WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Nov 12, 2013) - New research published in the November 13 issue of JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) examines publicly available data from 1980 through 2011 and identifies the factors that have contributed to the extraordinary growth of the U.S. health care sector since 1980, the sources of spending, and why U.S. health care is trailing that of other developed countries on outcomes improvement. 

The article was written by a joint research team of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the Alerion Institute, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and the University of Rochester.

"It would be a misnomer to call U.S. health care a system," said David Matheson, a BCG senior advisor and former global leader of BCG's Health Care practice, who coauthored the article. "It is neither centrally managed nor a true market, and we have aspects of the deficiencies of both."

"It is not surprising," Matheson added, "that this organizational vacuum heightens political influence. The current, polarizing tenor of discussion around the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act impedes clear analysis of the actual performance of health care in the U.S. and the factors driving costs, which have tripled over the past two decades but whose growth has sharply decelerated in recent years. It is important to identify both positive and negative trends and understand the underlying economic and technological dynamics driving changes in U.S. health care over time."

"One of the big structural changes we are seeing is an increased rate of consolidation among health care players," noted David Sadoff, a Houston-based BCG partner who leads the firm's provider practice in North America and is a coauthor of the article. "In some sectors, this is about traditional scale, but in others, it's about controlling more of the care delivery to drive better outcomes and value for patients."

"Our intent with this research," Sadoff continued, "is to foster a national conversation -- guided by the best data and information available. We want executives and policy makers to have a clear understanding of the choices, tradeoffs, and expectations for all players."

Findings from the article are being presented today at a media briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The article, "The Anatomy of Health Care in the United States," is available at the JAMA website.

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Madeleine Desmond at +212-445-8256 or desmond.madeleine@bcg.com.

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