Contrary to popular belief, the biggest reason for the rise in U.S. health care spending is not an aging population or patient demand but rather the increasing costs of drugs, procedures and hospital care, a new study finds.
Researchers found that since 2000, those yearly price increases have accounted for 91 percent of the rise in national health care spending, which totaled $2.7 trillion in 2011.
"That was surprising," said lead researcher Dr. Hamilton Moses, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore. Often, he noted, people point to the aging population, or doctors ordering too many tests and treatments, as the main drivers of soaring health care spending.
"I think the origin of that misperception comes from the politicizing of the issue," said Moses, who is also chairman of Alerion Institute, a Virginia-based consulting firm.