A research report draws the wrong conclusion about the death rate at rural, critical access hospitals vs. the death rate at large, urban medical centers. The real story would have been if researchers had found no difference.
The federal insurance program is the only player in the health-care game with a pure incentive to control costs. But political resistance keeps it from fulfilling this role. Gradually expanding the program could be the answer.
Expanding Medicaid to cover more people will save lives — more than twice as many per year as would be saved by finding the cure for breast cancer. And the effect will be particularly strong in rural America.
In a large number of rural counties, people, on average, are living shorter lives than a decade ago. If we want to turn those trends around, we'll have to do the work ourselves. Now's the time to start.
We know what forecasts whether a medical student will go into family practice or set up shop in a rural community. What we need now are medical school admissions officers who will care to ask the right questions.
The real issue in American medical education is geographic distribution and specialty distribution. It doesn't matter how many doctors you have if they are of the wrong kinds and are in the wrong places — as they have been throughout my 50…