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Healthcare Spending to Hit $3.6T in 2019
A recent analysis from Fitch Solutions predicted that America’s total healthcare spending will hit $3.6 trillion in 2019. This projection shows a 4 percent increase from 2018, in which $3.5 trillion was spent. Researchers noted that Medicare’s growing responsibility in paying for prescriptions was a leading cause of the rise. Fitch’s prediction is lower than the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) February prediction of a 4.8 percent increase. However, Fitch’s estimate is still higher than the annual growth in recent years, such as 3.2 percent spending growth in 2017.
Study: 10,000 Steps Is More Than Enough for Some
A recent study found that walking 10,000 steps per day, an oft-repeated piece of health advice, may not be necessary for some. Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the study concluded that approximately 4,400 daily steps “significantly lower mortality rates” when compared with participants who took only 2,700 steps per day. Health benefits gradually improved with more activity before plateauing at 7,500 steps per day. The cohort study analyzed women with a mean age of 72. Researchers concluded: “A goal of 10 000 steps [per day] is commonly believed by the public to be necessary for health, but this number has limited scientific basis. Additionally, it is unknown whether greater stepping intensity is associated with health benefits, independent of steps taken per day.”
Burnout Costs $4.6B Annually
Physician burnout costs the healthcare industry an estimated $4.6 billion every year, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. While researchers noted that burnout’s toll is between $2.6 and $6.3 billion per year, the baseline accounts for factors such as “turnover and reduced clinical hours.” This equates to roughly $7,600 per employed physician. The cost-consequence analysis with a mathematical model used a simulated population of American physicians, accounting for limitations such as “nonresponse bias.” Researchers concluded that “these findings suggest substantial economic value for policy and organizational expenditures for burnout reduction programs for physicians.”
E-Cig Flavoring Poses Cardiovascular Risks
A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests flavoring in electronic cigarettes can damage the cellular lining of blood vessels. “Unlike cigarette smoking,” researchers noted, “the effects of e-cigarettes and their constituents on mediating vascular health remain understudied.” Using stem cells and six flavoring liquids with varying concentrations, scientists “observed [an] increase in inflammatory cytokine expression in the serum of e-cigarette users.” These flavorings, even those without nicotine, exacerbate conditions that often precede cardiovascular diseases.
Medicaid Expansion Correlated with More Colorectal Cancer Screenings
A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine discovered states that expanded Medicaid services experienced more screenings for colorectal cancer (CRC). Researchers estimated that, had states that opted not to expand Medicaid followed the lead of the five states that expanded Medicaid programs in 2015–2016, more than 350,000 more individuals would have been screened. In “expanded” states, the percentage of individuals who were up-to-date on CRC screenings increased by 8.8 percent, from 42.3 percent to 51.1 percent. However, researchers noted: “Despite improvements in CRC screening among low-income adults, inequalities in screening remain substantial, even in states that expanded Medicaid.”