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More money, better health?
Date:5/27/2011

ing and better health.

"The surveys provide much richer information about the person's health condition than one can typically get from insurance claims data," Hadley says.

The full results of the study will appear in an upcoming edition of the journal Health Services Research, which is published by the Health Research and Educational Trust and is an official journal of AcademyHealth.

"Over this three-year period-controlling for people's health when they first come into the survey and new diagnoses they may have had over the course of the three years-what was their health like at the end of the observation period? And did that vary with how much medical care they received as individuals?" Hadley asks.

The statistical analysis indicates that the individuals' health did vary with their medical care spending. Over a three-year span, for a 10 percent increase in medical spending, there was 1.9 percent increase in the patient's health score, called the Health and Activity Limitations Index and a 1.5 percent greater survival probability.

The researchers classify this finding as a "modest effect" but stress that "the key thing is that we did find a positive relationship as opposed to other studies which have suggested that there's no relationship between how much care a person receives and what their health outcomes are."

"This suggests that policymakers need to understand that across-the-board reductions in Medicare spending in a geographic area or on a national level could have harmful effects on beneficiaries' health," The Urban Institute's Timothy Waidmann explains. "To look for inefficiencies, you need to look more closely at specific conditions and diseases and how those are treated. Analysis from 40,000 feet just doesn't do that for you."


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Contact: Leah K. Fogarty
lfogart1@gmu.edu
703-993-8781
George Mason University
Source:Eurekalert

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