Obama reads Pragmatos

Well, he reads some of what Pragmatos reads, anyway.

The NY Times reports that Obama has taken notice of the Atul Gawande’s article on regional health-care-cost disparities across the US.

President Obama recently summoned aides to the Oval Office to discuss a magazine article investigating why the border town of McAllen, Tex., was the country’s most expensive place for health care. The article became required reading in the White House, with Mr. Obama even citing it at a meeting last week with two dozen Democratic senators.

“He came into the meeting with that article having affected his thinking dramatically,” said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon. “He, in effect, took that article and put it in front of a big group of senators and said, ‘This is what we’ve got to fix.’ ”

There’s pushback, of course.

[Dr. Michael L. Langberg, senior vice president of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center] endorsed the goal of covering the uninsured, but said, “We do not believe that rushing to make large cuts in Medicare payments to hospitals is the right way to fund that coverage.” The Dartmouth team has cited Cedars-Sinai as having very high Medicare spending per beneficiary.

If you haven’t read Gawande’s piece, now’s the time.

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