Blog Posts With This Topic

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In the U.S. and around the globe, longevity on a mass scale is posing new challenges for health care systems.
July 11, 2017 |
Let’s put aside the discussion of prospective versus retrospective and continue to experiment with various ways to implement bundled payment—a method that has real potential to improve quality and reduce spending.
June 23, 2017 |
This blog provides the best estimate of the total number of additional health jobs that are attributable to the expansion in health insurance coverage that began in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
April 12, 2017 |
The remarkable performance of the health sector in continuing to create jobs through the recession and recovery has garnered much attention over the past few years.
March 22, 2017 |
Rising Deductibles Are Not Yet a Financial Burden, but Early Evidence Shows an Impact on Access to Care
December 15, 2016 |
It would be a vast understatement to say that the excitement is building toward the U.S. presidential election and down ballot results. While health care policy was not a prime focus during the election season, it has garnered attention recently, especially with Affordable Care exchange premium increases.
November 7, 2016 |
As always happens during public crises around drug pricing, plenty of finger-pointing and pharma-bashing ensued. Politicians tweeted. Biopharma stocks fell. It’s an annual ritual, it seems, that brings out the same arguments and same outcomes.
September 8, 2016 |
'Moderate’ Health Spending Growth Projections Exceed What We Can Afford
August 18, 2016 |
From all the political discussion about health care, you’d think that government health policy generally lives or dies by what happens to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare.
June 29, 2016 |
Last year, the world spent more than $100b on cancer drugs—the equivalent of paying for more than 100 round trips to the moon.
June 16, 2016 |
In 2012, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an in-depth study of the health and budgetary effects of raising the excise tax on cigarettes. We commented on this study in our blog about the complex economics of disease prevention and longevity.
February 22, 2016 |
Effective April 2016, hundreds of hospitals across the country are at financial risk for the results of total joint replacement surgery, not simply for what happens during the hospital stay but for what happens for up to 90 days after the patient is discharged.
February 9, 2016 |
In a paper from the January 2015 issue of Health Affairs, Abe Dunn and colleagues from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) introduce readers to their innovative new Health Care Satellite Account (HCSA) and use the data to provide insights about the recent slowdown in health spending growth rates.
February 5, 2016 |
Those who follow Altarum Institute’s monthly health sector briefs and trend reports are well aware that the five-year run of record low growth rates in national health spending (from 2009 through 2013) has come to an end, or at least been interrupted.
December 8, 2015 |
The rate of health sector hiring started to increase in the middle of 2014, and has continued to accelerate through the first three quarters of 2015.
November 20, 2015 |
“Health cost growth has slowed down, we think. So let’s increase health costs.” This is the federal government’s apparent response to some recent sanguine estimates about the future of health cost growth.
August 5, 2015 |
The next set of official Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) health spending projections is scheduled for release July 28.
July 28, 2015 |
The Federal Reserve Board would like to see wages break out of their slump; that much can be said without contradiction. “We will be looking at wage growth,” said Chair Janet Yellen at her March press conference. “We have not seen wage growth pick up.”
May 20, 2015 |
It has been a while since I last had the opportunity to analyze the slowdown in health spending and the extent to which it represents a lasting bend in the cost curve, as opposed to lingering effects of the “Great Recession or other temporary changes.”
March 24, 2015 |
The creation of modern medicine was both costly and valuable, raising spending (from 4% of GDP to 15%) and longevity (from 47 to 78 years) during the last century (Fogel, 2004).
January 6, 2015 |
The expansion of coverage to some 10 million individuals in 2014 has implications for the growth rate in national health expenditures and on health workforce requirements.
December 19, 2014 |
As my colleagues and I at Altarum Institute’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending have observed in our recent Health Sector Economic IndicatorsSM Labor Briefs, health sector job growth has accelerated during 2014.
December 11, 2014 |
In a new report, CSHS has added estimates of the nonretail prescription drug component to the 10-year CMS NHE projection.
October 14, 2014 |
Economists and policy-makers have been trying to determine whether the growth in healthcare spending has slowed and, more importantly, whether it will be slower in the future than the past.
