August 26, 2022
1 minute read
Duan does not report related financial disclosures. See research for relevant financial disclosures of all other authors.
U.S. healthcare costs for respiratory diseases, especially chronic conditions such as asthma and COPD, increased dramatically between 1996 and 2016, researchers report. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
“The United States spends more on health care than any other country in the world, and it doesn’t do better. Spending on respiratory diseases is no exception.” Kevin I. Duane, MD, MS, From the Department of Respiratory, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at the University of Washington and the Innovation Center for Veteran-Centered, Value-Driven Care at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, and colleagues wrote. “However, while currently available estimates of spending on respiratory disease provide an important starting point, they also provide an incomplete overview due to limitations.”
Researchers used data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Disease Expenditure Project database to estimate annual spending for 38 age and gender groups, seven types of care, and three types of payers.
Researchers looked at healthcare costs for 11 respiratory diseases from 1996 to 2016.
- interstitial lung disease and sarcoidosis;
- lower respiratory tract infections;
- tobacco intervention;
- trachea, bronchi, lung cancer;
- upper respiratory infections;
- whooping cough; and
- Other chronic respiratory diseases.
In 2016, total spending on all respiratory diseases was $170.8 billion, up $71.7 billion from 1996. This represents an annual growth rate of 2.7%.
Asthma ($35.5 billion) and COPD ($34.3 billion) were the top spenders in the United States in 2016, followed by lower respiratory tract infections ($32.2 billion) and upper respiratory tract infections ($12.6 billion) . Asthma accounts for 20.8% of all respiratory illness spending and COPD accounts for 20.1%. For asthma, prescription drugs are the most expensive type of treatment, accounting for $17 billion (48%) of total spending. For COPD, spending on pharmaceuticals ($9.8 billion) and hospital care ($9.9 billion) is similar for both treatment types, contributing 57.3% of total COPD spending.
The increase in service price and intensity increased by $50.4 billion (81.4%) from 1996 to 2016.
“In summary, U.S. healthcare spending for respiratory illnesses increased significantly from 1996 to 2016,” the researchers wrote. “Increased spending was most associated with rising service prices and concentrations, which supports price-targeted policy reforms as an important approach to curb spending growth.”