Assorted Links

  • Maggie Mahar (assumingly) doesn’t like markets, and especially in medicine. The problem is, she seems to be confused as to what a “marketplace” is:

    In 1977, Maryland decided that, rather than leaving prices to the vagaries of a marketplace where insurers and hospitals negotiate behind closed doors, it would delegate the task of setting reimbursement rates for acute-care hospitals to an independent agency, the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission.

    People dealing behind closed doors is characteristic of a racket…not a market.

  • Reason Magazine contributor, Ronald Bailey understands the “General Theory of Second Best“. It’s always nice to be in good company! Now why can’t politicians?!

    This divide and conquer strategy may be good politics, but it is bad economics. The virtue of creating an artificial market applying to all greenhouse gas emissions is that market participants can figure out the most efficient way to cut emissions among themselves. Isolating favored segments means that market participants will not be able to find the least expensive ways to cut carbon emissions, raising the overall price of energy more than it would otherwise be. So the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman bill does not initially appear to be much of an improvement on the Waxman-Markey horror.

  • Charles Davis has a piece that should be relatively familiar territory for libertarians and other right-wing liberals…but that everyone should read, and take to wallet.

    The spectacular failure of reform efforts to arrest the trend toward ever-greater concentration of power and money in the hands of a few beckons us to contemplate a more holistic solution to the problem of the state and the influence of capital, but one that, as Thoreau would put it, can only be considered when the masses are prepared for it, when people come to grasp that they can get along just fine without the charlatans and hucksters who claim to represent them — when violence and power come to be abhorred, not worshiped.

  • Courtesy of The Happy Hospitalist, the medicare payment formula, and description/explanation of terms. (The article is written from a decidedly pro-doctor stance):

    (wRVU*gm +peRVU*gm + mRVU*gm)*cf=$$$$


    RVU= relative value unit
    w= work (the intrinsic value of the doctors education and effort)
    pe= practice expense (the expense incurred to offer the service)
    m= malpractice (money to defer malpractice costs)
    gm= geographic modifier
    cf= conversion factor


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