SUMMARY: A Rand study attempts to establish if higher-priced health care is better. The answer: No.



Here are excerpts from the study abstract.

“BACKGROUND: Although there is broad policy consensus that both cost containment and quality improvement are critical, the association between costs and quality is poorly understood. PURPOSE: To systematically review evidence of the association between health care quality and cost. …  DATA SYNTHESIS: Of 61 included studies, 21 (34%) reported a positive or mixed-positive association (higher cost associated with higher quality); 18 (30%) reported a negative or mixed-negative association; and 22 (36%) reported no difference, an imprecise or indeterminate association, or a mixed association. The associations were of low to moderate clinical significance in many studies. … CONCLUSION: Evidence of the direction of association between health care cost and quality is inconsistent. Most studies have found that the association between cost and quality is small to moderate, regardless of whether the direction is positive or negative. Future studies should focus on what types of spending are most effective in improving quality and what types of spending represent waste.” Peter S. Hussey, Samuel Wertheimer and Ateev Mehrotra, via The Association Between Health Care Quality and Cost: A Systematic Review | RAND.

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...