Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Center for Health Policy/Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research Stanford University


Consequences of health trends and medical innovation for the future elderly

Journal Article

Goldman, D.P., Shang, B., Jay Bhattacharya, Alan M. Garber, Hurd, M., Joyce, G. F., Lakdawalla DN, Panis C, Shekelle PG

Published by
Health Affairs (Project Hope), Vol. 24 Suppl 2, page(s) W5R5-17


Recent innovations in biomedicine seem poised to revolutionize medical practice. At the same time, disease and disability are increasing among younger populations. This paper considers how these confluent trends will affect the elderly's health status and health care spending over the next thirty years. Because healthier people live longer, cumulative Medicare spending varies little with a beneficiary's disease and disability status upon entering Medicare. On the other hand, ten of the most promising medical technologies are forecast to increase spending greatly. It is unlikely that a "silver bullet" will emerge to both improve health and dramatically reduce medical spending.