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Economics 3 Pages

Health Economics Problem Solving

Question

Health Economics

1.    Suppose that patients who have previously had care provided for free are asked to pay for care for the first time. As a manager at a physician group practice, you must try to anticipate how the use of care will change.  Please answer the following questions.

a.    The first thing you need some information about is a particular type of curve.  That curve is called a _________ curve.

b.    With patients being asked to pay something for the first time, will this lead to a shift of the demand curve or movement along the demand curve?

c.    Please list three things about the population served by your practice that could affect how quantity of services will change, in other words things that could lead to the demand varying from one population to another.  

d.    Give a brief explanation of how each of the things listed in item (c) affect the demand for care. 

2.    Now suppose you are managing a third party payer.  Let’s continue with the example from number 1.  In that example, we assumed that the patients went from having to pay nothing to having to pay something.

a.    When the consumers had to pay nothing, describe what determines how much revenue would the third party payer need to collect to pay the claims for the care utilization.  

b.    When the consumers have to pay something, is the change in the premium simply the price per service multiplied by the change in utilization or is the change more complex?  If it is more complex, please describe how the premium necessary to cover the expenditures on health care utilization will change.

3.    Please discuss the first two assumptions mentioned in the Hour 3-5 lecture notes.  These are (1) that consumers are the best judge of their own welfare and (2) that consumers have the information they need to make decisions.  Do you agree with these assumptions outside of health care?  Do you agree with these assumptions in health care?  If you disagree either in general or for healthcare, please describe why.  Does your answer suggest that a public authority or private firm should influence individual decision making about health care?  If you suggest that individuals should be influenced should that be by mandate or by incentives?

4.    Imagine that you are managing at a hospital outpatient unit and consider that your administrative staff has been cut by one person.  As a result, it takes longer to manage each visit for the patients who come to your facility. Suppose that consumers had been paying a small amount for each service before you had to let staff go.  Assume that the unit is covering its costs before you have to cut the administrative staff.   

a.    With the reduction in staff how do your unit’s expenses change?

b.    With the reduction in staff, assuming that there is a fixed amount of operational time, will you be able to produce the same number of visits?  If yes, what would have to happen to the staff you have?

c.    Will the demand for outpatient services change if your outpatient unit maintains the same monetary price?  

d.    Consider your answers to (b) and (c).  In light of this, will the outpatient center be able to cover its costs? Do you have enough information to answer the question?  If not, what other information do you need?

5.    Consider a new cancer screening technology that can be administered at a primary care visit.  In our hypothetical health care system, individuals have to pay for the visit and the screening.  The new technology is less invasive and more accurate than the old technology, but the new technology requires patients to pay twice as much out of pocket.  Suppose that the old technology is no longer available.  

a.    Reason through whether there will be more people who receive cancer screening with the new technology than with the old technology.  

b.    Since the cost of cancer screening has gone up, will anything happen to the demand for primary care visits?  With the type of change you suggest in the demand for primary care visits, what type of goods are primary care visits and cancer screenings?

c.    Suppose we have two populations.  One population of higher income individuals.  A second population of lower income workers.  The higher income individuals make twice as much as the lower income individuals.  Would you expect the cancer screening to be used twice as much, more than twice as much, or less than twice as much by the higher income individuals compared with the lower income individuals?  Based on your answer, does that make cancer screening a normal good or an inferior good?  If it is a normal good does that make cancer screening a luxury or a necessity?  Please explain why you believe that cancer screening is the type of good you have chosen.


Solution

Title: Health Economics Problem Solving
Length: 3 pages (897 Words)
Style: MLA

Preview

Health Economics Problem Solving

Answer 1

The demand curve is the particular curve anticipated in the situation. This is because under the law of demand, change in price causes an absolute change in quantity of goods or service demanded if all other factors are constant. Therefore, the pricing of formerly free healthcare services leads to a lower demand for the healthcare services.

When patients are asked to pay for healthcare for the first time, this will lead to a movement along the demand curve. This movement describes a change along the same curve, where it denotes a variation in both the quantity demanded and price from one point of the curve to another.

Demand for healthcare services could vary from one population to another when there is a change in income of the people, differences in income distribution, and changes in the population.

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