Sunday, June 7, 2009

Must Read "New Yorker" Article On McAllen, Texas As Case Study For Health Care Costs And Treatments

As long as we're writing about interesting articles, a must read is Atula Gawande's article entitled "Annals of Medicine: The Cost Conundrum - What A Texas Town Can Teach Us About Health Care."

The article focuses on McAllen, Texas which is one of the most expensive health-care markets in the country. Only Miami—which has much higher labor and living costs—spends more per person on health care. In 2006, Medicare spent fifteen thousand dollars per enrollee in McAllen, almost twice the national average. The income per capita is twelve thousand dollars. In other words, Medicare spends three thousand dollars more per person here than the average person earns. At the same time, the treatments and technologies available at McAllen are no better than those found elsewhere in the country.

The focus of the article is to use McAllen as a microcosm to address our nation's budget issues in the context of the ever increasing cost of health care. There does not appear to be a correlation between the amount spent and the results. McAllen is contrasted with the Mayo Clinic -- which is a very different model and produces better results for much less cost.

For the article, see


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