Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lou Dobbs Show 4:35 EDT/1:35 PDT Today

I will be a guest on Lou Dobbs' syndicated radio show today at 4:35 p.m. EDT/1:35 PDT.  Please go to the show's website to find your local station.  (If it's archived I'll link to that later.)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rick Perry's Texas: It's Better to Create More Jobs Than More Medicaid Dependents

As Texas governor Rick Perry makes a splash in the Republican presidential primaries, one place where people are looking for evidence of poor executive leadership is his record on health care. Fellow conservatives have focused on his 2007 executive order that girls entering grade 6 should receive a vaccine, Gardasil™, which protects against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

A criticism that will likely carry more weight as the campaign develops is Perry’s record on Medicaid and the uninsured. We see this in an article written by Noam N. Levey in the Los Angeles Times, which declared that Texans’ access to health care is “withering” under Perry. As Levey notes, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured in the nation, over one quarter of the population. This is important, but not in the way Levey believes.

Read the entire article in this month's Health Policy Prescription here.

Two New Ventures Simplify Consumer-Driven Health Care

A friend of mine who made a lot of money use to tease me when I (constantly) expressed shock at how simple so many successful business ideas are. “All great businesses are simple,” he said. Here are two in the healthcare space: Bloom Health and ZocDoc.
Although disrupting different parts of the value chain, the two ventures have some similarities. First, each just received a big chunk of capital. Bloom Health, initially funded by VCs in 2009, was taken over by WellPoint, Inc., and two other (non-profit) Blue Cross Blue Shield license-holders. ZocDoc just raised Series C funding from Goldman Sachs, having raised a total of $95 million.

Read the entire column at Forbes.com: The Apothecary here.

"Preparing for the Exchanges"? You Might as Well Prepare for the Unicorn Stampede

What is the biggest waste of effort in American health care today?

I’d suggest it is the hustle and bustle to establish PPACA’s Health Benefits Exchanges. The health insurers’ trade association, AHIP, has an entire educational series on “preparing for exchanges.” The likelihood of exchanges being up and running by January 2014 is vanishingly close to zero. Indeed, they may not exist at all except in very few states – whether or not President Obama wins re-election.

Read the entire article at The Health Care Blog.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Benjamin Rush Society Events at Duke University & Hampden-Sydney College

The Benjamin Rush Society, a national society of medical students of which I am Executive Director, will be hosting two events in the next few days.  If you are in Durham, NC or Hampden-Sydney, VA, please join us on September 23 or September 26!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Should Rick Perry Say About Gardasil?

The Republican presidential primaries have been temporarily hijacked by a single incident in Rick Perry’s decade-plus tenure as governor of Texas. Despite Michele Bachmann’s ludicrous claim that Gardasil causes mental retardation, let’s recall that not one single schoolgirl was vaccinated by the offensive executive order: The legislature overturned it long before the school year began.

Furthermore, the executive order did not comprise a mandate.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Obamacare Exchanges Are Limping Into Oblivion

Back on July 29, I wrote a blog entry explaining why I believe that any health insurance exchange, whether compliant with ObamaCare or not, is unlikely to thrive without huge subsidies. Recent days have brought forward new evidence that even the massively taxpayer-financed ObamaCare exchanges are facing even bigger problems than previously understood.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Graham Promoted To Additional Responsibilities

I should explain why I'm not writing on a daily basis anymore.  I trust I'll be able to get back to writing more frequently, but I have been given a new opportunity and additional responsibilities at Pacific Research Institute.

As well as continuing in my role as Director, Health Care Studies, I have been appointed Executive Director of the Benjamin Rish Society, a national society of medical students and physicians.  The Benjamin Rush Society's website (which is soon to undergo significant renovation) expains its mission.  The website is here.

These new duties will take up much of my time for the next few weeks.  Nevertheless, the monthly Health Policy Prescriptions and periodic blog entries will continue.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Obamacare's Exchanges Are Well and Truly Dead on Arrival

Yesterday, I sort of suggested that we could finally dispose of the matter of health insurance exchanges. 

Well, today, courtesy of Investors' Business Daily's David Hogberg and the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon, we learn that federal exchanges will not be able to funnel the gusher of refundable tax credits to indviduals who enrol in them.

Effectiveness of DTC Advertising

It has been a while since I've written about physician-pharmaceutical industry relations or DTC (direct-to-consumer) advertising.  My last major article, arguing that promotion and communications by pharmaceutical manufacturers is socially beneficial, is available at this link.

Many criticize the notion that advertising can have any value to patientss.  But a new study by three marketing professors from European business schools shows that research into advertising effectiveness is important.

In their article, reported at this link, they conclude that advertising for breast cancer is too "gender salient". That is, it is too "pink".  As a result women shirk from the ads, rather than learn from them.

Although the research appears to cover ads mostly sponsored by governments and charities, it nevertheless bears upon pharmaceutical companies' DTC advertising.  As we (hopefully) enter an era of personalized medicine, we should also be entering an era of more personalized DTC advertising.

As these European professors have shown, pharmacological R&D must be accompanied by research into effective communications.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Health Insurers' In States' Crosshairs

The Orange County Register published an op-ed by me, which describes the effects of states' emerging rules imposing political control of health-insurance premiums, which are prompted by Obamacare.  The op-ed is at this link.

The column is based on a my study, which PRI recently published, available at this link.

Why Don't Health Insurance Exchanges Work?

Health insurance exchanges! Can there possibly be anything more to say about them?  I have previously triangulated around the issue of generic exchanges, and focused my analysis on the negative consequences of Obamacare-compliant exchanges.

Over time, I've become more skeptical about exchanges in general, and the most voal supporters of so-called "free-market" exchanges (such as Utah's) have actually influenced me towards this position.  Their arguments really are not compelling.

Perhaps this will be my final word on exchanges.  Please go to this link to read August's Health Policy Prescription, "Why Health Exchanges Don't Work".