Medicare Drug Spending Varies By Region, Does Not Offset Other Medical Costs
A study has found that Medicare spending on drugs varies significantly in different regions, and that increased drug spending isn't offset by lower spending on hospital care, doctors visits and other health services, HealthDay/Bloomberg Businessweek reports. "Manhattan, in New York City, had the highest Medicare spending on drugs at $2,973 per patient a year, while Hudson, Fla., had the lowest at $1,854, the investigators found. Los Angeles, Montana, Alaska and Hawaii were other areas of high drug spending by Medicare beneficiaries, while regions of low spending include parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Maine, according to the report." Researchers said the variations identified in the study in the New England Journal of Medicine could be explained by differences in health conditions and frequency of doctors visits, as well as nonmedical factors, such as higher incomes that allow patients to more often choose brand-name drugs (Reinberg, 6/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.