Book Club: Risky Business—Why Insurance Markets Fail And What to Do About It

I thought I knew a lot about how insurance markets work (and don’t), but I learned more than I expected from Risky Business—Why Insurance Markets Fail And What to Do About It by Liran Einav, Amy Finkelstein, and Ray Fishman. Adverse selection (commonly called cherry picking) is a double-edged problem. I knew about insurers’ schemes…

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Book Club – Super Forecasting: The Art and Science of Predicting

The title makes a big promise, but this book delivers. The book starts with examples through history of “experts” who were followed, even when evidence they were wrong was obvious. Healthcare is full of these examples, and the authors cite a few. In 2005, Phillip Tetlock published a very large 20-year study measuring the accuracy…

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Book Club: Recoding America – Why Government is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better

If you’ve ever muttered under your breath about the inefficiency/waste/frustration/etc of government at all levels, you have to read Recoding America – Why Government is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better, by Jennifer Pahlka. I don’t think I’ve ever dogeared as many pages in a book. While the author explores…

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Book Club: Healthy Voices, Unhealthy Silence: Advocacy and Health Policy for the Poor

It was difficult to read Healthy Voices, Unhealthy Silence by Colleen Grogan and Michael Gusmano; thankfully it is short. It explores Connecticut’s adoption of managed care for Medicaid in 1996. The picture it paints is not flattering. Published in 2007, I’m embarrassed that I hadn’t seen this book before now. The authors track the implementation…

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Book Club: We’ve Got You Covered

I wasn’t looking forward to reading yet another book promoting yet another idea to solve America’s broken healthcare system. But it’s my job, so I dove into We’ve Got You Covered: Rebooting American Health Care by Liran Einav and Amy Finkelstin. I’m a convert now – mostly. The first half of the book is the…

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Summer reading — Rough Sleepers

I thought I understood healthcare for the homeless, but I had a lot to learn. Rough Sleepers: Dr. Jim O’Connell’s Urgent Mission to Bring Healing to Homeless People describes Boston’s Healthcare for the Homeless Program by following Dr. Jim O’Connell’s career of caring for people who live, and sleep, on the streets. He ended up…

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Book Club — The Data Detective

The Data Detective: Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics follows on the Book Club’s obsession with statistics and good data analysis (here, here, here, and here). Good policy rests on good evidence. There are good sources, including the books linked above, that uncover misleading information, with clues to identify them, and that’s important.…

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Book Club: Making Numbers Count

If your job is to communicate policy and make sense of it, you need Making Numbers Count – The Art and Science of Communicating Numbers by Chip Health and Karla Starr. Numbers are the bedrock of policy (or they should be) but they are scary to 99.9% of people – including the people you need…

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Book Club — Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement

Noise – A Flaw in Human Judgement by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony, and Cass Sunstein, is long, so it sat on my bookshelf for awhile. But it’s worth the time. Noise is the variation in judgements that shouldn’t vary. Judges should give similar sentences in similar cases, underwriters should find the same expected risks from…

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Book Club: Think Again

You have to read Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant. We all think our minds are open, but we’re wrong. Intelligence is nice, but the critical skills are rethinking, relearning, and the courage to dump baggage. The Dunning-Kruger effect is real – the people with the most confidence…

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