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Sabermetrics to rescue health care

Here's an interesting op-ed from today's NY Times. It isn't exactly sports, but Billy Beane proposes, essentially, that the methods that made the Oakland A's a success in the 1990s ought to be brought to bear on medical treatments. In other words, medicine ought to use statistics to assess treatments.

After seeing this, I have a few questions. Why did health researchers, health economists, epidemiologists, biologists, biochemists, etc, never think of this? What does the Food and Drug Administration do if not assess the efficacy of drug therapies? How did Newt Gingrich and John Kerry come to agree on something?