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News of the Day ... in Perspective


Medical spending growth down in first half of 2003

The rate of increase in per capita medical spending slowed in the first half of 2003 to 8.5% for all services, 7.6% for hospital services, 12.9% for out-patient services, 6.1% for physicians, and 8.5% for prescription drugs, according to an Associated Press story.

The slowdown is believed to result from greater cost-sharing by patients, stated Paul Ginsburg of the Center for Studying Health Systems Change.

One specific reason for the slowdown in spending growth for prescription drugs is that Claritin went over the counter and is thus no longer covered by third parties.

Additional information:

MUDA: The Cause of Medical Cost Increases by Gerry Smedinghoff

100 Years of Market Distortions by Greg Scandlen available on request from [email protected]

RAND corporation study showed negligible effect on health outcomes as a result of economizing by patients who shared costs.

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