NPT Media: New Yorker: McAllen health costs high. El Paso heading that way.
El Paso health costs lower compared to McAllen’s, despite similar health demographics, but both might be the unhealthy future
“Do we provide better health care than El Paso?” asked Doctors Hospital at Renaissance CEO Lawrence Gelman. “I would bet you two to one that we do.” But that might not be the question.
The lesson from other high-quality, low-cost communities is that someone has to be accountable for the totality of care. Otherwise, you get a system that has no brakes. You get McAllen. In El Paso, the for-profit health-care executive told me, a few leading physicians recently followed McAllen’s lead and opened their own centers for surgery and imaging. 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.
“The Cost Conundrum,” by Atul Gawande, newyorker.com, June 1, link