It has become trite to observe that increases in health care costs have become unsustainable. How best for policy to address these increases, however, depends in part on the degree to which they represent increases in the real quantity of medical services as opposed to increased unit prices of existing services. And an even more fundamental question is the degree to which the increased spending actually has purchased improved health. Accounting for Health and Health Care addresses both these issues. The government agencies responsible for measuring unit prices for medical services have taken steps in recent years that have greatly improved the accuracy of those measures. Nonetheless, this book has several recommendations aimed at further improving the price indices.
Panel to Advance a Research Program on the Design of National Health Accounts, Joseph P. Newhouse, chair. Accounting for Health and Health Care: Approaches to Measuring the Sources and Costs of Their Improvement. National Academies Press, 2010.