Crisis of Abundance says
"An important characteristic of premium medicine is that many procedures have a low probability of affecting the outcome. In fact, often the procedures do not even affect the treatment plan."
Digital mammography seems an apt illustration of this point. It is more effective for only a minority of patients, and the treatment for a cancer discovered digitally doesn't differ from that discovered on film. Yet as it is the latest technology, and in short supply, the digital technology will cost more. It's an illustration of "premium medicine" that could have come right out of C of A. And, as C of A notes, spending on imaging services is growing twice as fast as health spending as a whole.
He is referring to an article in the Wall Street Journal on digital mammography.
Mike Tanner says it's fine that Americans spend a lot on health care. I would agree if it were an income effect. The problem is that with 85 percent of our health care services paid for by third parties (a stat which I got from the Tanner-Cannon book), I think it's largely a substitution effect, based on an implicit price to the consumer of zero.
If you want to comment on this issue, go to the Amazon page for Crisis of Abundance. Scroll down for the discussion forum.