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

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

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

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Business

Just In