Every year for 33 years the Centers for Disease Control has put out a report on health in the United States. The one covering 2009 was just released. (CDC Report) The book contains an enormous amount of information including charts, tables and text on population demographics, health risk factors such as obesity, morbidity, death rates and causes, health insurance status, health care resources and utilization of those resources. Much of the data is trended and is available by ethnic, racial, education and income categories.
A special feature in this year’s report is a focused look at medical technology and its impact on health care and health care spending. One part of this section examines the by-now common issues related to imaging, illustrating the growth in use and cost. Another section looks at joint replacements, highlighting the tremendous growth in knee procedures. Stenting procedures are covered, again showing the growth in drug-eluting stent use. Use of the ICU in the last 6 months of Medicare beneficiaries’ lives is explored, showing enormous geographic variation. ICUs are a source of extremely large amounts of expense and most of the care rendered there is futile, the patient ends up dying either in the ICU or within a short time after discharge. Assisted reproductive procedure growth is documented. Most states have mandated coverage of these very expensive procedures.
If you are looking for basic data on almost any aspect of health and health care in the United States, this report is a very useful resource. And if you want to understand some sources of the continued high rate of health spending, the medical technology section provides answers.