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IU health policy expert picked as regular contributor to new New York Times website

  • March 18, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS -- A health policy expert from Indiana University and a health economist from Boston University who teamed up to produce the blog The Incidental Economist will be regular contributors to The Upshot, a new venture from The New York Times.

Blog editors Aaron Carroll, M.D., M.S., and Austin Frakt, Ph.D., have been "contemplating health care with a focus on research, an eye on reform," according to the Incidental Economist masthead, since 2009.

Dr. Carroll is director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research, a professor of pediatrics and assistant dean for research mentoring at the IU School of Medicine. Dr. Frakt, who is the creator of the blog, is an associate professor in psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine and of health policy management at the Boston University School of Public Health; and he has an appointment in health care financing and economics at the VA Boston Healthcare System. Before joining Frakt as editor of The Incidental Economist, Dr. Carroll wrote a health policy blog from 2009 to 2010 called Rational Arguments.

The Incidental Economist bloggers will be regular columnists for the New York Times' new venture, The Upshot, a data-driven site focusing on politics, policy and economic analysis with the goal of helping readers better understand issues. Many of those columns will later be available on their blog.

The Incidental Economist tackles health care policy questions from an evidence-based approach. Topics routinely addressed by the authors include the Affordable Care Act, insurance mandates, health care costs, Medicaid and Medicare, physician accountability and employer-sponsored health insurance.

"The purpose of The Incidental Economist is to provide helpful data and evidence to our readers so that they can have a more informed policy discussion," said Dr. Carroll.

He added that the blog has developed a dedicated following. With the added exposure afford by regular columns in The Upshot, he and Dr. Frakt expect The Incidental Economist will gather more readers and be in a better position to be a voice in health care policy discussions.

The Incidental Economist's readership has continued to grow steadily, Dr. Carroll said. Last fall, the blog was averaging about 140,000 unique visitors and about 190,000 page views a month, compared to 175,000 unique visitors and 220,000 page views in January.

Other contributors to The Incidental Economist include Kevin Outterson, Harold Pollack, Bill Gardner and Nicholas Bagley. Adrianna McIntyre is the blog's managing editor.

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