Monday, April 7, 2008

Money and Longevity

We assume that if you spend more on health care then you'll live longer and better, and as usual that may be wrong. New research from Dartmouth College illustrates the discrepencies in our nation's health care system.

While Medicare spending for chronically ill patients in the last two years of life at UCLA cost $93,842 it cost $53,432 at the Mayo Clinic's main teaching hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. Many people have pointed to the variations of medical policy and procedures as one of the main factors for cost and waste in our system. The care you get, and what it costs, depends on where you live. While chronically ill patients spent only 10.6 days in the hospital in Bend, Oregon they spent nearly 35 days in the hospital in Manhattan.

This is important because Medicare spends $1 for chronic illnesses out of every $3 spent. The next time someone tries to tell you that Western medicine has all of the answers, remind them they don't even know how much variation there is in system.

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