Category: Industrial Organization

  • Physician Group Influences on Treatment Intensity

    Over time, physicians are less likely to operate in solo or small group practices. In fact, the share of physician-owned practices has fallen below 50% in recent years. A key question then is how does a physician’s environment or the group they have join affect their practice patterns? Previous research has found that a physician’s […]

  • Impact of hospital mergers on quality: a case study

    There is mixed evidence about whether hospital mergers improve quality. On the one hand, economies of scale could lead to more investment in information technology, or allow for further specialization of services. A recent paper by Wang et al. (2022) investigates the impact of a recent hospital merger on quality in New York. The merging […]

  • CBO: Impact of price control legislation on new drug development

    It stands to reason that policies that aim to reduce drug prices or squeeze life science companies profits are likely to decrease incentives to finance the research and development needed to bring a drug to market. Previous estimates claim that bringing a new drug to market may cost over $2 billion, and life science companies […]

  • ‘Big is beautiful’ when it comes to physician practices?

    A book by Robert Atkinson and Michael Lind argued that big businesses–rather than small businesses–are the drivers of the economy. That book had the catchy title “Big is Beautiful“. A related question in the area of health economics is whether larger physician practices do better than smaller physician practices. Perhaps large practices can benefit from […]

  • What is the FTC’s stance on pharmaceutical mergers?

    The answer to this question likely will be shaped in part by a new multilateral working group that will include not only representatives from the U.S. (U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, and Offices of State Attorneys General), but also Canada (Canadian Competition Bureau), Europe (the European Commission Directorate General for Competition) and the United […]

  • Paying for mental health care in the Netherlands

    As COVID-19 has made many of us acutely aware, providing high quality mental health care is vital. However, the mental health care market is a difficult one for insurers; there is evidence that uncertainty and variation in treatments are greater compared to physical health conditions (for instance, see Frank et al. 2000). Thus uncertainty and […]

  • The rise of the health systems

    Health systems have been touted by some to be a cure to many of our health care systems ills by providing integrated, high quality care. Others claim that health systems are just a way for providers to big up prices through more bargaining power. Either way, it is not entirely clear to what extent health […]

  • The perils of health systems

    Last week I reviewed an article on some of the potential positives and negatives of large, integrated health systems. A recent 60 Minutes episode talks about some of the perils by examining how Sutter health system has become a near monopoly provider in Northern California. Consider the following interaction between Leslie Stahl of 60 minutes […]

  • On the promise and peril of health systems

    Integrated delivery networks. IDNs. Accountable Care Organizations. ACOs. Systems of care. Health systems. Whatever you call them, many health policy experts claim that they are the best way for the U.S. health care system to deliver high quality care in a cost-effective manner. But is that really the case? A commentary by UCSD professor and […]