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Morning Read: Interactive chart reveals picture of most expensive patients

March 5, 2012 8:55 am by | 2 Comments

American Medical News has a fascinating look at the demographics of who spends the most end of life, healthcare dollars.

When you think of the 1% of patients who consume one-fifth of all health care spending, what image comes to mind? According to new data from AHRQ, this person is a white woman with private insurance and higher than average income. American Medical News used data from an Agency for Health Care Research and Quality to create a very cool, interactive chart that sorts health care expenses by age, income, race/ethnicity, insurance status, health status and gender. If you click only one link today, it should be this one.

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More college students are starting companies than ever before, according to data from Inc.com, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and the Kauffman Foundation.
Low startup costs, fewer jobs in corporate America, and a desire to be in charge are all behind this increase in young people leading new companies.

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Nostalgia may be somewhat more justified for doctors who have slowly become businesspeople instead of “professionals.” Dr. Hector C. Ramos marks the start of the change as 1972 when the Federal Trade Commission said doctors, lawyers, professors, and the clergy no longer held special status, but were just like any other vocation. He fears that this trend will lead physicians to become disinterested providers with many responsibilities but no authority.

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Veronica Combs

By Veronica Combs

I am the editor in chief at MedCityNews.com. I started writing and editing in the print world and joined a dotcom right before the 2000 crash. I was at TechRepublic/CNET/BNET for 7 years. Health was more interesting to me than the latest version of Windows, so I left for a startup tracking prescription drug news. A year later, MedTrackAlert was acquired by HealthCentral, so I shifted to audience research. The fun of daily news and interviewing smart people brought me to MedCity News in February 2012.
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2 comments
Amy Siegel
Amy Siegel

I am fascinated by the AHRQ data (not to mention the cool interactive graphic!). So are privately insured patients more costly because private insurers pay more for the same care as public insurers? Or are privately insured patients using more care? Anyone know the answer?

Veronica Combs
Veronica Combs

It's a good question. My first thought was the latter--privately insured patients are using more care--but then there was the recent study that showed private insurers spend $3,200 more per knee replacement than Medicare does, mostly because of higher hospital costs. I will look at the report in more detail and see if it's clear from the analysis as opposed to just the numbers.

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