Study Indicates Medicare Spending on Health Services Is Closely Linked to How Care Is Delivered and Paid For

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<p>Research has shown that growth in health care spending often has more to do with how much, and what type, of care patients receive rather than with changes in health status or disease prevalence. With Medicare spending on hospital, postacute, and physician services growing at historically low rates, Commonwealth Fund–supported researchers sought to find out if this finding still holds true.</p><p>A study led by Laura M. Keohane of Vanderbilt University Medical Center report in the journal <em>Health Services Research </em>that the average amount Medicare spent on health care for each beneficiary age 65 and older declined by $180 between the periods 2007–2010 and 2011–2014, after adjusting for changes in provider payment rates. Most of the decrease, the authors say, can be attributed to lower spending for Medicare beneficiaries with certain chronic illnesses. For example, while there has been a large increase in chronic kidney disease, overall spending for this condition dropped enough to lower per beneficiary spending by nearly $28.</p>
<p>The decline in Medicare spending per beneficiary may reflect a shift toward value-based approaches to delivering and paying for health services, the researchers say.  </p> Read more