Atul Gawande's article

Anyone at all interested in the US health debate will already have read Atul Gawande's excellent New Yorker piece, which compares health spending in McAllen, Texas ($15,000 per Medicare enrollee in 2006) with spending in El Paso (only half as much, even though its relevant characteristics seem similar). His recent commencement address at the Pritzker School of Medicine is also very good. Both pieces serve to shift the focus away from the preoccupation with public v private insurance, because the enormous variations in health spending he discusses are within the public system. They also slightly dampen one's hopes for comparative effectiveness research, all the rage just now, as a way to save money--unless it is used alongside changes in financial incentives. Changes in payment delivery are the key thing. How are doctors and hospitals reimbursed? That is what matters.

The Health Affairs blog has two posts for supplementary reading. One is about the Dartmouth research that provides the data for this kind of comparison (and which is facing criticism of late). The other is a roundtable on the Gawande article.

Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Business

Just In