Is Medical price inflation the main driver of US health care costs?
Health care costs per capita in the United States are the highest in the world and by a wide margin. This fact is fairly well known. While public policy over the past three decades has focused on the twin objectives of increasing health insurance coverage while restraining the overall use of medical services, many would suggest that neither objective has been well realized.
My research focuses on an area long ignored by mainstream policy analysts and policy makers: medical price inflation. I present data that suggests that medical care price increases have been the major driver of health care costs in the United States. At the same time, medical services consumption (utilization) remains moderate when compared to an appropriate cohort of developed nations.
In this presentation, we will review data I have generated and examine hypotheses that could explain how a pattern of aberrant price inflation could persist unabated for a period of over 25 years.
- We will analyze health care price, cost, and utilization data for the period 1982-2012
- Using indexing, we will differentiate the individual components of total health care costs to gain a greater understanding of the key drivers of total costs
- We will evaluate alternate explanatory hypotheses for the persistence of medical price inflation in the United States
- We will examine possible public policy responses towards mitigating future price inflation in the US health care system
Richard Belloff, D.B.A.
Assistant professor – Master of Health Care Administration, Des Moines University
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