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 read
How The Drug Industry Keeps Winning In Washington
D.C. Diagnosis is STAT’s weekly newsletter about the politics and policy of health and medicine. Sign up here to receive it in your inbox. What if I told you the Sen. Thom Tillis campaign account was graced with nearly $20,000 in personal donations f
STAT5 min read
In A Small Study, A Cancer Vaccine Assist Beats Immunotherapy Drugs Alone
The largest study to date of a "cancer vaccine" found that combining it with an immunotherapy drug kept patients’ tumors in check longer, on average, than the drug alone.
STAT4 min readScience
HIV’s Genetic Code, Extracted From A Nub Of Tissue, Adds To Evidence Of Virus’ Emergence In Humans A Century Ago
In a nub of issue from the 1960s, scientists have found more clues of HIV’s emergence in humans.