The IOM, Infographics, and Demogoguery

Today’s Managing Health Care Costs Indicator is $55

The Institute of Medicine has a new report out, “The Healthcare Imperative: Lowering Costs and Improving Outcomes: Workshop Series Summary.”  The book is available for free download.

The report is based on a series of meetings held in 2009, and it’s 852 pages long.  I’ve looked through  the table of contents and glanced at some of the articles.   This looks like this could be the textbook I’ve always wanted for my course “Managing Health Care Costs,” although it’s mighty hefty.

The IOM has produced some infographics to highlight the increase in health care costs, and this has been picked up by Ezra Klein and others.  Infographics can be demagogic, and an egg should not go up in price at the same rate as dramatically improved cancer therapy.  In fact, the current infographic posted at the IOM website doesn’t include this screenshot above - which suggests that if egg prices rose like health care, a dozen would be $55.

Health care isn’t the only thing that has increased its share of my family’s budget.  For instance, we paid under $40 a month for telephony and nothing for television or internet in 1990 – but we now pay over ten times that for 4 cell phone accounts, internet service, a residual land line, and more channels of cable than I care to think about. 

I like the infographics, though – they draw our attention to this important issue today.  

KFF published its findings on the (large) increase in the cost of health care.  More after I absorb this.