Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Health Affairs website offers a study that explores alternative methods of projecting federal health care spending that incorporates actual clinical information.

The study was prepared by Elbert Huang and Anirban Basu, assistant professors of medicine at the University of Chicago School of Medicine; Michael O'Grady, senior fellow at National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago; and James Capretta, a principal of Civic Enterprises LLC in Washington, D.C.

"Current federal cost projection methods are constrained by ten-year cost estimates, which capture increases in near-term intervention costs but not changes in long-term costs," they write. "Current methods also cannot easily capture the cost implications of changes in disease progression. Type 2 diabetes is a prime example of a chronic illness with long-term health and cost consequences."

“I’m trying to show (the Congressional Budget Office) that there are other ways to do this, as we face these new challenges from the epidemic of chronic illness,” O'Grady told the Washington Post. “They’re used to thinking like economists. And their friends at Health and Human Services are used to thinking like actuaries. But there’s this third way, which is epidemiological, which shows us how a disease progresses over time.”


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