Saturday, December 30, 2006

Middlemen redux

Following up on my earlier post about the role of middlemen in health care, yesterday's WSJ had a nice front-page article (link good for 7 days) on middlemen. After extolling the usual list of the virtues of a middleman --

A lot of the money that goes to health-care middlemen is well spent. It allows employers to combine their purchasing power for leverage with hospitals and drug makers. It harvests data to uncover which new procedures are valuable and which aren't. Middlemen offer health-care expertise to employers who don't have it and don't want to hire it.
-- the author then nails the downside:

But a lot of the money goes more toward fattening middlemen's bottom lines than toward improving the quality or efficiency of American health care. "At the end of the day, the only reasonable conclusion is that we waste a huge amount of money on the most nuttily cumbersome administrative system in the world," says Henry Aaron, a Brookings Institution economist.
posted by tommayo, 1:00 PM

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter