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Opinion: The Starbucks syndrome in healthcare

Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2013
"In Scotland, death is considered imminent; in Canada, it's considered inevitable. In California, death is considered optional." Ian Morrison, a Scottish-born futurist and healthcare consultant, was joking when he said those words. But not entirely. Substantial data support his point. Medicare statistics, for example, reveal that Los Angeles leads the nation in the amount of medical services provided during the last six months of a person's life. Healthy seniors here are also big consumers of healthcare, getting about 65% more MRI studies and utilizing ambulances three times as often as seniors elsewhere. Commercial insurance data point to similar patterns in the healthcare of the younger population in Southern California.