Health Care Spending, Quality, and Outcomes

More Isn't Always Better

Rapidly rising health care costs pose a serious threat not only to the future of public and private health insurance coverage, but also to the sustainability of efforts to expand coverage to the nearly 50 million uninsured Americans.

Coming to grips with the nation’s growing health care cost is the key to achieving health care reform. In a commentary published in the New England Journal of Medicine, "Slowing the Growth of Health Care Costs - Lessons from Regional Variation," Dartmouth researchers describe how inefficiencies in the U.S. health care system are hamstringing the nation’s ability to expand access to care.

A compendium of materials examines America’s health care spending patterns. Two issue briefs, Health Care Spending, Quality and Outcomes and The Policy Implications of Variations in Medicare Spending Growth, provide tables on Medicare per capita spending levels and growth rates for U.S. hospital referral regions and states, and explore the implications for health policy. Also, the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care: Regional Disparity in Medicare Spending map provides a deeper, interactive dive into the spending data.