Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Friday, May 13, 2005

Brian Ferguson Presents
A Canadian Econoview

Brian Ferguson, who has contributed a considerable amount to this blog and to many enjoyable e-mail exchanges between the two of us, as well as other bloggers, has begun his own blog, A Canadian Econoview. As you can tell from his many contributions to The Eclectic Econoclast, Brian is knowledgeable and clear-thinking on a full range of economic policy issues, but much of his expertise has been developed in the area of health economics. As an example, see this editorial by him in yesterday's National Post [$ Subscription required].

Here is one recent example of his analysis from his blog. When the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies recommended that Canadian provinces guarantee they will pay to send a patient to another province if waiting times are exceeded, Brian pointed out that this "second offer" policy has been tried, with some success elsewhere.

According to a BBC report published online in January, the Second Offer Scheme was instituted in April of 2003, to guarantee that Welsh patients who faced waits of over 18 months were offered alternative treatment in England. (Since devolution, those distinctions mean a lot more than they used to.)And according to this BBC report, published March 30, Welsh Health Minister Brian Gibbons said

that more than 6,000 people had taken up the assembly's second offer scheme - where patients waiting longer than the current 18-month target time can take up treatment in England - and it had had a "huge impact" on waits.
Brian lists a number of concerns but is cautiously optimistic about the Second Offer Scheme.

My feeling is that in order to make it truly efficient, the provincial gubmnts should also offer to ship patients to the U.S. if the waiting period for some procedures is too long. Shipping patients to a different province may not work very well if there are long waiting lists throughout all of Canada.
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