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Increase in medical treatment caused greatest increase in US health care costs
Date:5/6/2013

g previous decades."

According to the examination of studies, Thorpe concluded three major findings that account for the rise in health care spending in the past 20 years:

  • The rising prevalence of treated disease accounted for 50.8 percent of growth in overall spending among adults and 77 percent in the case of Medicare spending. Higher spending per treated case accounted for a 39 percent increase and joint effects of the two accounted for the remaining 10.2 percent.

  • The doubling of obesity since 1987 contributed to 10.4 percent of the overall rise in spending.

  • Increasing treatment intensity accounted for 11.9 percent of the growth spending between 1987-2009.

"The current findings strongly suggest that most of the recent discussion about ways to control increases in spending, particularly among Medicare beneficiaries, may be focused on the wrong set of issues," explains Thorpe.

"What is needed is a broader set of policy options focused on reducing the incidence of disease; and a better understanding of how much of the rise in treated prevalence is the result of a more aggressive treatment of chronic conditions. We also have to look at whether the more intensive treatments yield improvements in morbidity and mortality."


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Contact: Melva Robertson
melva.robertson@emory.edu
404-727-5692
Emory Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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