What Medicare spends from one city to the next across the U.S. is one of the thornier and more pressing issues in the national debate over how to slow health spending — and ease pressure on household, employer and public budgets. Previous research, notably by Dartmouth University researchers, has suggested that Medicare spending varies because doctors practice medicine differently (and not always well) across the country, and financial incentives encourage overuse of healthcare.
The latest volley suggests that nearly all communities are a mix of high- and low-cost spending. But communities with the highest overall costs across 10 conditions had a greater prevalence of most of those diseases than the lowest-cost communities. Seniors in high-cost locations were also more likely to have multiple conditions than those in low-cost locales.