Arnold Kling is one of the economists whose blogs I have begun to read lately ( lately being since the stock market tanking in 2008 scared the heck out of me ) In this entry he gives well deserved blog time to the thoughts of Dr. Richard Cooper who- is among other things (quite a few other things)-an outspoken and well spoken critic of the Dartmouth studies on regional variation in Medicare expenditures, a study that Mr. Peter Orszag and others in the Obama administration seemed to have taken as gospel truth.
Dr. Cooper points out several flaws in the widely quoted Dartmouth studies and their conclusions and the purported remedies based on that work. I have blogged about Dr. Cooper's views before. He argues , in part, that just looking at Medicare expenditures, which is what Dartmouth did, gives a false impression of what is really going on. One should examine total costs and when one does a different picture emerges, one in which more expenditures does correlate with better outcomes which is certainly a conclusion more consistent with common experience.