Media Accounts Of Health Care Spending Study Wrong

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Health Care Spending

"Drug spending forMedicare did increase" in 2006, but media accounts of a recent HealthAffairs study that said such spending prompted increases in health carecosts and overall spending for the program were "wrong," RobertGoldberg, vice president of the Center forMedicine in the Public Interest, writes in a Washington Times opinion piece.

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Increased Medicare prescription drug spending was "not news because, whenyou give 39 million people a new drug benefit, that's going to happen,"Goldberg writes, adding, "Apart from the fact that the Medicare Part Dprogram is running at 20% under budget estimates, it is not fueling Medicarespending overall." In addition, "as drug spending has increased bynearly 9% as a percentage of total health care spending, its share remainsabout the same," Goldberg writes, adding, "If it's fueling the risein spending, it is very efficient fuel."

According to Goldberg, the Medicare prescription drug benefit, which sought to"reduce the cost of prescription drugs for people with limited incomes andchronic illnesses," has "accomplished that" and has made"new medicines rapidly available as well" (Goldberg, WashingtonTimes, 1/29).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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