Health Spending in America – Self-Rationing Slows Cost Increases

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 1/13/12 on Health Populi

The Big Headline under the banner of Health Economics this week is the statistic that growth in U.S. national health spending slowed to an anemic 3.9%  in 2010 — the slowest rate of growth in the 51-year history of keeping the National Health Expenditure Accounts.

Before American policymakers, providers, plans and suppliers pat themselves on their collective back on a job well-done, the heavy-lifting behind this story was largely undertaken by health consumers themselves in the form of facing greater co-pays, premiums and prices for health services — and as a result, self-rationing off health care services and utilization, which negatively impacts providers and suppliers alike.

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The Biggest Health Disparity of All: Control (Part 2)

Wendy Lynch

Posted 11/10/11 on the Altarum Institute Health Policy Forum

Patient Activation is a popular topic in recent health policy discussions. Activation means that a patient is informed, participating in his or her care, and feels comfortable and involved in decisions (1). It sounds powerful. Lower activation is associated with a higher rate of medical errors (2, 3), lower adherence to recommended medication (4), and lower satisfaction with care (2). Conversely, active participation in decision making results in less expensive treatment choices (5), faster recovery (6), and better perceived outcomes (5).

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Federal Efforts Build Momentum To Address Health Inequities

Brian D. Smedley

First published 5/2/11 on Kaiser Health News

During the month of April — Minority Health Month — the Obama administration took significant steps to build momentum for efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic health inequities. But with this momentum the stakes have become higher than ever, just as fiscal and political pressures mount that could undermine progress.

Health inequities span from the cradle to the grave, in the form of higher rates of infant mortality, chronic disease, disability and premature death among many racial and ethnic minority groups. A large volume of research demonstrates that these inequities persist even after socioeconomic factors — such as income and education levels — are considered. For example, African American mothers with a college degree experience infant mortality at rates higher than white mothers who have less than a high school education.

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Health Reform’s Next Act: A Focus On Achieving Health Equity

Brian Smedley

First published 3/21/11 on Kaiser Health News

When President Barack Obama met with the nation’s governors last month and offered to allow states to establish their own plans to reform health care in place of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, he insisted that states meet or exceed the same goals established in the health overhaul to expand insurance coverage, improve the quality of care and contain rapidly escalating healthcare costs.

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