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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Health Care Costs Consume Record Share of the Economy

Health care costs as a percentage of GDP set a new record:

Record Share Of Economy Is Spent on Health Care, by Marc Kaufman and Rob Stein, Washington Post: Rising health care costs ... now consume 16 percent of the nation's economic output -- the highest proportion ever, the government said yesterday ... The nation's health care bill continued to grow substantially faster than inflation and wages, increasing by almost 8 percent in 2004... Spending for physicians and hospitals shot up considerably faster than in recent years, while drug costs grew at a slower rate than over the past decade. ...

Did the quality of care increase due to the increased spending? Not much:

...[A] different agency ... released two new annual reports mandated by Congress on the quality of health care and disparities in care. Officials called them the most comprehensive assessments of their kind. ... The researchers concluded that the overall quality of care in 2005 had improved at a rate of 2.8 percent from 2003. That was the same increase as the year before, and many measures showed no improvement or even decreases. ... In the second report, the National Healthcare Disparities Report, researchers found more measures on which the quality gap between whites and racial minorities was shrinking than widening. But the report found that major disparities remained for all groups and that the gap had widened for Hispanics. ...

    Posted by on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 at 12:24 AM in Economics, Health Care | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (20)

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