Special Feature: The Rising Costs of Health Care

A Decade of Health Care Cost Growth: Impact on the American Family

money stethoscope

How do soaring health care costs affect the finances of the average American family? A RAND Health study shows that the doubling of health costs between 1999 and 2009 largely wiped out an average family's real income gains. In fact, in 2009 the family had a net gain of only $95 per month. If health care costs had tracked general inflation over the decade, the family would have had nearly $5,400 more in 2009.

  • Rising Costs of Health Care

    May 24, 2011

    On May 24, 2011, the RAND Corporation presented “Rising Costs of Health Care” as part of its Issues in Focus public outreach series in Santa Monica, California. The program featured Arthur Kellermann, vice president and director of RAND Health.

  • Policy Options for Covering High-Cost Cures

    Strategic behavior by health insurers could unravel the market for curative therapies for chronic diseases. The cost of these cures is front-loaded, but the benefits build up over time. Thus, insurers might try to delay treatment or avoid patients who need it, in the hope that they change insurers.

  • Improving the Accuracy of Surgical Time Estimation

    Anesthesia and operating room times can be used to measure surgical time and thereby improve the payment for surgical procedures in the Medicare fee schedule.

  • Building a National Culture of Health

    As part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health initiative, RAND developed an action framework to achieve the goal of enabling everyone in the United States to lead healthier lives, now and for generations to come.

  • Retail Clinics May Increase Medical Spending, Rather Than Trim Costs

    Retail clinics, seen as a convenient and cost-saving alternative to physician offices and hospital emergency departments, may actually drive up medical spending by creating demand for new medical services. They have become an attractive alternative to staying home and suffering through a minor illness.

  • Medical Device Innovation in the Era of the Affordable Care Act

    Changing incentives in the health care sector and the move to value-based payment models will force device manufacturers to redirect investments from the spectacular toward the prudent—lower cost, less sexy.