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Medicare May Be Spending Far Less On End-Of-Life Patients Than We Think
October 19, 2018

“Medicare May Be Spending Far Less On End-Of-Life Patients Than We Think,” according to Forbes. “You probably have heard the statistic: One-quarter of Medicare spending is for patients in the last year of life,” writes Senior Contributor Howard Gleckman. “But what if the entire premise of the argument is wrong?” He goes on to argue that interpretations of the data “flirt with a statistical fallacy: those who end up dying are not the same as those who were sure to die.” We’re bad at predicting death, he says, citing recent tests of machine learning models published in Science. “Only 10 percent of those who had a 50 percent probability of passing away within a year in fact did die. Those considered most likely to die accounted for less than 5 percent of total spending, far less than the conventional estimate of 25 percent.” He concludes by proposing, “We should be looking to how much we spend on sick people, not how much we spend on people who die within some arbitrary time frame. If we are going to cure the medical cost growth problem, we first need to accurately diagnose the problem.”
(Forbes, 10/11, Read the Whole Story at Forbes )

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