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Health Aff (Millwood). 2010 Aug;29(8):1523-31. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2009.0287.

Little evidence of correlation between growth in health care spending and reduced mortality.

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  • 1Tufts University School of Medicine, in Boston, Massachusetts, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA.


As rapid U.S. health care spending growth continues, the question of whether additional dollars purchase better health or unnecessary care remains in sharp focus for policy makers, large employers, and other stakeholders. To investigate this question, we measured changes in mortality and cost for seven common diagnoses at 122 U.S. hospitals from 2000 to 2004. After adjusting for inflation, we found little correlation between reduced mortality for certain conditions and increased spending on patients with those conditions. The message to be underscored once again for policy makers is that health care dollars provide inconsistent value, and future spending increases should be targeted to care that improves outcomes.

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