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Rising Health Costs

April 7, 2006 • Volume 16, Issue 13
Can costs be cut without hurting care quality?
By Marcia Clemmitt

Introduction

To reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, an electrode is implanted in the brain of a patient at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, in New Brunswick, N.J. Such high-tech procedures contribute to rising health costs along with better care.  (AP Photo/Brian Branch-Price)
To reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, an electrode is implanted in the brain of a patient at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, in New Brunswick, N.J. Such high-tech procedures contribute to rising health costs along with better care. (AP Photo/Brian Branch-Price)

Medical costs have more than doubled over the last decade, and health insurance premiums have risen nearly five times faster than wages. Americans are spending far more on health care than residents of any other industrialized country while receiving lower-quality care overall. Meanwhile, big U.S. businesses that provide health coverage to workers complain that the high costs are crippling their ability to compete with companies abroad whose workers get government-subsidized care. The Bush administration is encouraging consumers to switch to consumer-directed health plans, whose high copayments would force them to shop for more cost-effective care. But critics argue that individuals can do little to control costs. Instead, they argue, the plans would primarily benefit the wealthy and that society must make hard choices about which care should be paid for by public and private dollars.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Nutrition and Health
Oct. 01, 2010  Preventing Obesity
Apr. 07, 2006  Rising Health Costs
Feb. 10, 2006  Eating DisordersUpdated
Sep. 03, 2004  Dietary Supplements
Jan. 31, 2003  Obesity Epidemic
Feb. 23, 2001  Diet and Health
Jan. 15, 1999  Obesity and Health
Sep. 26, 1997  Youth Fitness
Apr. 14, 1995  Dieting and Health
Dec. 18, 1992  Eating Disorders
Nov. 06, 1992  Physical Fitness
Jul. 31, 1992  Infant Mortality
Oct. 25, 1991  World Hunger
Mar. 16, 1990  Public-Health Campaigns: Do They Go Too Far?
Apr. 29, 1988  How America Eats
Sep. 06, 1985  Anorexia and Other Eating Disorders
May 18, 1984  Dining in America
Aug. 26, 1983  Staying Healthy
Nov. 19, 1982  Weight Control: A National Obsession
Oct. 17, 1980  Caffeine Controversy
Apr. 14, 1978  Physical Fitness Boom
Jun. 17, 1977  Obesity and Health
Feb. 22, 1974  Heart Research
Aug. 01, 1973  Nutrition in America
Dec. 02, 1970  Infant Health
Nov. 15, 1967  Overweight and Health
Aug. 10, 1966  Dental Health
Jul. 13, 1966  Prolongation of Life
May 09, 1962  Outdoor Recreation
Nov. 26, 1958  Dieting and Health
Jul. 13, 1949  Recreation for Millions
May 13, 1941  Nutrition and National Health
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Elderly Health Issues
Medicaid and Medicare
Medicaid and Medicare
Medical Devices and Technology
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