Growth in Health Spending Has Slowed, But It's Still a Major Obstacle to High Performance

eAlert 2ff0c8ce-217f-4c35-8fe4-e6edebf54b62

<p>The news that national health care spending slowed in 2005 for a third straight year is encouraging. Still, spending growth in 2005--6.9 percent--continued to outpace inflation and growth in wages for the average U.S. worker.<br><br>A new <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=26175&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D441355%26%23doc441355">Data Brief</a> from the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System offers perspective on the latest expenditure data, published yesterday in <em>Health Affairs.</em> "There is growing recognition that while the U.S. leads the world both in health care spending per capita and spending as a percentage of GDP, our system does not produce better outcomes," say Fund authors Stephen Schoenbaum, M.D., Karen Davis, Ph.D., and Alyssa Holmgren, M.P.A., who also note that ever-rising health care costs increase financial burdens on patients, hinder access to care, and negatively affect quality.<br><br>"The Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System believes the nation must strive to achieve greater value per dollar spent and to decrease the rate of growth of health spending," say the authors of the Data Brief. They also describe some of the steps that could help, such as increasing transparency and public reporting of cost and quality information, rewarding quality and efficiency, and expanding the use of information technology and systems of health information exchange.</p>