Using Satellite National Health Accounts to Understand Health and Cost Changes

Though health expenditures in the U.S. are carefully tracked by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the health outcomes associated with these expenditures are not. To address this need, this project develops detailed measures of population health and medical spending using existing national data, in order to systematically and jointly measure the benefits and the costs of medical care. These methods serve as a Satellite National Health Account, enabling a better understanding of the health sector in the United States. This project advances two new avenues of analysis using these tools that will greatly expand our understanding of health change in relation to costs across the U.S. population. The first is to examine health in conjunction with costs among all age groups- -including the elderly, middle-aged, young adults, and children-and among different socioeconomic groups. The second is to examine the health of those with different diseases, and understand specifically how it has changed over time in terms of the relationship of each disease to health and medical spending. A major output of the project is the production of a satellite National Health Account for the U.S. population as a whole, that gives critical information on health outcomes and medical expenditures for specific diseases over time, overall and among different sociodemographic groups.