GRE Argument Essay 171
The following appeared in an editorial on health problems in the country of Corpora.
“Some pharmacies now feature ultrasound machines that screen for an elevated risk of stroke. For a fee, a technician presses a probe against the neck to determine whether any plaque has thickened the walls of the main artery leading to the brain. Researchers have shown that a thickening of artery walls is associated with elevated stroke risk, and such scans typically find that anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of clients have detectable plaque. All pharmacies should offer this service, because early detection of increased risk for stroke will encourage clients to consult with their doctors and make important life-style changes to reduce their risk of having a stroke. This in turn will cause a decrease in overall medical costs in Corpora.”
The writer of the given argument says that all pharmacies in Corpora should offer scanning of stroke through ultrasound machines since it would help in detecting the risk of stroke. He supports this stand by saying that the scan would detect if any plaque had thickened around the artery leading to the brain. It has been found that anywhere from 5 to 20 percent patients undergoing the scan have detectable plaque. The writer therefore suggests that an early detection of the risk of stroke can help patients to change their life-style in order to reduce the risk of stroke and this would result in a general decrease in the medical costs in Corpora. However, there are a number of flaws in the argument that make it illogical and unconvincing.
The argument does not mention when a patient should get the scan done. While it does say that the ultrasound scan helps in detecting plaque early, it is not mentioned how early it can be detected. A patient would get a scan done only if he is faced with some medical problem. There is no other reason to get such a scan done. There is no evidence provided in the argument that suggests that the scan helps in a detection, early enough to avoid a stroke.
Further, the argument also fails to convince that people would consult with their doctors and make important life-style changes in order to reduce the risk of stroke. Firstly, there is no mention of the life-style followed by people who get their scan done. It is possible that they already follow a life-style that helps in reducing the risk of stroke. Therefore, there is no scope of any further change in the life-style after plaque is detected in the scan. Secondly, it is possible that the patients do not give enough importance to the results of the scan and would like to resume their previous life-styles. The argument does not prove that the patients would be encouraged enough to change their life-style after they know the results of the scan. It is, therefore, possible that instead of changing their life-style, they prefer to visit the doctor and take medicines for the same.
The writer makes a far-fetched conclusion that the scan would help in reducing the overall costs of medication in Corpora. The argument does not mention how much the existing medical costs in Corpora amounts to. In order to come to such a conclusion, the writer needs to justify that people would avoid medication for the risk of stroke if they get this scan done. The cost of medication should be significant enough to make a difference to the overall costs of medication. Moreover, the writer ignores the fee for the scan. He does not mention if the scan is done for a minimal fee or a heavy sum is charged for it. Consequently, it is possible that the ultrasound scan is expensive and the patients turn out to spend more on it than they would actually do on medicines. Therefore, the argument is flawed since it leaves many unanswered questions. A detailed study of medical costs in Corpora is required to make any judgments about the decrease in it due to the scan.
It can therefore be seen that the argument provided by the writer is not sufficient to support its conclusion. The writer should keep in mind the discussion given above to amend his statement and come to a better conclusion.