CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 68

Modern physicians often employ laboratory tests, in addition to physical examinations, in order to diagnose diseases accurately. Insurance company regulations that deny coverage for certain laboratory tests therefore decrease the quality of medical care provided to patients.

Which one of the following is an assumption that would serve to justify the conclusion above?

[A]. Physical examinations and the uncovered laboratory tests together provide a more accurate diagnosis of many diseases than do physical examinations alone.
[B]. Many physicians generally oppose insurance company regulations that, in order to reduce costs, limit the use of laboratory tests.
[C]. Many patients who might benefit from the uncovered laboratory tests do not have any form of health insurance.
[D]. There are some illnesses that experienced physicians can diagnose accurately from physicians examination alone.
[E]. Laboratory tests are more costly to perform than are physical examinations.
Answer: A

The assumption in question will be the choice that makes the necessary connection between the uncovered lab tests and the decreased quality of medical care discussed in the stimulus. (A) hits the nail on the head: The combination of physical exams and lab tests makes for a better diagnosis than do physical exams alone. Therefore, anything that interferes with patients getting lab tests (like insurance companies’ refusal to cover them) will decrease the accuracy of the diagnosis, and hence the quality of the care available to those people.

To look at this question another way, suppose that the laboratory tests added nothing to the accuracy of a diagnosis (the denial of (A)). In that case, it would be extremely difficult to argue that denying coverage for those tests decreased the quality of medical care. If we deny or negate (A), the argument becomes suspect, thereby confirming (A) as the assumption we seek.

(B) is outside the scope. The argument never deals with physicians’ opinions, so it needn’t assume anything about those opinions.

(C) is totally irrelevant; we’re not interested in patients who don’t have any medical coverage. The argument concerns the value of lab tests, and whether those whose insurance does not cover lab tests are worse off than those whose insurance does cover such tests.

(D) works against the author’s argument by minimizing the importance of lab tests for medical diagnosis, at least in certain cases.

(E) is an irrelevant comparison. The issue here is the usefulness of laboratory tests, not their cost.

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