Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The (Health) Cost Conundrum

Yes, this blog focuses on novel drilling technology for ground source heat pumps and may delve into energy efficiency issues and get into clean tech esoterica like the N. Young's diesel-battery '59 Lincoln...but, health care? Well, considering that health care takes up 1/6 of our collective spending and the share is rising, we have to fix this.

Just as we talk about the GSHP market comprising buildings, (residential/commercial, retrofit/new) on the ground, health care policy affects us all. No getting around it.

So that's why we want to mention Atul Gawande's excellent article in the recent New Yorker. He compares health costs in the otherwise similar areas of McAllen, Texas and El Paso and tries to determine why McAllen spends twice per patient as El Paso ($7,504) does. From there, it is on to review of the efficiencies found at the Mayo Clinic and Grand Junction, CO. "Americans like to believe that, with most things, more is better. But research suggests that where medicine is concerned it may actually be worse."

Gawande frames the choice ahead: "As America struggles to extend health-care coverage while curbing health-care costs, we face a decision that is more important than whether we have a public-insurance option, more important than whether we will have a single-payer system in the long run or a mixture of public and private insurance, as we do now. The decision is whether we are going to reward the leaders who are trying to build a new generation of Mayos and Grand Junctions. If we don’t, McAllen won’t be an outlier. It will be our future."

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