"Their care is necessary. Their poverty is not."
We made some real progress on both those fronts some decades ago, although these social achievements were overshadowed by the horrific war we were waging at the same time.
Fast-forward to now, where some dudes in their safe, clean, doctor-filled, high income, low unemployment, low poverty, lily white ivory towers have replaced a war on poverty with a very discreet, genteel war on the poverty-stricken.
Because Richard Cooper's words here: What has angered me about the work from Dartmouth is not simply its poor quality. It’s that they have gone to such lengths to mask the whole issue of poverty. so closely parallel how I feel about the Dartmouth Atlas, I'm outsourcing the rest of tonight's post to him, and the World Socialist Web Site.
A few excerpts:
The fundamental problem with studying geographic differences is that poverty is geographic, and poverty is the major factor that influences population health, health care costs and outcomes. Low-income patients are sicker, they cost more and their outcomes are worse.
It’s really tragic that the Dartmouth folks went to such lengths to obfuscate poverty. But it’s not so important to show that they were wrong. That’s becoming increasingly apparent. The recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine by Peter Bach is a further proof of that. What’s really important is that policy makers understand the profound impact of poverty and of the urban condition on health care spending. So if we’re going to do health care reform that improves health and saves money, we have to pay attention to the large population of people who cost a lot to care for because of the circumstances under which they live.
In the inner city residents have poorer education, worse nutrition and poorer social support systems. Many have drug problems or mental health problems. They tend to have multiple chronic illnesses and a higher burden of disease. Much is known about the sociology of urban ghettos. How tragic that in this era of health care reform, the Dartmouth group and their groupies misrepresent this human condition as a manifestation of greedy physicians and hospitals over-treating and over-spending to no good purpose.
Mockery and shredding and lolcats will resume tomorrow night, but not tonight.