The U.S. healthcare system earns at least a double return on investment for every $1 spent, according to study results released by the Value Group, a new coalition that includes the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals, among other industry groups. AHA President Dick Davidson said the study would "expand the (public) conversation" about rising healthcare costs to include the benefits of healthcare spending, instead of just the spending alone. Although per capita healthcare costs have increased $2,254 from 1980 to 2000, up 102%, the nation's annual death rate has fallen 16%, average life expectancy has risen 3.2 years and total annual hospital days have declined 56%, the report said. Valuing each one-year gain in life expectancy at $100,000, researchers said every $1 investment in healthcare produces "health gains" of $2.40 to $3. The study, conducted by Medtap International, Bethesda, Md., examined trends in four major conditions: breast cancer, diabetes, heart attack and stroke. For every $1 spent on breast cancer in the Medicare population, $4.80 in health gains was returned, the study found. -- by Jeff Tieman
Industry asserts value of healthcare spending
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