Research Briefs: The Role of Prices In Excess US Health Spending

Health Affairsthe leading journal of health policy thought and research, today released two Considering Health Spending Research Briefs addressing the roles of prices and clinical waste, respectively, in excess US health spending.

The briefs are:

As this brief notes, research points to high prices in the private sector as a critical driver of excess health spending and growth in the US.

Key findings:

    • Prices for health care services are a critical driver of health spending growth in the US.
    • US health care prices vary widely among hospitals and between public and private insurers.
    • Across a range of services, US prices are higher than those in comparable countries.

According to the research cited in this brief, clinical waste is a critical driver of excess health spending in the US, accounting for 5.4–15.7 percent of national health spending.

Key findings:

    • Clinical waste is caused by failures of care delivery, failures of care coordination, and overtreatment.
    • Failures of care delivery account for 2.7–5.7 percent of total US health spending.
    • Failures of care coordination account for 0.7–2.1 percent of total US health spending.
    • Overtreatment accounts for 2.0–8.4 percent of total US health spending.

Considering Health Spending Research Briefs are supported by the National Pharmaceutical Council and by Anthem, Inc. Briefs are produced by Health Affairs staff based on research conducted to support the Health Affairs Council on Health Care Spending and Value.

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