More than waste and inefficiency, poverty fuels rising health care costs

Waste and inefficiency are often blamed for rapidly rising health care costs. Poverty is an even larger determinant to which we need to pay more attention.
People register at dawn for the first Remote Area Medical clinic in Smyth County, Va., in April 2016. RAM provides free medical care for low-income people and to people who do not have health insurance in several states across the country.

For years, experts have blamed problems in health care delivery and its rising cost on waste and inefficiency. While they are certainly contributors, it’s time to acknowledge poverty as an even larger determinant.

That’s the message of “Poverty and Myths of Health Care Reform,” written by Dr. Richard (Buz) Cooper, who died last year before seeing the book in print. The author, a respected researcher and a colleague of mine at the Physicians Foundation, questions conventional policy assumptions about the state

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from STAT

STAT4 min readSociety
Opinion: Virtual And Augmented Reality Can Save Lives By Improving Surgeons’ Training
Rapid advances in the development of medical devices in the 21st century are contributing to healthier lives, but bring with them a new challenge: teaching clinicians how to use these often-complicated technologies. Teaching them poorly, or failing t
STAT2 min read
This Troubled Biotech Needed Cash, So It Turned To A Predatory Lender: Its Own CEO
I don’t write about Northwest Biotherapeutics much anymore because it’s not cool to punch down. However, there was a juicy nugget in the cancer biotech’s recently filed 10-Q that had to be shared. It’s another example of a biotech executive getting r
STAT7 min read
Opinion: Novartis Violated FDA’s Sacred Principle: In God We Trust, All Others Must Bring Data
My experience in more than 40 years of developing and evaluating medical products, and two years working at the FDA, has convinced me that it's essential to have a second…