2014 Annual Conference:
Behavioral Economics, Law, and Health Policy

Saturday, May 03, 2014
Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East ABC
1585 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

We've increased our registration limit! Register here. Conference DescriptionRichard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein's book Nudge: Improving Decisions About…

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Looking at Costs and Risks, Many Skip Health Insurance

New York Times, April 21, 2014
by Abby Goodnough

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Steve Huber, an affable salesman who is still paying off an unexpected medical bill, was not among the millions of Americans who signed up for health insurance…

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Health Care Spending’s Recent Surge Stirs Unease

New York Times, April 18, 2014
by Anne Lowrey

WASHINGTON — It’s back. For years, because of structural changes in the health care delivery system and the deep economic downturn, the health care “cost curve” — as economists and…

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Enrollments Exceed Obama’s Target for Health Care Act

New York Times, April 17, 2014
by Mark Landler and Michael D. Shear

WASHINGTON — President Obama announced Thursday that eight million people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, including what the White House said were a sufficient…

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Free Drug Samples Prompt Skin Doctors To Prescribe Costlier Meds

NPR, April 16, 2014
by Michaeleen Doucleff

Every "free" sample comes with a price. Dermatologists who accept free tubes and bottles of brand-name drugs are likelier to prescribe expensive medications for acne than doctors who are prohibited…

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Even After Doctors Are Sanctioned or Arrested, Medicare Keeps Paying

ProPublica, April 16, 2014
by Charles Ornstein

In August 2011, federal agents swept across the Detroit area, arresting doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals accused of running a massive scheme to defraud Medicare. The following month, several…

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Many states avoiding paying for glitchy health care sites:

Washington Times, April 15, 2014
by Tom Howell Jr., quoting I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Co-Director)

“I think these will be handled as is most government contracting: threats of litigation or excluding the contractors, followed by real negotiations and agreements,” said I. Glenn Cohen, a health…

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Report projects health care costs to dip slightly

Washington Post, April 14, 2014
by AP

WASHINGTON — The Affordable Care Act’s health insurance subsidies will cost a little less than previously thought, according to a new report released Monday. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that…

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Doctors Overlook Lucrative Procedures When Naming Unwise Treatments

Kaiser Health News, April 14, 2014
by Jordan Rau

When America’s joint surgeons were challenged to come up with a list of unnecessary procedures in their field, their selections shared one thing: none significantly impacted their incomes. The American Academy…

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Why Most Brazilian Women Get C-Sections

The Atlantic, April 14, 2014
by Olga Khazan

RECIFE, Brazil — When Ivana Borges learned she was pregnant, she told her obstetrician that she wanted a natural birth. Her mother had delivered five children without surgery or medication,…

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Sebelius Resigns; Obama Names OMB Chief Burwell To Head HHS

Kaiser Health News, April 11, 2014
by Mary Agnes Cary

President Barack Obama Friday officially announced the resignation of Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, praising her efforts to implement the federal health overhaul and predicting that…

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The Presumption Against Expensive Health Care Consumption

Tulsa Law Review, Vol. 49, Forthcoming, 2014
by Christopher T. Robertson (Affiliate Faculty)

This essay, as part of a symposium in honor of Professor Einer Elhauge, starts with his recognition that, for both epistemic and normative reasons, it remains profoundly difficult to regulate…

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EdX Course:

EdX, Course began April 7, 2014
by John E. McDonough, DrPH, MPA

This online course provides a basic and thorough understanding of the U.S. health care system focusing on access, quality of care, and costs.

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Doctors Shun Insurance, Offering Care for Cash

New York Times, April 10, 2014
by Alexa Ura

LAREDO, Tex. — For 12 hours a day, the waiting room at Dr. Gustavo Villarreal’s family practice is packed with patients who pay a flat $50 fee for the convenience…

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WHO Calls For High-Priced Drugs For Millions With Hepatitis C

NPR, April 9, 2014
by Richard Knox

Authors of the first-ever global guidelines for treating hepatitis C went big Tuesday, advocating for worldwide use of two of the most expensive specialty drugs in the world. The new guidelines from…

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Doctor-Pay Trove Shows Limits of Medicare Billing Data:

Wall Street Journal, April 9, 2014
by Christopher Weaver, Melinda Beck, and Ron Winslow

The trove of Medicare data released Wednesday shows a wide cast of characters in the top ranks of the highest-reimbursed doctors, and reveals as much about the limits of the newly public…

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Obama Administration Retreats On Private Medicare Rate Cuts

Kaiser Health News, April 8, 2014
by Jay Hancock

Under intense, bipartisan political pressure, the Obama administration backed down for the second year in a row on proposed payment cuts for insurance companies that offer private plans to Medicare…