July 10, 2014 |
It is well known that our current fee-for-service system creates an environment that promotes volume over value and unintentionally exacerbates the delivery of fragmented, costly, and uncoordinated care.
July 9, 2014 |
Health-care spending will accelerate next year for the first time since the recession ended, a reversal of a trend that could have broad implications for employers and the economy, a new study says.
June 26, 2014 |
Each year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updates their historical and projected estimates of national health expenditures (NHE), including retail spending on prescription drugs.
June 17, 2014 |
This week, we are releasing our monthly briefs on health care employment and prices but have decided to delay the spending brief.
June 13, 2014 |
The latest data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce estimate that spending for health care services jumped by about $50 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2014 compared to fourth quarter (Q4) of 2013 (seasonally adjusted annual rates).
May 8, 2014 |
Over the past 20 years working as a health economist, I have observed little true commitment to reducing health care expenditures and costs in the United States.
April 17, 2014 |
Altarum’s current phase of mission-driven research and development program was launched in mid-2011, with the launch of our four Centers.
March 6, 2014 |
Altarum’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending is studying the value of investments in nonclinical primary prevention—that is, interventions outside of the medical system (nonclinical) that reduce the incidence of illness or injury (primary prevention) and may reduce health care costs.
February 24, 2014 |
It’s been more than 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” but economic prosperity for Black and Latino people in the United States continues to be just that: a dream.
January 30, 2014 |
Clearly, any effort to reduce the ever-widening income gap is one step forward.
January 28, 2014 |
In this blog, we focus on the societal perspective of the nonclinical determinants of health. In theory, if an investment has high societal value, there should be a way to reward the investor adequately and still leave society better off.
December 3, 2013 |
Under a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Altarum’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending is studying the value of investments in nonclinical primary prevention; that is, interventions outside of the medical system (nonclinical) that reduce the incidence of illness or injury (primary prevention).
October 17, 2013 |
Last month, the Institute of Medicine published their much-awaited report which recommends that CMS should not adjust Medicare payments geographically; instead, CMS should continue to focus on value-based payment reforms, such as patient-centered medical homes, bundled payments, and accountable care organizations.
September 5, 2013 |
Popular wisdom has it that the current economic expansion is relatively weak in job growth compared with other expansions, and that the health sector has played a larger role in job growth during this recovery than the non-health sectors.
August 22, 2013 |
In Senate Budget Committee remarks on July 30, 2013, I argued that that the recent health care cost growth reduction is real, and that it could be maintained, but not without overcoming 7 challenges first.
August 20, 2013 |
The historical growth in health spending as a share of GDP is well-documented and increasingly well-known. We know this share will eventually level off – but where?
July 16, 2013 |
Despite recent news that our cost trend has slowed somewhat in recent years and hopes that reform will decrease costs, health care spending remains one of the greatest threats to our national security and prosperity.
June 13, 2013 |
Much has been made of the slowdown in health spending growth and the role played by the economy.
May 14, 2013 |
In the past few years, health costs have begun to grow more slowly. A debate has arisen as to whether these effects are more permanent in nature.
May 10, 2013 |
Why Nobody Believes the Numbers, by Al Lewis, sheds needed light on the hocus pocus that so often masquerades as financial return on investment in health care.
March 29, 2013 |
For health care, sequestration means blunt, across-the-board reductions in Medicare payments, as well as cuts to state grants supporting development and implementation of affordable insurance exchanges, mental health and family planning services, and scientific research, among other cuts.
March 21, 2013 |
Last week, Altarum Institute released our Health Sector Economic Indicators (HSEI)SM for March 2013 the latest monthly information on health care spending, prices, utilization, and employment.
March 19, 2013 |
The Center for Sustainable Health Spending was awarded a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study prevention and costs.
January 24, 2013 |
How would bending the health care spending curve to GDP+0 impact the future size of the federal deficit and the solvency of the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund?
October 31, 2012 |
Given the attention to the Simpson-Bowles plan, Charlie Roehrig examines its implications for sustainable health spending and “maps it” on the Triangle of Painful Choices.
