The new Rand health care study

The authors offer up two main points:

1. We get only 55 percent of recommended medical attention [TC: hey, didn’t an earlier Rand study show us that more care doesn’t translate into better health care outcomes?]

2. "Those with annual family incomes over $50,000 had quality
scores that were just 3.5 percentage points higher than those with
incomes less than $15,000….insurance status had no real effect on

This should make everyone uncomfortable, but most of all those who think that access to health insurance is a panacea.  Here is the press release, the piece is in The New England Journal of Medicine.  Am I supposed to believe the following?:

  • Overall quality scores for blacks were 3.5 percentage points higher than for whites.
  • Overall quality scores for Hispanics were 3.4 percentage points higher than for whites.
  • Blacks had higher scores than whites for chronic care (61 percent vs. 55 percent).
  • Blacks had higher scores for treatment than whites (64 percent vs. 56 percent).
  • Hispanics were more likely to receive screening than whites (56 percent vs. 52 percent).

The authors say yes this really is true.  Previous studies usually focused on expensive and invasive one-time procedures, such as bypass operations, where whites do have a (narrowing) advantage.  If nothing else, this piece should convince us how little we understand the health care sector.


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