality is reliably associated with lower cost.


High deductible health plans lower utilization and cost, but also lower preventive care even if it's fully covered. 



Summary of 2010 Managing Health Care Cost class at Harvard School of Public Health.  Note that the 2011 list is a bit expanded; I’ll publish that in the near future


Courageous oncologists list what they could do to lower health care costs


How genomics is upending our understanding of what is evidence based medicine, and how to assess quality


More on cost-shifting vs. cost saving, with states deciding not to cover influenza vaccine


A knock-down of an influential article projecting huge savings from a country-wide obesity reduction program. 


Paul Starr’s take on approaches to constraining the growth of health care costs

One of many posts on the problem of health care unit costs


Vaccines save money through herd immunity as well as disease prevention in those vaccinated.   It turns out the same is true of HIV therapy.


Sometimes I worry that I focus too much on purported silver bullets and modern-day snake oil, and I worry I don’t emphasize what really works to control health care costs.  Therefore, I ended the year (and began 2012) with a series on things that really work, including

I think 2012 will be another great year for policy wonks, as the Supremes consider various elements of health care reform, the 2012 presidential race heats up even further,  and we get closer to the 2014 Affordable Care Act provisions to mandate and subsidize health insurance coverage.  Happy MLK weekend, and thanks for reading.