Sparva, unlike Treland’s other provinces, requires automobile insurers to pay for any medical treatment sought by someone who has been involved in an accident; in the other provinces, insurers pay for nonemergency treatment only if they preapprove the treatment. Clearly, Sparva’s less restrictive policy must be the explanation for the fact that altogether insurers there pay for far more treatments after accidents than insurers in other provinces, even though Sparva does not have the largest population.
Which of the following, if true, most strengthens the argument?
(A) Car insurance costs more in Sparva than in any other province.
(B) The cost of medical care in Sparva is higher than the national average.
(C) Different insurance companies have different standards for determining what constitutes emergency treatment.
(D) Fewer insurance companies operate in Sparva than in any other province.
(E) There are fewer traffic accidents annually in Sparva than in any of the provinces of comparable or greater population.
The passage tells us that in Sparva automobile insurers pay for far more medical treatments after accidents than they do in Treland’s other provinces. The passage concludes that the explanation is to be found in the difference in legal requirements for insurers in Sparva as compared to other provinces.
The question asks you to identify among the answer choices a fact that would support the passage’s argument. The explanation offered in the passage can be supported by ruling out other explanations that might, given the information presented in the passage, appear likely. One obvious explanation for there being more medical treatments in Sparva is that there are more accidents there. Choice E rules out that explanation. So Choice E strengthens the argument in the passage and is the correct answer. Choices A and D each present consequences that are likely results of insurers in Sparva having to pay for more medical treatments. But neither bears on the cause of insurers having to pay for more treatments. Choice B does not strengthen the argument and may weaken it. A higher cost of medical care provides additional motivation for people to seek insurance payments to cover whatever post-accident care they receive. So Choice B might weaken the argument by providing an alternative explanation for insurers paying for more medical treatments in Sparva. According to the passage, whether treatment is emergency treatment is, in other provinces, an important criterion in determining insurers’ responsibility. But since this criterion does not apply in Sparva, Choice C is not directly relevant to the point that the passage is trying to establish.