KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Study: Docs Place ‘Major Responsibility’ For Health Care Costs On Others

In a survey of doctors by Mayo Clinic researchers, most respondents pointed to lawyers, health insurers, hospitals, drug companies and patients as having a large stake in cutting costs.

Los Angeles Times: Are Doctors Passing The Buck On Health Care Costs?
Mayo Clinic researcher Dr. Jon C. Tilburt and colleagues polled 2,556 doctors on health care costs in 2012, asking them to gauge their level of responsibility for controlling costs -- as well as others' responsibility. More than half of respondents said that trial lawyers, health insurance companies, hospitals and health systems, pharmaceutical and device manufacturers and patients had a major responsibility for cutting costs. But only 36 percent said that physicians themselves had major responsibility (Brown, 7/23).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Study: Doctors Look To Others To Curb Health Costs
When it comes to controlling the country's health care costs, doctors point their fingers at lawyers, insurance companies, drug makers and hospitals. But well over half acknowledge they have at least some responsibility as stewards of health care resources (Tran, 7/23).

Medpage Today: Docs Point To Others To Cut Health Costs
Respondents said trial lawyers (60 percent), health insurance companies (59 percent), hospitals and health systems (56 percent), pharmaceutical and device manufacturers (56 percent), and patients (52 percent) have a "major responsibility" for reducing health care costs. ... Only employers (19 percent) and physician professional societies (27 percent) bear less responsibility than individual physicians, the survey found (Pittman, 7/23).

Also in the news --

The Fiscal Times: Why Medical Spending May Finally Flatten Out
As you may have heard, health care spending has taken a somewhat encouraging turn over the last few years. A combination of a recession "hangover," implementation of the Affordable Care Act Medicare payment reforms and patients spending less out of pocket have kept prices in check. Both Medicaid and Medicare, for example, spent 5 percent less last year than their 2010 projections. The question perplexing health care economists at the moment is whether medical spending will continue to moderate or once again start to outpace inflation. Although lower spending for the public programs is a good short-term trend, it's uncertain if the 3 percent annual health-spending growth rate from 2009 through 2011 will continue (Wasik, 7/24).

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