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Health Care Costs: The Role of Technology and Chronic Conditions

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

This is the second event in a three-part series of discussions on costs, the factors driving them up and what (if anything) can be done about them. The series marks the Alliance for Health Reform's 20th year of promoting informed and balanced discussion of health policy issues.

Much has been said about spending in governmental health care programs, notably Medicare and Medicaid. But employers, families and other payers have also experienced steady increases in health care spending.

Many factors have been cited as health care cost drivers, including demography, geography, economics and health status. But there is little agreement on how much each factor contributes to overall costs. This briefing offered an in-depth look at two of the most often cited cost drivers -- technology and chronic conditions.

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Health Care Costs: The Role of Technology and Chronic Conditions (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 5/29/2012
Full Webcast/Podcast: For the full webcast, click here.

The full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

Joe Antos's Presentation (PowerPoint), 5/29/2012
Ken Thorpe's Presentation (PowerPoint), 5/29/2012
Joe Newhouse's Presentation (PowerPoint), 5/29/2012
Bruce Chernof's Presentation (PowerPoint), 5/29/2012
Susan Reinhard's Presentation (PowerPoint), 5/29/2012

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 4/24/2012
Materials List (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 5/29/2012
Issue Brief: Cost Drivers in Health Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 4/1/2012
-  A short summary of possible health care cost drivers, prepared by Jack Ebeler and his colleagues at Health Policy Alternatives

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Individuals Living in the Community with Chronic Conditions and Functional Limitations: A Closer Look (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, 1/1/2010
- Lisa Alecxih, et al.
Vanderbilt Study Shows High Cost of Defensive Medicine, EurekAlert, Press Release, 2/9/2012
- Craig Boerner
The Concentration and Persistence in the Level of Health Expenditures over Time: Estimates for the U.S. Population, 2008-2009, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 1/1/2012
- Steven Cohen and William Yu
Dual Eligibles, Chronic Conditions, and Functional Impairment By Age Group, The SCAN Foundation, 9/26/2011
- Data Brief
Medicare Spending by Functional Impairment and Chronic Conditions, The SCAN Foundation , 9/26/2011
- Data Brief
Medicare Spending by Quintile, The SCAN Foundation , 9/26/2011
- Data Brief
What We Give Up For Health Care, The New York Times , 1/21/2012
- Ezekiel Emanuel
Health Care Costs: Key Information On Health Care Costs And Their Impact, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 5/1/2012
Why Are U.S. Health Care Costs So High?, Forbes , 3/1/2012
- Todd Hixon
Good or Useless, Medical Scans Cost the Same, The New York Times , 3/1/2009
- Gina Kolata
Transforming Care for Medicare Beneficiaries with Chronic Conditions and Long-Term Care Needs: Coordinating Care Across All Services (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Georgetown University, 10/1/2011
-  Harriet Komisar and Judy Feder
Many Common Medical Tests and Treatments Are Unnecessary,”, Consumer Reports , 6/1/2012
Medical Care Costs: How Much Welfare Loss?, Journal of Economic Perspectives,, 6/1/1992
- Joseph Newhouse
Durable Medical Equipment and Home Health among the Largest Contributors to Area Variations in Use of Medical Services, Health Affairs, 5/1/2012
- James Reschovsky, et al.
Diagnosing the High Cost of Health Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF),CALPIRG Education Fund,, 6/1/2008
-  Elizabeth Ridlington and Michael Russo.
Income, Insurance, And Technology: Why Does Health Spending Outpace Economic Growth?, Health Affairs, 9/1/2009
-  Sheila Smith, Joseph P. Newhouse and Mark S. Freeland.
Explaining High Health Care Spending in the United States: An International Comparison of Supply, Utilization, Prices, and Quality, Commonwealth Fund, 5/1/2012
-  David Squires
Chronic Conditions Account for Rise in Medicare Spending from 1987-2006, Health Affairs, 4/1/2010
-  Kenneth Thorpe, Lydia Ogden, and Katya Galactionova
Who Are the Chronically Costly? Health Care’s 1%, American Medical News,, 4/5/2012
- Doug Trapp
Limited Options to Manage Specialty Drug Spending (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Health System Change,, 4/1/2012
-  Ha Tu and Divya Samuel
Understanding U.S. Health Care Spending (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Institute for Health Care Management, 7/1/2011
- Data Brief
Costly and Dangerous Treatments Weigh Down Health Care (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Center for American Progress, 6/9/2009
-  Ellen-Marie Whelan and Sonia Sekhar


Susan Dentzer, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, introduces the May 29 briefing on chronic conditions and technology as drivers of health care costs. For the full webcast, click here.


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