KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Spending Increases Hit Fastest Pace Since 1980

USA Today reports on this development, noting some of the factors that will continue to drive up costs. Also, Kaiser Health News explores issues related to who should get costly hepatitis C drugs and The Wall Street Journal reports on the delay in implementing the ICD-10. 

USA Today: Health Care Spending Surges In First Quarter
Health care spending rose at the fastest pace since 1980 in the first quarter as the new health insurance law prompted many more Americans to visit doctors and hospitals. But analysts say the sharp increase also reflects other trends that should continue to drive up both medical spending and costs in 2014 after years of slow growth (Davidson, 5/3).

Kaiser Health News: Who Should Get Pricey Hepatitis C Drugs?
Simple math illustrates the challenge facing U.S. taxpayers, consumers and insurers following the launch late last year of two expensive new drugs to treat hepatitis C. If all 3 million people estimated to be infected with the virus in America are treated at an average cost of $100,000 each, the amount the U.S. spends on prescription drugs would double, from about $300 billion in one year to more than $600 billion (Appleby, 5/5).

The Wall Street Journal: Medical Code Delay Costing Hospitals Big Bucks
A delay in the implementation of ICD-10, a new health-care coding system, will cost some hospitals hundreds of thousands of dollars, increase complexity for an already-complex system, and increase the risk that something will go wrong when the new coding system eventually kicks in (Boulton, 5/2).

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