Must-read: Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz: “The Experts Were Wrong About the Best Places for Better and Cheaper Health Care”

Must-Read: This excellent piece reminds me to worry: What risks does the departure of David Leonhardt from The Upshot create for it?

Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz: The Experts Were Wrong About the Best Places for Better and Cheaper Health Care: “These [Medicare and private insurance cost] maps look nothing alike…

…Their big differences are forcing health experts to rethink what they know about health costs…. Grand Junction spent far less money on Medicare treatments–with no apparent detriment to people’s health. The lesson seemed obvious: If the rest of the country became more like Grand Junction, this nation’s notoriously high medical costs would fall…. [But] places that spend less on Medicare do not necessarily spend less on health care over all. Grand Junction, as it happens, is one of the most expensive health-care markets in the country for the privately insured…. Health-care researchers who have seen the new findings say they are likely to force a rethinking of some conventional wisdom about health care. In particular, they cast doubt on the wisdom of encouraging mergers among hospitals, as parts of the 2010 health care law did…. Some of the areas with the most cost-effective Medicare providers also have lower-cost private health care–but just as many places with relatively low Medicare costs have high private insurance spending.

Well done, Quealy and Sanger-Katz!

December 23, 2015


Brad DeLong
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