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How the psychology of a $4.99 price tag might influence who undergoes heart surgery

Heart attack patients who were a few weeks shy of 80 were more likely to undergo heart bypass surgery than those who had just hit that milestone birthday, a new…

Health economists aren’t generally known for their humor. There’s something about Medicaid that’s just deeply unfunny. Make a joke, and the punch line may well be deadly. As one quip goes: What do affordable health care and sarcasm have in common? Most Americans just don’t get it.

So it might come as a surprise that, over the last few years, a team of economists in Boston, New York, and Porto Alegre, Brazil, began to ponder a wisecrack of a research question: How is a hospital like a used car lot?

Predictably, they weren’t kidding. They knew, from a of 22 million transactions, that a slight shift in an old clunker’s mileage could significantly change how much a buyer is willing to pay for it. An odometer just above 10,000 miles

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