NYT Editorial on Medicare Costs

There will likely be no real solution until the American health care system moves away from unfettered fee-for-service payments that encourage doctors to perform unnecessary and costly tests and procedures and pays them instead for better management of a patient’s care over time.

You can read the rest of the editorial here.

The article notes that the assumptions behind the formula are based on health care in 1997, and are hampered by an overwhelming trust in the divine wisdom of physicians; the formula has no checks to limit the services doctors provided or distinguish between valuable and needless treatments. Individual doctors poor decisions affect the aggregate costs of everyone. Driven by natural greed, and by fear of making a mistake, there’s a tendency for some physicians to try everything, whether or not it’s medically appropriate.

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