High quality, low cost healthcare can be provided in US, experts say

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 16 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1190
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

Several areas in the United States are providing low cost, excellent healthcare to almost all residents, according to a television programme broadcast on 16 February on the Public Broadcasting Service network.

The programme showed that some US counties spend $17 000 (£10 800; €13 000) per person annually on healthcare for people over 65 years, whereas others provide equally good care for just $6000.

Elliott Fisher, professor of medicine at Dartmouth University, New Hampshire, said: “We could cover everybody without spending more,” adding that excess spending in the US goes on hospitalisation rather than outpatient care, specialist visits rather than care by primary physicians, and unnecessary tests and procedures.

“If all hospitals adopted the practices of the lower spending regions, health care costs would go down by 30%, saving $700bn to $800bn per year,” he said. …

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