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Colonoscopy: case study in 1st of NYT series on how economic incentives raise health care costs

Noteworthy from the New York Times:  “The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill: Colonoscopies Explain Why U.S. Leads the World in Health Expenditures.”

Key excerpt:

“While several cheaper and less invasive tests to screen for colon cancer are recommended as equally effective by the federal government’s expert panel on preventive care — and are commonly used in other countries — colonoscopy has become the go-to procedure in the United States. “We’ve defaulted to by far the most expensive option, without much if any data to support it,” said Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

In coming months, The New York Times will look at common procedures, drugs and medical encounters to examine how the economic incentives underlying the fragmented health care market in the United States have driven up costs, putting deep economic strains on consumers and the country.”

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