Higher Prices Are Driving Rise in Health Care Spending

From Drugs.com - November 7, 2017

Higher Prices Are Driving Rise in Health Care Spending

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2017 -- Rising prices, along with increased variety and complexity of services, are major reasons why health care spending in the United States has increased by nearly $1 trillion in the past 20 years, a new study finds.

"Part of the reason we spend more on health care each year is the nation's growing and aging population," said study author Joseph Dieleman. He's an assistant professor at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

"But factors relating to the health system -- such as increased price, intensity and utilization -- are driving most of the spending increase," he added.

"When we added up all the health conditions, increasing population size led to a 23 percent increase in health care spending," Dieleman said in a university news release.

"People getting older led to a 12 percent increase in spending, and increases in price and service intensity -- that is the variety and complexity of services -- led to a 50 percent increase in spending," Dieleman noted.

Health care spending on outpatient care rose 85 percent between 1996 and 2013, largely due to increasing use of services, the study found. Spending on inpatient care grew 59 percent because of increases in price and service intensity.

The study was published Nov. 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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