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The Lifetime Costs and Benefits of Medical Technology

  • Cutler, David
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    Measuring the lifetime costs and benefits of medical technologies is essential in evaluating technological change and determining the productivity of medical care. Using data on Medicare beneficiaries with a heart attack in the late 1980s and 17 years of follow up data, I evaluate the long-term costs and benefits of revascularization after a heart attack. I account for non-random selection into treatment with instrumental variables; following McClellan, McNeil, and Newhouse, the instrument is the differential distance to a hospital capable of providing revascularization. The results show that revascularization is associated with over 1 year of additional life expectancy, at a cost of about $40,000. Revascularization, or other treatments correlated with it, appears to be highly cost-effective.

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    File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/2643640/cutler_lifetimecosts.pdf
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    Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 2643640.

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    Date of creation: 2007
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    Publication status: Published in Journal of Health Economics
    Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:2643640
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Littauer Center, Cambridge, MA 02138
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    Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/

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    1. Newey, Whitney K, 1990. "Efficient Instrumental Variables Estimation of Nonlinear Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 809-37, July.
    2. Amitabh Chandra & Douglas O. Staiger, 2007. "Productivity Spillovers in Health Care: Evidence from the Treatment of Heart Attacks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 103-140.
    3. Robert S. Huckman & Gary P. Pisano, 2006. "The Firm Specificity of Individual Performance: Evidence from Cardiac Surgery," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(4), pages 473-488, April.
    4. Joseph P. Newhouse, 1992. "Medical Care Costs: How Much Welfare Loss?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 3-21, Summer.
    5. Garber, Alan M. & Phelps, Charles E., 1997. "Economic foundations of cost-effectiveness analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-31, February.
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