KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Study Details Medicare Spending Variations

The analysis finds health differences explain as much as 85 percent of cost variations around the country.

Kaiser Health News: Medicare Spending Variations Mostly Due To Health Differences, Study Concludes
The idea that uneven Medicare health care spending around the country is due to wasteful practices and overtreatment—a concept that influenced the federal health law -- takes another hit in a study published Tuesday. The paper concludes that health differences around the country explain between 75 percent and 85 percent of the cost variations (Rau, 5/28).

Also, another study looks at concerns by patients to have greater control of their care.

Medpage Today: Heart Patients Want Big Say In Care Choices
A majority of patients with acute myocardial infarction said they preferred to actively participate in decision making about their care, a study reported. Of 6,636 patients in the study, more than two-thirds indicated they would welcome shared decision making, but one-quarter of them want to make the decision alone, according to Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, SM, from Yale University School of Medicine, and colleagues. In addition, a majority of patients (60 percent) indicated that the physician and patient should have equal participation, while 15 percent suggested the patient should dominate the decision, Krumholz and colleagues wrote in a research letter published in the May 27 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine (Struck, 5/28).

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