Reflex: August 29, 2011

Child marriage in the United States and its association with mental health in women. A study published in Pediatrics finds that about 9% of women marry before the age of 18 years. They also found that the “overall lifetime and 12-month rates of psychiatric disorders were higher for women who married as children, compared with women who married as adults.” Aaron’s Comment: I was most stunned by the fact that almost 1 in 10 women marry when they are younger than 18. I think we might want to focus on that, and the fact that almost half of all women had a history of a mental disorder over their lifetime rather on the relatively small difference between groups (49% vs. 53%).

Texas did not add 21,000 doctors because of tort reform. Politifact has declared that Gov. Perry’s claim is “False”, adding that Texas has added only about 13,000 doctors since then, mostly due to population growth. Aaron’s Comment: This shouldn’t be surprising to readers of the blog, since I’ve been dismantling claims of Texas’ Malpractice Miracle for some time.

Insurers offering Medicaid managed care plans expect a $60 billion annual increase in revenue, reports Christopher Weaver (Washington Post). The growth stems from health reform’s expansion in Medicaid enrollment and states’ greater reliance on managed care plans. …

… But, as Sarah Kliff (Washington Post) reports, according to a recent NBER paper “moving Medicaid recipients into managed care ‘did not lead to lower Medicaid spending during the 1991 to 2003 period.’” Austin’s comment: Private plans can’t save money over public ones unless they manage care in dramatically different ways or obtain lower prices. In some areas it is possible for them to do so, in Medicaid and Medicare, but, on average, the evidence shows they do not. Shifting reliance to private plans may not solve budget problems, though it may address political ones.

Hurricane Irene could bring about a short term economic boost, writes Josh Boak in Politico. Since 1968, the federal government has been the only source of flood insurance in the U.S., and this coverage will pay out billions due to Irene. Don’s comment: regardless of the short term economic effects of the Hurricane, Congress must act before September 30, 2011 to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, or the only source of flood insurance in the United States will end at the end of September.

(H/t: Igor Volsky, Dylan Matthews)

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