[ExI] USA Health Costs

Harvey Newstrom mail at HarveyNewstrom.com
Thu Jun 4 23:25:20 UTC 2009

Tom Nowell wrote:
> Luckily, I have to hand the details of 2008 research into overspending on 
> medicine:
> A team led by Elliott Fisher of Dartmouth Medical School published a paper 
> in the Annals of Internal Medicine vol 138 p288 comparing medicare 
> outcomes and the headline result was this: "For every 10% of additional 
> medicare spending on hip fracture, colorectal cancer and heart attacks, 
> death rates over 5 years rose by between 0.3 and 1.2 per cent."

Correlation does not establish causation.  The above implication is a 
standard logical fallacy.  It is invalid to imply that Medicare spending 
increases death rates from the above data.  A more likely implication is 
that increased rates of deaths due to hip fracture, colorectal cancer, and 
heart attacks (due to the population living longer) is increasing Medicare 

If one wanted to determine if Meticare spending increases death rates, one 
would have to compare these statistics to people not on Medicare.

Harvey Newstrom <www.HarveyNewstrom.com>

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