If your company operates in a developing country, AIDS is your business. While Africa has received the most attention, AIDS is also spreading swiftly in other parts of the world. Russia and Ukraine had the fastest-growing epidemics last year, and many experts believe China and India will suffer the next tidal wave of infection. Why should executives be concerned about AIDS? Because it is destroying the twin rationales of globalization strategy-cheap labor and fast-growing markets--in countries where people are heavily affected by the epidemic. Fortunately, investments in programs that prevent infection and provide treatment for employees who have HIV/AIDS are profitable for many businesses--that is, they lead to savings that outweigh the programs' costs. Due to the long latency period between HIV infection and the onset of AIDS symptoms, a company is not likely to see any of the costs of HIV/AIDS until five to ten years after an employee is infected. But executives can calculate the present value of epidemic-related costs by using the discount rate to weigh each cost according to its expected timing. That allows companies to think about expenses on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs as investments rather than merely as costs. The authors found that the annual cost of AIDS to six corporations in South Africa and Botswana ranged from 0.4% to 5.9% of the wage bill. All six companies would have earned positive returns on their investments if they had provided employees with free treatment for HIV/AIDS in the form of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), according to the mathematical model the authors used. The annual reduction in the AIDS "tax" would have been as much as 40.4%. The authors' conclusion? Fighting AIDS not only helps those infected; it also makes good business sense.
Based on data from our prospective comparative study, we calculated health care costs associated with cholecystectomy (n = 200) and appendectomy (n = 40) patients undergoing open and laparoscopic procedures respectively. Average costs associated with cholecystectomy were reduced from NOK 36,750 to NOK 14,050 (62% decrease) when the laparoscopic technique replaced the conventional open method. A similar comparative study focused on appendectomy was performed with 20 patients in each group, and the costs were reduced by altogether 56%. The potential for decrease in health care costs seems to be substantial, even though requiring investments in equipment and education. Mini-invasive surgery not only improves the quality of surgical treatment, but also increases the efficacy of health care investments.
Traditionally, economic evaluations in terms of cost-effectiveness analysis are based, explicitly or implicitly, on the assumption of constant returns to scale. This assumption has been criticized in the literature and the role of cost-effectiveness as a tool for decision making has been questioned. In this paper we analyze the case of increasing returns to scale due to fixed capital costs. Cost-effectiveness analysis is regarded as a tool for estimating a cost function. To this cost function two types of decision rules can be applied, the budget approach and the constant price approach. It is shown that in the presence of fixed capital costs the application of these two decision rules to a specific patient group will give different results. The budget approach may lead to suboptimizations, while using the price as a decision rule will give optimal solutions. With fixed capital costs and when an investment can be used for treating several patient groups, these groups are no longer independent. Therefore the cost-effectiveness analysis has to be performed simultaneously for all patient groups that are potential users of the investment.
The model presented in this paper further extends the demand-for-health model in which the family is the producer of health investments, to consider the case in which an employer has incentives for investing in the health of a family member. The household and the employer are assumed to interact strategically in the production of health. The general insight provided is that the conditions which determine the nature of the relationship between the employer and the employee, for instance market conditions, production technologies, taxes, and government regulation, will also affect the allocation of health investments and health capital within the family.
In a game of incomplete information we analyze the consequences of giving an employer access to imperfect genetic information about his employees. The employer chooses whether to invest in the employee and the employee chooses a life style. We derive the condition for markets of information services to exist and the conditions for when it is beneficial to the various parties. In one specification of the game, the mere introduction of the information service may change the employee's choice of health behavior, which means that the value of genetic information may be negative to the employer.
OBJECTIVES: We assess the income and wealth packages of older women's (age 65+ years) households and the extent to which low income is paired with low wealth, across a group of six high-income countries. METHODS: We use data on income and net worth from the Luxembourg Wealth Study, a new cross-national microdatabase. We define income poverty as having household income less than 50% of the national median and asset poverty as holding financial assets equivalent to less than 6 months of income at the poverty threshold. RESULTS: Older women typically have less income than do members of younger households at the national median, but their wealth holdings are generally much higher than their country's median wealth holdings. Older women's households in the United States report the highest net worth across these countries, in part because older American women have comparatively high rates of homeownership. However, American older women are also substantially more likely to be income poor. They also report high levels of asset poverty, as do women across all our comparison countries, with Sweden as a partial exception. DISCUSSION: Further research is needed to identify the most vulnerable subgroups, to integrate analyses of necessary expenditures, and to assess policy implications.
This paper develops a theoretical model of the family as producer of health- and social capital. There are both direct and indirect returns on the production and accumulation of health- and social capital. Direct returns (the consumption motives) result since health and social capital both enhance individual welfare per se. Indirect returns (the investment motives) result since health capital increases the amount of productive time, and social capital improves the efficiency of the production technology used for producing health capital. The main prediction of the theoretical model is that the amount of social capital is positively related to the level of health; individuals with high levels of social capital are healthier than individuals with lower levels of social capital, ceteris paribus. An empirical model is estimated, using a set of individual panel data from three different time periods in Sweden. We find that social capital is positively related to the level of health capital, which supports the theoretical model. Further, we find that the level of social capital (1) declines with age, (2) is lower for those married or cohabiting, and (3) is lower for men than for women.
Previous research on health and life insurers' financial investments has highlighted the tension between profit maximization and the public good. We ascertained health and life insurance firms' holdings in the fast food industry, an industry that is increasingly understood to negatively impact public health. Insurers own $1.88 billion of stock in the 5 leading fast food companies. We argue that insurers ought to be held to a higher standard of corporate responsibility, and we offer potential solutions.
Cites: Prev Med. 2002 Aug;35(2):107-1312200094
Cites: Am J Public Health. 2003 Sep;93(9):1404-812948952