Measuring Medical Prices and Understanding Their Effects

by Joseph P. Newhouse


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This paper is the text of a speech originally presented at the Baxter Foundation Prize Dinner, Association of University Programs in Health Administration Annual Meeting, April 16, 1988, in Washington, D.C. The author cites various examples from health service studies, first to prove that prices affect medical care use and then to support his argument that there is still much that researchers do not understand about how prices affect care. He continues with a discussion of price measurement, underscoring the need for greater knowledge by pointing out that the source of medical price increases cannot even be determined because of flaws in the Consumer Price Index. Urging further research in health services, the author presents trends in federal spending on health services research and concludes that this research is seriously underfunded.

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