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The Medical Costs of The Young and Old: A Forty Year Perspective

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  • David M. Cutler
  • Ellen Meara

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the growth in medical care spending by age over the past 40 years. We show that between 1953 and 1987, medical spending increased disproportionately for infants, those under 1 year, and the elderly, those 65 and older. Annual spending growth for infants was 9.8 percent and growth for the elderly was 8.0 percent compared to 4.7 percent for people aged 1-64. Within the infant and the elderly population, excess spending growth was largely driven by more rapid growth of spending at the top of the medical spending distribution. Aggregate changes in outcomes for infants and the elderly are consistent with these changes in spending growth, but we do not present any causal evidence on this point.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6114.

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Date of creation: Jul 1997
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Publication status: published as The Medical Costs of the Young and Old: A Forty-Year Perspective , David M. Cutler, Ellen Meara. in Frontiers in the Economics of Aging , Wise. 1998
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6114

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  1. Cutler, David M, 1995. "The Incidence of Adverse Medical Outcomes under Prospective Payment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 63(1), pages 29-50, January.
  2. David M. Cutler & Mark McClellan & Joseph P. Newhouse & Dahlia Remler, 1996. "Are Medical Prices Declining?," NBER Working Papers 5750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joseph P. Newhouse, 1992. "Medical Care Costs: How Much Welfare Loss?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 3-21, Summer.
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