Assorted Links (8/29/2009)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading today (organized by topic):

Foreign Policy 

Health Care Reform

  • Who should decide whether additional medical care is worth the cost?, by Keith Hennessey
    Keith Hennessey offers some interesting thought experiments in connection with this question.  Furthermore, he notes that,

“Resources are constrained, and so someone has to make the cost-benefit decision, either by creating a rule or making decisions on a case-by-case basis.  Many of those decisions are now made by insurers and employers.  The House and Senate bills would move some of those decisions into the government.  Changing the locus of the decision does not relax the resource constraint.  It just changes who has power and control.”

Knowledge @ Wharton: “Information technology could actually raise costs because of culture clashes, training, the implementation of the systems and the labor required to maintain the new technology.”

Wall Street Journal: “After decades of government-run care, some Indians are finally saying enough.”

Health Economics

  • The Strangely Powerful Placebo

Freakonomics: “It’s got the pharmaceutical industry worried enough to fund a major study to identify the factors in rising placebo potency. Drug companies could be victims of their own success in this instance: we’ve become so convinced of the power of modern medicine, it works even when we’re off the pill.”


Freakonomics: “More than 52,000 bicyclists have been killed in bicycle traffic accidents in the U.S. over the 80 years the federal government has been keeping records. When it comes to sharing the road with cars, many people seem to assume that such accidents are usually the cyclist’s fault, a result of reckless or aggressive riding. But an analysis of police reports on 2,752 bike-car accidents in Toronto found that clumsy or inattentive driving by motorists was the cause of 90 percent of these crashes.”