Reading list

Recognizing an Opinion: Findings From the IOM Evidence Communication Innovation Collaborative, by William D. Novelli, George C. Halvorson and John Santa (The Journal of the American Medicine Association)

Why Premium Support? Restructure Medicare Advantage, Not Medicare, by Judy Feder, Stephen Zuckerman, Nicole Cafarella Lallemand and Brian Biles (Urban Institute)

Premium support proponents argue that replacing public insurance with vouchers to purchase private (or public) coverage will harness market forces to contain costs. But the debate often ignores traditional Medicare’s administrative efficiency, purchasing power and the rewards to risk selection that accompany competition among plans. We show that despite Medicare Advantage (MA) plans’ success in enrolling beneficiaries, they have been unsuccessful in lowering costs. Except in 15 percent of counties, MA costs per beneficiary exceed costs for traditional Medicare. Fiscal prudence warrants limiting MA payments to 100 percent of traditional Medicare costs, while keeping payments to MA plans below traditional Medicare in the highest cost counties.

Five questions for health economists, by Randall P. Ellis (International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics)

Wussinomics: the state of competitive efficiency in private health insurance, by Mark Pauly (International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics)

Health economics and policy: towards the undiscovered country of market based reform, by Stephen T. Parente (International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics)

Sinking, Swimming, or Learning to Swim in Medicare Part D, by Jonathan D. Ketcham, Claudio Lucarelli, Eugenio J. Miravete and M. Christopher Roebuck (American Economic Review)

Under Medicare Part D, senior citizens choose prescription drug insurance offered by numerous private insurers. We examine nonpoor enrollees- actions in 2006 and 2007 using panel data. Our sample reduced overspending by $298 on average, with gains by 81 percent of them. The greatest improvements were by those who overspent most in 2006 and by those who switched plans. Decisions to switch depended on individuals’ overspending in 2006 and on individual-specific effects of changes in their current plans. The oldest consumers and those initiating medications for Alzheimer’s disease improved by more than average, suggesting that real-world institutions help overcome cognitive limitations.

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