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Is Medical Price Inflation the Main Driver of US Health Care Costs?

Friday, February 22 at 12:00 PM
Des Moines University, Student Education Center (SEC) 115, Des Moines, IA, 50312 Show Map

Is Medical Price Inflation the Main Driver of US Health Care Costs?

This week’s Friday Research Seminar Series will be hosted by the Master of Health Care Administration program. All faculty members and students are invited to attend.


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.

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this education activity, participants will be able to:

  • Analyze health care price, cost, and utilization data for the period 1982-2012.
  • Use indexing to differentiate the individual components of total health care costs to gain a greater understanding of the key drivers of total costs.
  • Evaluate alternate explanatory hypotheses for the persistence of medical price inflation in the United States.
  • Examine possible public policy responses towards mitigating future price inflation in the US health care system.


Richard BelloffRichard Belloff, D.B.A.

Assistant professor,  Master of Health Care Administration, Des Moines University

Dr. Belloff has indicated he has no financial relationships to disclose relevant to the content of this CME activity.


DMU CME adheres to ACCME Standards regarding industry support of continuing medical education. Disclosure of faculty and commercial sponsor relationships (if any) will be made known at the activity. DMU prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preference. The University also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to University facilities. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend DMU sponsored events. If you have questions/concerns, please contact the DMU CME office at 515-271-1596 or cme@dmu.edu.