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Mayo Clinic

The myth of more medicine and better health

The myth of more medicine and better health

Maryland is the only state testing an "all payer" model for Medicare insurance payments. This model pays hospitals a fixed amount for each patient, in contrast to standard fee-for-service payments for each test or doctor's visit. A recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine showed Maryland's experiment has resulted in a 26 percent drop in infections, surgical errors and other preventable conditions. The model's success is counter-intuitive and throws into question our belief that more medicine means better health.

It is not surprising that we believe more medicine is always better; modern medicine has saved countless lives. Killer diseases like smallpox,...