I only got around to reading Atul Gawande's remarkable New Yorker piece on disparities in health-care costs within the United States -- and even between different parts of Texas -- last week. I deserves all the buzz it's received.
I've heard the health-care expert Uwe Reinhardt, of Princeton, say that the phenomenon Gawande explores is the single most important fact to get one's head around in the health-care debate. What is Rochester, Minnesota doing right and towns like McAllen, Texas, where Gawande sets part of his story, doing wrong? (At the time, I jotted down the phrase "story idea" next to my notation of Reinhardt's observation. I guess I can cross that one off the "possibles" list, given that Gawande has produced a National Magazine Award contender.)
Gawande floats some speculative but persuasive theories about why some cities have particularly "expensive" cultures when it comes to health care, and how to change those cultures: he thinks doctors should work in problem-solving teams, for example, possibly under set salaries, and not as independent entrepreneurs.
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