Thursday, September 17, 2009

Health care stats

A round-up of health care stats from the study Political Malpractice released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Much of this should already be familiar to regular readers of this blog:
  • Government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP account for roughly 46 percent of health care dollars spent in this country.
  • The roughly 15 percent of Americans that lack health insurance received $84 billion worth of health care in 2008, approximately 65 percent of which was free of charge and paid for by a combination of government subsidies and higher charges to insured patients.
  • In 2007, over 38 percent of those without health insurance lived in households with an income level of at least $50,000 per year, while 20 percent of the uninsured were in households with an income level of at least $75,000.
  • In 2007, consumers paid only 12 percent of health care costs directly out of pocket.
  • Two economists calculated the average cost of developing a new drug at $802 million. The Federal Trade Commission, meanwhile, places the total at between $839 to $868.
The whole thing is worth a read and I would quote more but it doesn't appear friendly to cut and paste. This part on the role played by medical technology as a cost driver also seems worth highlighting:

Indeed, the role of improved technology seems to be something of a cop-out in explaining surging health care costs.

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