Thursday, March 16, 2006

Survey Says: Americans Get Equally Mediocre Health Care

I do try to stay out of politics here (since Ghod knows the world doesn't need more political blogs), but I have a soft spot for studies that contradict the received wisdom.

So this new story hitting the AP wire this morning intrigued me. A survey of 7,000 patients (all people living in urban areas who sought treatment), reported in today's New England Journal of Medicine, indicated that all Americans get roughly equal medical treatment. Unfortunately, they all got between 51% and 58% of the recommended steps for top-quality care, which the doctors conducting the study found unencouraging.

The optimistic assessment is that our system, while clearly deficient in some areas, does deliver care at a consistent standard across all types of patients. I myself am usually a pessimist, though, so I see that we can waste vast amounts of money to barely reach adequacy.

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