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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Good news about health care costs!

Happy New Year! According to Health Affairs, a journal of health economics, the rise in health care spending in the US is flat, and spending on physician's services rose at an all time low number of 1.8%. The interpretation of this information is that health care, even though it is considered a necessity, has been impacted by the weak economy. That is certainly a factor, but it is interesting to see that health care spending can go down without the quality of care looking catastrophically worse In fact it looks like there are many areas of improved care in the last two years. My guess is that spending came down because there is enough fat (and there is still more fat) that can be cut just by physicians and consumers being aware of what is of value in medicine. We are probably also seeing effects of preparing for and responding to health care reform in a way that has reduced waste.

So happy New Year! We have started the year with health care costs that have risen only as fast as the GDP. We can do better, yes, but it is clear that better is the direction in which we are moving.

1 comment:

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