KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Officials Look To Stop ‘Medicalization’ To Stem Health Care Costs

The Florida Times-Union: Stopping the "medicalization" of good health is being targeted again by economists and policymakers as a way to stem health care costs. "If Americans would stop thinking of certain problems in a medical context, experts argue, it might chip away at the more than $2 trillion the nation spends annually on health care. Furthermore, people would be healthier because they would avoid some of the problems caused by too much health care, such as hospital-acquired infections and bad drug interactions." A new study says prodecures for "formerly non-medical ills" cost $77.1 billion in 2005 dollars, more than all annual medical spending on heart disease, cancer and public health campaigns, one of the study authors says. The study was published in the Journal of Social Science and Medicine.  The study author argued that medicalization is exhibited in part by a broadening of the symptoms that lead to more diagnoses of ADHD.  Economist Nikolas rose has critiqued the phrase "medicalization", saying it 'has become a cliche of critical social analysis'" (Cox, 7/7). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.