Mark V. Pauly, PhD

Mergers, Monopolies, and the Medical Loss Ratio

Aug. 1, 2015

cross-posted with US News

Health insurers are merging everywhere you turn in the newly reformed and more heavily regulated health insurance system. Anthem announced last week it will buy insurance giant Cigna for over $54 billion, acquiring more than 53 million new patients. And Aetna, earlier this month, announced its agreement to buy Humana, the nation’s fifth-largest health insurer.

Who Has The Most To Lose From Health Insurance Mergers?

Jul. 31, 2015

cross-posted with the Field Clinic

In recent weeks, two sets of already huge health insurers—Aetna and Humana, Cigna and Anthem—have announced plans to combine. And more mergers may be in the works.  Should the rest of us fear being trampled when these behemoths connect? The answer to that question, as with almost all questions in health economics, is “it all depends.”

What Does it Cost to Develop a Drug and Should We Really Care?

Jun. 10, 2015

Cross-posted with the Field Clinic blog

How much does it cost to develop a new drug? The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development periodically produces estimates for drugs that actually make it to market. Predictably, those estimates consistently generate a storm of criticism that the methodology behind them is opaque, and that they are, nevertheless, too high. The newest number is $2.6 billion (for 2013) - triple the estimate in 2003.

An Alternative to the ACA’s Employer Mandate

Jun. 23, 2014

Cross-posted with the Field Clinic blog

The Obama administration has given employers a reprieve from the mandate that they offer their workers insurance at low employee premiums or pay a penalty. As things now stand, enforcement is postponed until 2016. But should the mandate ever come back?

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