Chapter

Is the U.S. Population Behaving Healthier?

Edward L. Glaeser and Allison B. Rosen

Edited by David M. Cutler

in Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780226076485
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226076508 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226076508.003.0013
Is the U.S. Population Behaving Healthier?

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This chapter compares the risk factor profile of the population in the early 1970s with that of the population in the early 2000s and considers the implications of recent trends for future reductions in mortality. Understanding changes in population health is a key input into public and private decision making. People who live longer have more years of life to enjoy, but also need to prepare for more older years, through increased saving and possibly delayed retirement. Reduced smoking, better control of medical risk factors such as hypertension and cholesterol, and better education among the older population have been more important for mortality than the substantial increase in obesity. The idea behind pay-for-performance systems is to reward physicians (or insurance companies) for successful efforts to increase utilization and possibly adherence. Such efforts might involve having nurse outreach, automatic medication refills, or more convenient office hours to monitor side effects. Patients can receive electronic reminders about medication goals, information, and automated decision tools can help with dosing and medication switches.

Keywords: health; performance systems; medication; medical risk; pay-for-performance systems

Chapter.  10111 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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