Are We Spending TOO MUCH on Health Care?

Published

Paying for Patient Care Infographic

BIG NUMBERS

Today, we spend $3.5 TRILLION on health care in the U.S. (www.healthafairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20181206.671046/full/)
Health spending is expected to grow by 5.5% annually and reach $6 TRILLION BY 2027 (www.healthaffairs.org/doi/abs/10.1377/hlthaff.2018.05499)

DIGGING DEEPER

Researchers analyzed spending for 7 top diseases between 1995 & 2015 and the impact on patient health  (www.npcnow.org/blog/study-finds-costs-dropped-outcomes-improved-major-causes-death-and-illness-between-1995-and)

What did they find?

Without adjustments for INFLATION and PREVALENCE, costs appear only to be RISING.
But with adjustments for INFLATION and PREVALENCE, patient costs FELL in several diseases & ROSE MODESTLY in others.
And health spending was associated with patient health improvements in 6 of 7 conditions.

 

Breast cancer

Lung cancer

Cerebrovascular disease

Diabetes

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

HIV/AIDS

Ischemic heart disease

Total costs

551%

24%

121%

543%

165%

220%

143%

20-year percent change per patient

9.3%
$402

41.6%
-$10,938

19.9%
-$1,219

49.1%
$800

73.1%
$560

3.5%
-$587

56.9%
-$5,037

Improved health, in reduced disability- adjusted life years (DALYs)

1.25

2.44

.47

.13

-.05

9

1.89

A CLEARER PICTURE

When researchers dug deeper and accounted for INFLATION, PREVALENCE and HEALTH OUTCOMES -  Measured in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) - a clearer picture of health spending in top conditions emerged:

Lower Spending, Improved Health

  • Lung cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • HIV/AIDS

Higher Spending, Improved Health

  • Breast cancer
  • Diabetes

Higher Spending, Poorer Health

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

THE TAKEAWAY

Policies based on only aggregate health spending figures may mean the wrong areas of health spending are targeted.
Health spending data that:

  • adjusts for increases in prevalence and inflation
  • accounts for patient outcomes

will enable sound, disease-specific policy solutions that address health spending and improve outcomes for patients.
Go deeper on health spending by visiting GoingBelowTheSurface.org And visit npcnow.org for more.
Website: https://www.npcnow.org/
Twitter: @npcnow, https://twitter.com/npcnow

National Pharmaceutical Council

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