Let’s learn from low-cost states

I prefer snail-mail to e-mail, and the local store to e-tail, but in spite of my dislike of all things computer-related, I must admit the darn things are useful when it comes to collecting and collating mountains of data.

Case in point: The Dartmouth College Medical Department recently completed a study on the per patient costs and outcomes in the U.S., state by state and even hospital by hospital. Providence in Everett and the region’s Group Health Cooperative ranked very well.

To me, the most important finding was of the major differences in costs between states. Dartmouth averaged the states together and compared the states to that average. Some states, notably New Jersey and New York, are termed high-cost states and averaged as much as 23 percent higher cost than the average. Others, such as Iowa and North Dakota, were in the low-cost category and spent up to 20 percent less per patient.

In spite of this 40 percent difference, there was no measurable difference in the patients’ outcomes. It seems evident that were all states able to come closer to the low-cost states in per-patient costs, the savings in current medical spending would be enough to pay for those who now face life with no coverage at all.

Isn’t it time to stop the foolishness about death panels, higher taxes, socialized medicine and such and find out what Iowa and North Dakota are doing right and extend their fine example to the rest of the country?

Benita Helseth

Lake Stevens

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