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February 2, 2000

Quality of Health Care and the HMO Marketplace

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Fishbein FellowIndividualAuthor


Copyright 2000 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2000

JAMA. 2000;283(5):602-605. doi:10.1001/jama.283.5.601

To the Editor: The article by Dr Himmelstein and colleagues1 is a clear example of drawing inappropriate conclusions to advance a thinly veiled agenda: for-profit HMOs are bad and national health insurance is needed. The authors have extrapolated from a set of problematic proxy data (HEDIS), voluntarily reported by a nonrandom sample of HMOs, to draw the illogical conclusion that quality of care in investor-owned HMOs is inferior to that of not-for-profit HMOs. Lacing the article with statistical jargon may obfuscate but cannot hide the authors' apparent disregard for the scientific method.

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