Do physician preferences for more intensive treatments drive variation in health care spending?

The Incidental Economist: August 1, 2014

The streets are lined with palm trees and pickup trucks. McAllen is in Hidalgo County, which has the lowest household income in the country… McAllen has another distinction, too: it is one of the most expensive health-care markets in the country.

Gawande called attention to the striking variation across America in the volume and intensity of medical services delivered to patients with similar health status. For example, here is a map of variation in how many days patients spend in the hospital at the end of their lives, from the Dartmouth Atlas. Read more