This one is absolutely beyond belief. This time the dog is licking its sore raw and just cannot stop. Two boneheaded articles based on Cutler’s work have run in the NY Times in the last few weeks, and required such smacking down that Joe Paduda gave me the headline Matt 1, NY Times 0. Meanwhile the NY times got a boatload of letters criticizing the second of them.
But does that stop them? Oh, no. Today a libertarian blogger who’s a professor from George Mason University, which prior to today was best known for its basketball team’s Cinderalla NCAA run last year, gets given a full column in the nation’s paper of record in which he actually says that the “American health care system may be performing better than it seems” because our scientists win more Nobel Prizes than those foreigners do! And we have more innovation in developing new treatments here! And more so that because we’re spending more money on health compared to those evil European systems that restrain costs, this is, wait for it, “saving lives.” Yup, apparently while it might look sensible to make an effort to restrain health care costs:
In the short run, this would save money but in the longer run it would cost lives.
Oh, and we’re also doing more tests, procedures and visits with specialists because this is what people want!
If we count “giving people what they would want, if they knew it was there” as one measure of medical value, the American system looks better.
If wing nuts like this want to spout complete garbage on their loony-toons blog, well he has a first amendment right to do so. After all, other than 40 years of health technology assessment research on innapropriate use of medical technology, the Dartmouth/Wennberg school showing massive variation in care where more care leads to worse outcomes, and the IOM reports that show 100,000 annual deaths from medical errors largely from inappropriate overuse of technology, and 20,000 annual deaths directly from being uninsured, there’s almost no evidence he’s wrong!
But why the hell is the NY Times deciding that it must launch this last ditch defense of the American health care system? I think we should be told.
Otherwise they should give an entire week over to rational critics of the system, starting with Jack Wennberg.
UPDATE: The Michigan Independent thinks as I do, but is slightly calmer and performs the line by line rebuttal that I just couldn’t bear to do