October 30, 2012 |
In this blog, we examine the validity of economic growth and health sector's involvement in job growth by comparing the current expansion to previous economic expansions.
October 16, 2012 |
Inspired by the September 25 spending estimates from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) showing an uptick in the growth rate for 2011 to 4.6 percent, Charlie Roehrig sheds light on the issues raised by the report.
October 4, 2012 |
The Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative in Arkansas is a shared-savings plan that begins to move to a system in which providers are paid based on how well they deliver care and manage their costs.
October 2, 2012 |
On July 24, our Center held a symposium in Washington, D.C., titled Sustainable Health Spending and the U.S. Federal Budget.
August 14, 2012 |
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Accountable Care Act (ACA), the major actors in the nation’s health care enterprise are moving to prepare for changes.
August 7, 2012 |
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), long-run sustainability in health spending is largely determined by the federal government’s ability to meet its Medicare, Medicaid, exchange subsidy and other health obligations under a balanced budget.
June 7, 2012 |
Overuse of health care is moving into the policy spotlight as a critical—and addressable—cost and quality issue.
May 31, 2012 |
Nine prominent physician groups today released lists of 45 common tests and treatments they say are often unnecessary and may even harm patients.
April 10, 2012 |
CBO has released a new report presenting the federal non-health spending path specified by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Chairman of the House Budget Committee.
April 5, 2012 |
We believe that it is both necessary and possible to develop an understanding of which factors are contributing significantly to the decline in spending growth and why.
March 5, 2012 |
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has a thousand pages of moving parts, and the relatively few that have rolled out are shedding sprockets across the landscape.
February 16, 2012 |
Innovation in health care products, services, delivery models and processes has emerged as a popular solution to spiraling U.S. health care costs as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launches its $1 billion challenge.
February 14, 2012 |
Late last year an expert panel convened by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommended that all children be screened for high cholesterol.
February 9, 2012 |
It is critical that we be clear-eyed in our understanding of the tradeoffs between tax revenues and a sustainable rate of national health spending.
February 7, 2012 |
Kudos to Robert Samuelson for bringing attention to health care spending in the U.S., and to the relationship between health spending and the economy.
January 27, 2012 |
Results from our Consumer Opinion survey indicate that most consumers have never asked about the price of a health care service before getting care.
January 6, 2012 |
If we’re serious about reducing U.S. health care spending, then we need to focus on reigning in hospital prices for the same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks. It’s where the money is.
January 3, 2012 |
The health insurance exchanges built into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) create mechanisms for small-group insurance plan survival, but also powerful incentives for their dissolution.
December 20, 2011 |
There is surprisingly little consensus about what health spending growth rate would be “sustainable”.
December 1, 2011 |
In this post, I want to focus on the broad strategies available to slow the growth in health care spending, in order to say what options are available to policymakers facing firm fiscal realities.
October 25, 2011 |
By ignoring the enormous regional disparities in cost of living, the subsidies effectively penalize those in more expensive localities and reward those in lower-cost areas.
October 11, 2011 |
Since we began tracking national health expenditures (NHE) on a monthly basis, we have been wondering when the health spending share of GDP would hit the 18 percent threshold. The recent downward revision of historical GDP estimates has provided the answer – it already happened.
September 20, 2011 |
Unless we get a hold of rising health care spending, the U.S. isn’t going to be able to make the kind of investments in infrastructure and education that are crucial for guarantying long-term economic growth and our global competitiveness.
August 23, 2011 |
Small-business owners are deeply concerned that the 2010 health care law (PPACA) will prolong what has been described as America’s “jobless recovery.”
August 9, 2011 |
Monthly employment figures for June were much lower than anticipated and have caused new doubts about the robustness of the economic recovery.
July 19, 2011 |
The troubled health care reforms in England should be of strong interest to those outside the U.K. We all know that nearly every developed nation is struggling to slow rising health care spending.
June 27, 2011 |
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that bundling hospital and post-acute care for Medicare will save $18.6 billion by 2019.
