A new study suggests that healthcare spending is on the rise in the US. However, increased usage of services is not to blame for the hike. On the contrary, the higher expenditures are being driven by higher costs, according to the report, which was put out by the Health Care Cost Institute. HCCI’s study states that between 2015 and 2016, spending on healthcare went up by 4.6%, despite a corresponding decrease in utilization of services in some cases. In fact, per capita spending on healthcare reached a whopping $5,407 in 2016.
The president of the think tank that conducted the study, Niall Brennan, called for a national dialogue on skyrocketing price levels in healthcare. According to Brennan, despite the best efforts of many who have tried to refocus on value in order to bring costs under control, Americans are using less but spending more when it comes to their medical care. These increases have been most acutely felt in terms of prescription drugs, surgical procedures, and emergency care.
One eye-catching statistic contained in the report was the 110% increase in spending on prescription drugs between between 2012-2016, in spite of the fact that people are actually purchasing less medication. The one bright spot was a 16% fall in emergency room admission, although that decrease was accompanied by a slight decrease in utilization.
HCCI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to better understand the causes of price increases in American healthcare. Based in Washington, D.C., the group publishes annual studies that focus on the insured population of the country. HCCI also functions as a provider of data to university and government researchers throughout the US. In addition, they help the public sector collect data in order to help improve price transparency in the healthcare industry, as a way to help curb costs.