Report shows 1% of Americans account for 22% of healthcare costs

I am not sure how the country will be able to handle the cost of the healthcare reform with expected cost increases with Medicaid and simply the cost drivers for the reform.  Already millions of dollars have been spent in developing the technology for the health exchanges.

USA Today (1/12, Kennedy) reports on an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report, which found that “just 1% of Americans accounted for 22% of health care costs in 2009.” Meanwhile, “Five percent accounted for 50% of health care costs, about $36,000 each, the report said.” Lead author Steven Cohen noted that “the report’s findings can be used to predict which consumers are most likely to drive up health care costs and determine the best ways to save money.”

NYT: Healthcare Reform Law Has Had Little Impact On Total Spending. The New York Times (1/12, A26, Subscription Publication) editorializes, “So far, the health care reform law has had little impact on total spending even though some of its provisions, like prescription drug rebates for Medicare beneficiaries, have already kicked in,” and “the real impact will come in 2014 when there will be an expansion of Medicaid and a new federal subsidy program for low- and middle-income Americans.” The Times argues that “as the population ages, controlling spending will require reforms that coordinate delivery of services, reduce unnecessary care and spur innovations that improve quality and curb medical costs.”

Government Healthcare Spending Growing. The Washington Post (1/12, Kliff) reports in its “Wonkblog” that government spending on healthcare has not slowed. “A new analysis from the McKinsey Center for US Health System Reform shows that state and federal spending on health care has grown by 55 percent since 2003, nearly twice as fast as private spending growth.” The Post notes, “The overall health care spending slowdown actually masks two divergent trends – one, private health care spending accounts for an increasingly smaller chunk of the $2.6 trillion that the United States spends on health care, and two, government programs foot a larger part of the tab.”

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