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Health Law Workshop: David Gamage

Monday, April 07, 2014 5:00 PM
Health Law Workshops
Hauser 105
1575 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

Download David Gamage's paper, "The Evolution of Health Care Reform: Should Risk Adjustment Become the Heart of Obamacare?". David Gamage is…

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Newly Enrolled, but Not Counted by Insurance Exchanges

New York Times, April 1, 2014
by Katie Thomas

Millions of newly insured people are hiding in plain sight. They are the people who have bought new health insurance since the start of this year but have chosen for one reason…

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Mental Health Groups Split on Bill to Overhaul Care

New York Times, April 2, 2014
by Benedict Carey

Lawmakers, patient advocates and the millions of Americans living with a psychiatric diagnosis agree that the nation’s mental health care system is broken, and on Thursday, Congress will hear testimony…

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Dust Settles As First Enrollment Period Comes To A Close

Kaiser Health News, April 1, 2014

Though March 31 is increasingly viewed as a somewhat soft deadline, it's come and gone amidst last-day technical troubles. In its wake, lots of analysis and speculation about where the ultimate tally --…

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Supreme Court to Hear Appeal of Generic Drug Case

New York Times, March 31, 2014
by Andrew Pollack

As the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has been critical of brand-name manufacturers that try to block generic versions of their high-priced medicines. But Teva is…

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Obama Announces 6 Million Have Signed Up For Insurance

Kaiser Health News, March 27, 2014
by Mary Agnes Carey

More than 6 million people have signed up for health insurance through the health law’s state and federal online marketplaces, or exchanges, since Oct. 1, the administration announced Thursday. [...]

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Half Of Uninsured Not Planning On Getting Coverage, Poll Finds

Kaiser Health News, March 26, 2014
by Jordan Rau

With less than a week left for customers to apply for insurance through the health care marketplaces, a poll released Wednesday finds that half of the people still without health coverage intend…

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Few will use Obamacare hardship exemption, analysts say:

Washington Times, March 23, 2014
by Jacqueline Klimas, quoting Matthew J. B. Lawrence (Academic Fellow)

[...] “When you have a very vague term like this exemption 14, the devil could be in the details on how it is implemented,” Mr. Lawrence said. “But that is…

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In Alabama, College Students Take On Challenge of Health Insurance Sign-Up

New York Times, March 12, 2014
by Michael Winerip

Students at the University of Alabama Honors College here are encouraged to do volunteer work in the community and on campus. For Marlan Golden, a senior, that has included being…

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Was the Medicaid Expansion Coercive?

Routledge, 2014
by I. Glenn Cohen (Petrie-Flom Faculty Co-Director)

In The Affordable Care Act Decision: Philosophical and Legal Implications, Fritz Allhoff and Mark Hall, eds. In this book chapter on the ACA decision, NFIB v. Sebelius, I focus on the Court's…

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Obama’s New Approach Takes a Humorous Turn

New York Times, March 11, 2014
by Michael D. Shear

[...] On Tuesday, Mr. Galifianakis welcomed President Obama to the comedy show that he has turned into an Internet cult favorite by making his guests feel awkward and uncomfortable. The interview…

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Health Law Cited as US Uninsured Rate Drops

ABC News, March 10, 2014
by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

The share of Americans without health insurance is dropping to the lowest levels since President Barack Obama took office, but sign-ups under his health care law lag among Hispanics —…

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Actuaries In Denver Will Get First Peek At Obamacare’s Full Cost

NPR, March 7, 2014
by Jay Hancock

Now that medical insurers must accept all applicants no matter how sick, what will these new customers cost health plans? And how will their coverage costs affect insurance prices for…

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Indian medicine, coming soon to an island near you

BMJ, February 25, 2014
by Suzy Frisch, quoting I. Glenn Cohen (Petrie-Flom Faculty Co-Director)

[...] NH will open a hospital in the Cayman Islands in February in partnership with Ascension Health, the largest non-profit provider in the US. Shetty and David Pryor, president and…

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Doctors’ Offices Get Put On Hold Trying to Find Out Who’s Insured

NPR, February 25, 2014
by Jenny Gold

Sheila Lawless manages a small rheumatology practice in Wichita Falls, Texas, about two hours outside of Dallas. She makes sure everything in the office runs smoothly – scheduling patients, collecting…

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Obama Administration Proposes 1.9% Cut In Medicare Advantage Payments

Kaiser Health News, February 24, 2014
by Mary Agnes Carey

An Obama administration announcement about payment rates for Medicare Advantage plans in 2015 has set off a dispute about how large – or small – the changes really are. Late…

