Study: Healthcare spending gains value

April 18, 2006

Each year, millions of dollars are spent on U.S. healthcare and now a Maryland study indicates the expenditure is worth it -- and has a positive return.

Bryan Luce, senior research scientist for the United BioSource Corp., said the study he led especially applies to those who suffer a heart attack, stroke, type two diabetes or breast cancer.

"We calculate that over the last 20 years, the return on investment is positive for overall national healthcare spending; Medicare spending on heart attack, stroke, breast cancer and diabetes; and all major healthcare innovations which we could both identify and which were associated with (the) four diseases," said Luce.

Specifically, he says each additional dollar spent on overall healthcare services was calculated to produce health gains valued from $1.55 to as much as $1.94.

Luce said the study demonstrates it is possible to validly estimate the value of healthcare spending. The authors conclude cost should not be considered in isolation without estimating the value of the investment in healthcare.

The research appears in the publication Value in Health.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International