Health Policy

Dodgy fertiliser is keeping Uganda hungry

Dodgy fertiliser is keeping Uganda hungry

August 5, 2015

By Francisco Toro - The Guardian

For agricultural development practitioners, it’s one of the great unanswered questions: why has farm productivity in Africa lagged so far behind the rest of the developing world? A new study [by David Yanagizawa-Drott and others] suggests part of the reason is that the planting materials available to African farmers are just terrible.

The challenge in pairing the sick with social services

The challenge in pairing the sick with social services

June 23, 2015

By Dan Gorenstein - Marketplace on NPR

This is what healthcare’s city of gold looks like, where money is saved and health is better.

Harvard health economist Amitabh Chandra says it’s a nice theory.

“There’s so many things we do in American health care because we think that they must work,” he says. “We have incredibly powerful narratives that each one of these things is going to generate billions and billions in savings.

“But every time we looked, we’ve found the answer has been a big giant zero,” he says.

Thanks, Obamacare? Healthcare Jobs Grow At Fastest Pace Since 1991

Thanks, Obamacare? Healthcare Jobs Grow At Fastest Pace Since 1991

June 5, 2015

By Dan Diamond - Forbes

“The goal of improving health and economic well-being does not go hand in hand with rising employment in health care,” Harvard’s Katherine Baicker and Amitabh Chandra wrote in NEJM in 2012. 

“The bottom line is that employment in the health care sector should be neither a policy goal nor a metric of success.”

Big Bets on Proton Therapy Face Uncertain Future

Big Bets on Proton Therapy Face Uncertain Future

May 26, 2015

By Melinda Beck - Wall Street Journal

Insurers balk at expensive radiation treatment; can smaller machines turn the tide?

...Critics say the lower startup costs will mean more centers offering pricey, unproven treatment. “Now, we’ll have an even bigger problem on our hands,” said Amitabh Chandra, a professor of public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Obamacare’s Big Gamble on Hospital Productivity

Obamacare’s Big Gamble on Hospital Productivity

May 25, 2015

By Austin Frakt - New York Times

...The acceptance of inevitably low health care productivity growth also troubles some economists. Amitabh Chandra, a Harvard economist, is one of them: “In Baumol’s view, as long as there is a steady stream of innovation in sectors others than health care — from cars to computers to everything on Amazon — we’ll be able to spend even more on health care, despite its jaundiced productivity growth. But if productivity in health care improves, too, then think about how much more health care we’ll be able to afford.”

In Forecasting Health Costs, Let Technology Be Your Guide

In Forecasting Health Costs, Let Technology Be Your Guide

March 9, 2015

By Austin Frakt - The New York Times

...Putting these and other factors together, Amitabh Chandra, Jonathan Holmes and Jonathan Skinner, in a paper for the Brookings Institution, made a quantitative prediction. Health spending will grow at a pace above that of the overall economy, but slower — 1.2 percent above gross domestic product — than it has historically — 2.4 percent — though the authors also express caution about this prediction...

Measuring the Value of Robots in the Operating Room

Measuring the Value of Robots in the Operating Room

February 2, 2015

By Doug Gavel - Harvard Kennedy School

Rapidly evolving medical technologies are providing effective, if not very expensive, new treatment options for Americans suffering from a variety of health ailments. Robot assisted surgeries are becoming more commonplace for a number of procedures, but administrators remain unclear as to whether or not the health care benefits are worth the costs.