Monday, January 29, 2007

Bush's Health Care Proposal

Bob Krumm suggests that President Bush's health care plan has merit and that it has no chance at passage. He is correct on both counts.

One issue that rarely gets discussed publicly in health care debates is that of utilization. The Oracle saw data recently at a conference that showed that health care treatment for certain types of injuries varied greatly. The reseacher did not opine as to which treatment patterns were correct: she only contended that given the huge extent of the variation, it was impossible that all patients were receiving optimal care.

Health care policy wonks are pushing the concept of using evidence based medical treatment guidelines as a means of getting better controls on utilization. Some physicians reject the widespread use of guidelines, dismissing them as "cook book medicine." However, anyone who is aware of the extent to which health care may differ for patients with identical sets of symptoms knows that this addresses a legitimate concern related to health care quality.

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