May 24, 2011 |
For the first time, consumers shopping for a health policy will be able to get a good idea of how much of the costs different plans will cover for three medical conditions.
May 17, 2011 |
In this blog, I propose a new statistic that filters out the misleading signals arising from transitory business cycles and provides clearer information on the extent to which health spending is on a sustainable path.
May 11, 2011 |
Several recent articles and blog discussions have sparked emotional debate about the potential dangers of asking citizens to spend some portion of their own money and behave like consumers when using health care.
May 5, 2011 |
Ask any policy wonk to rattle off the most powerful ways to improve performance in the U.S. health care system and you’ll likely hear them mention payment reform.
April 25, 2011 |
Obesity is one of the most challenging health crises the country has ever faced. Two-thirds of adults and nearly one-third of children and teens are currently obese or overweight, putting them at increased risk for more than 20 major diseases.
March 31, 2011 |
Do low rates of health spending growth and its stable share of GDP indicate that the health care cost curve has started bending away from its unsustainable rate of increase?
March 28, 2011 |
Some regions of the country that have been lambasted for high levels of Medicare spending actually are below the national average once the severity of patient sickness and special local expenses are taken into account.
March 22, 2011 |
Prevention is one of those things that everyone can agree on, the health policy world’s equivalent of apple pie (minus the fat and sodium).
March 15, 2011 |
Enthusiasm for ACOs, the real Accountable Care Organizations for people, is high. Over the past six months, the chorus has become louder.
March 10, 2011 |
When consumers and employers pick health plans, some increasingly are being offered a trade-off these days.
March 8, 2011 |
For small business to flourish, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) must go away, and—equally importantly—the status quo that preceded it must never return.
February 8, 2011 |
Data released by the National Health Statistics Group at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows that health spending accounted for 17.6 percent of the gross domestic product in 2009.
January 24, 2011 |
In 2011, health insurance premiums in the United States are going to rise. In all likelihood, the price increase that consumers are going to see isn’t going to be trivial.
October 5, 2010 |
My fear is that much of the non value-added bureaucracy of health insurance and the “more-and-newer-is better-at-any cost” medical-industrial practices are reinforced rather than rejected, codified rather than carved out under the PPACA.
August 31, 2010 |
It’s little surprise that cost reduction was a major purpose of and selling point for the Obama administration’s recently past health reform legislation.
August 24, 2010 |
There is uncertainty as to how health reform measures will impact the way hospitals and providers deliver health care services to their patients in the future.
July 27, 2010 |
No one wants to say no on prices. That’s going to be a problem if we truly want to bend the curve.
June 28, 2010 |
Right now in the U.S. and U.K., there’s a push among most politicians to exhort the necessity of reining in our respective national deficits. Nowhere is the pressure to slow spending greater than in the health care sector.
May 4, 2010 |
Health care reform is now the law of the land, and the rollout has begun. Without a doubt, however, the new law radically alters the environment for small business, and some firms will struggle to survive the changes.
April 27, 2010 |
As the House and Senate move toward the final outlines of health care reform legislation, they confront important questions about how proposals might apply to immigrants.
November 10, 2009 |
Sen. Max Baucus’s America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009 has received a tepid reception from Democrats and Republicans alike.
September 30, 2009 |
The whole idea that a committee of experts in Washington or anywhere else can deliver what each American wants in health care, when we want it, at a price we can afford, is nonsense.
August 17, 2009 |
Done right, health care reform will be a boon to the U.S. economy. Done wrong, it will be an economic albatross.
August 5, 2009 |
On July 16, House Democrats released H.R. 3200, a bill that is an impressive first step towards addressing some of the challenges in U.S. health care.
July 21, 2009 |
I believe today we face one of the most important decisions in our Nation’s history—how to address the insolvency of our health care system that threatens to decimate our country’s budget, stability, and overall wellbeing.
April 21, 2009 |
Although there is considerable attention paid to addressing cost growth and investing in public health and prevention, the most noteworthy aspect of Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s health care plan is its focus on attempting to make insurance affordable for all Americans.
October 1, 2008 |