Are You Getting Your Money's Worth in Health Care?

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Money and health care

Each year, Americans spend millions of dollars on health care. The question is, is it worth it? A new study published in Value in Health says it is, and with a positive return. This research especially applies to those who have suffered a heart attack or stroke, and those with type two diabetes or breast cancer.

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Consumers are constantly reminded of the cost of health care from the monthly costs of health plans to, news reports on the rising share of tax dollars going to Medicare and Medicaid. But consumers and policymakers have little knowledge of what health care dollars are buying. However, with results from this study, the authors' argue that this spending is indeed worth the cost.

"We calculate that over the last 20 years, the return on investment is positive for overall national health care spending, Medicare spending on heart attack, stroke, breast cancer and diabetes and, all major health care innovations which we could both identify and which were associated with these four diseases," says lead researcher Dr. Bryan Luce.

Specifically, each additional dollar spent on overall health care services was calculated to produce health gains valued from $1.55 to as much as $1.94. This study demonstrates that it is possible to validly estimate the value of health care spending. The authors conclude that cost should not be considered in isolation without estimating the value of the investment in health care.

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