Health Care Cost Growth

Michael E. Chernew and Dustin May

in The Oxford Handbook of Health Economics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199238828
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Economics

Health Care Cost Growth

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  • Economics
  • Health, Education, and Welfare
  • Public Economics



Health care cost growth is among the most important issues facing the United States and other developed countries. This article describes the rapid growth in expenditure in most developed countries, and discusses the factors that have driven this growth, such as population aging, general economic growth, and the adoption and use of new medical technologies. The public financing aspect of health care spending adds an additional dimension to assessing the impact of rapid health care cost growth. The article considers a range of strategies for slowing cost growth, including economic evaluation of technologies. Most health care systems employ some method of cost sharing as a means to reduce health care utilization. This article also discusses managed care plans that integrate the financing and delivery of care. However, as costs grow, pressures to control spending will grow and distributional issues will become even more salient.

Keywords: health care; cost growth; economic growth; financing; care plans

Article.  9351 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Health, Education, and Welfare ; Public Economics

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