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US: Medicare: more care is not necessarily better care



Phyllis Gardner writes: "This is an extremely important analysis from a Dartmouth medical professor that documents the lack of correlation between per capita Medicare costs and outcomes and satisfaction. It is very important information in my opinion.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/01/opinion/01FISH.html

Excerpt:
No one in Washington is completely satisfied with the Medicare legislation that Congress approved last week. For many conservatives, the shift toward private health plans is too limited; for many liberals, the new prescription-drug benefit is too stingy. Yet almost everyone agrees that the current bill worsens the program's long-term financial stability.Constructive debate about Medicare's costs, however, is hampered by a flawed assumption that both helps and is reinforced by the health care industry: that more care, and more expensive care, is better care.

Earlier this year five colleagues and I published a study of regional variations in Medicare spending. In 2000, for example, per capita Medicare spending was $10,550 in Manhattan, but only $4,823 in Portland, Ore. Despite such a disparity, we found that neither the quality of care nor patients' satisfaction with it was related to costs".

Ronald Hilton - 12.01.03


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