One of the dumbest trends of this decade has been to ignore the work of universities when policy makers found it convenient. It’s so easy to claim that all universities have a "liberal bias," then disregard knowledge in favor of ideology.
While you’re thinking of how many Americans are going to die as a result of that, consider how many more Americans are going to die if we ignore another recent Rice report, done in conjunction with the Texas Medical Center. And how you might be one of them.
The report studied the outcomes from a particular kind of cancer surgery, the Whipple Procedure, and its inconvenient truth is that practice makes perfect.
"Hospitals and surgeons that have performed more of these procedures
will have a lower mortality rate," said Dr. Vivian Ho, associate
professor of medicine at BCM and the James A. Baker III Institute Chair
in health economics at Rice University. "We may be better off by not
allowing low-volume hospitals to perform these procedures; we should
instead tell patients to go to high-volume hospitals."
Ho is aware of the possible "monopoly effect" but says the risk is
worthwhile. Prices increase most when you start eliminating the first
few outlying providers, and the cost hit declines if you then move to
aggressively centralize. "It turns out that aggressive centralization
is more cost-effective from the patient’s perspective."
I can already hear the outcry. The report is biased because the Texas
Medical Center is one of those huge central facilities that will be
favored in such a system. But remember the simpler truth.
Practice makes perfect.
Arguing against that maxim is silly, and the numbers are tough to argue
with. Is a lower price, based on the ideology of an open market, really worth dieing for?