A federally-financed study published in today's New England Journal of Medicine finds that despite all of the complaining about healthcare costs, the price we pay to extend our lives is worth it. A child born in 1960 could expect to live 69.9 years, but in the last 40 years, life expectancy has increased to 76.9 years. The study finds that Americans have spent an average of $19,900 for each extra year of life during this time period. But that number jumped to $84,500 for older Americans, primarily because of expensive end-of-life care that doesn't end up extending life very much at all. The study found that some inexpensive drugs as well as medical advances are responsible in part for our improved longevity. But not everyone agrees that spending more on medical care is worth it. "The fact that someone is writing this paper shows how desperate the healthcare system is to justify these out-of-control increases in health spending," Dr. Sidney Wolfe, who heads health research at Public Citizen, told The New York Times.
For all the details from the study:
- read this New York Times article