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Making ‘Big Food’ Pay For Obesity:

"On Point" on WBUR, February 17, 2014

In the 1990s, the American tobacco industry was reined in and made to pay, big-time, for the health consequences of cigarettes and more.  An epic quarter trillion-dollar legal settlement in…

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Apprehensive, Many Doctors Shift to Jobs With Salaries

New York Times, February 13, 2014
by Elisabeth Rosenthal

American physicians, worried about changes in the health care market, are streaming into salaried jobs with hospitals. Though the shift from private practice has been most pronounced in primary care, specialists are…

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Report: Nearly 3.3 Million Americans Have Enrolled in Private Obamacare Plans

Kaiser Health News, February 12, 2014
by Phil Galewitz

Nearly 3.3 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance plans since October through the online marketplaces created by the health law, with enrollment continuing to surge through January,…

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FDA Approves Pill Camera to Screen Colon

ABC News, February 3, 2014
by Matthew Perrone

A kinder, gentler approach to one of the most dreaded exams in medicine is on the way: U.S. regulators have cleared a bite-size camera to help screen patients who have…

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Method of Study Is Criticized in Group’s Health Policy Tests

New York Times, February 2, 2014
by Gina Kolata

The idea seemed transformative. The Affordable Care Act would fund a new research outfit evocatively named the Innovation Center to discover how to most effectively deliver health care, with $10…

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Law’s Expanded Medicaid Coverage Brings a Surge in Sign-ups

New York Times, January 20, 2014
by Sabrina Tavernise

WELCH, W.Va. — Sharon Mills, a disabled nurse, long depended on other people’s kindness to manage her diabetes. She scrounged free samples from doctors’ offices, signed up for drug company…

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Federal Judge Upholds Health Care Subsidies

New York Times, January 15, 2014
by Robert Pear

A federal judge rejected a legal challenge on Wednesday to a central part of President Obama’s health care law, ruling that millions of low- and moderate-income people could obtain health…

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Federal Judge Upholds Health Care Subsidies

New York Times, January 15, 2014
by Robert Pear

A federal judge rejected a legal challenge on Wednesday to a central part of President Obama’s health care law, ruling that millions of low- and moderate-income people could obtain health…

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Older Pool of Health Care Enrollees Stirs Fears on Costs

New York Times, January 13, 2014
by Michael D. Shear and Robert Pear

People signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s federal and state marketplaces tend to be older and potentially less healthy, officials said Monday, a demographic mix that…

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Emergency Visits Seen Increasing With Health Law

New York Times, January 2, 2014
by Sabrina Tavernise

Supporters of President Obama’s health care law had predicted that expanding insurance coverage for the poor would reduce costly emergency room visits because people would go to primary care doctors…

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Medicare pricing drives high health-care costs

The Washington Post, December 31, 2013
by Peter Whoriskey and Dan Keating

Medicare may be best known for paying the medical bills for millions of people 65 and older, but recent studies show it plays another gargantuan role in American health care:…

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Expect To Pay More For Your Employer-Sponsored Health Care Next Year

Kaiser Health News, December 20, 2013
by Julie Appleby

If you’re one of the 150 million Americans who get health insurance through your job, prepare to pay more. The new year will likely bring higher deductibles and co-payments, penalties…

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A Gap in the Affordable Care Act

New York Times, December 16, 2013
by Catherine Saint Louis

The Affordable Care Act mandated that insurers cover dental care for children. Indeed, it was one of the 10 essential health benefits meant to set the bar for adequate health insurance. But pediatric…

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Solving the Shortage in Primary Care Doctors

New York Times, December 14, 2013
by Catherine Rampell

Again and again, we hear that the country has too few doctors, particularly for primary care. And Obamacare is supposed to make the shortage much worse in the coming years…

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Fewer Psychiatrists Seen Taking Health Insurance

New York Times, December 11, 2013
by Robert Pear

Psychiatrists are significantly less likely than doctors in other specialties to accept insurance, researchers say in a new study, complicating the push to increase access to mental health care. The study,…

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HIV Patients Asked to Pay More Under Obamacare

Time, December 10, 2013
by Kate Pickert

[...] Some HIV advocates see the limited offerings as part of an intentional move by insurers to scare away HIV patients in order to keep their risk pools full of healthy people…

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Insurers Question Health Benefits Of Some Genetic Tests

Kaiser Health News, December 10, 2013
by Michelle Andrews

The day when a simple blood test or saliva sample can identify your risk for medical conditions ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease seems tantalizingly close. But while advances in…

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