The Cowboy Docs


Harvard Magazine had this to say about who is driving up U.S. healthcare costs?

A recent study by Harvard professors and colleagues revealed that the culprits may be “cowboy doctors”—physicians who provide intensive, unnecessary, and often ineffective patient care, resulting in wasteful spending costing as much as 2 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product—hundreds of billions of dollars annually. The authors, including Eckstein professor of applied economics David Cutler and assistant professor of business administration Ariel D. Stern, found that physicians’ beliefs in clinically unsupported treatment procedures can explain as much as 35 percent of end-of-life Medicare expenditures, and 12 percent of Medicare expenditures overall.

First of all, two percent is just that, two percent. This compares to administrative costs, which accounts for 25 percent of hospital spending in the United States.  Second of all, and I am being devil’s advocate because I know there are some lowlife doctors out there, unnecessary treatment is in the eye of the beholder.  Sure there are some rare greedy and unethical doctors who exploit patients’ illnesses but most of the time the doc isn’t making the money on the extra treatment.  Also, it takes two to tango. Many patients are looking for anything they can find at the end of their lives.  No one is complaining about Jimmy Carter getting radiation at age 90 for mets to his brain. Yeah, that’s happening.  Are you kidding me?

This is another hack job trying to blame doctors for the rising healthcare costs. Sorry, I’m not buying it.

73090cookie-checkThe Cowboy Docs