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Costs for Treating Heart Disease and Cancer Increase Substantially

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: April 18, 2007

The costs of treating heart disease and cancer rose markedly between 2000 and 2004—from $62 billion to $90 billion and from $42 billion to $62 billion, respectively—according to the latest News and Numbers summary from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). In this study, estimated expenditures for 2000 were inflated to 2004 dollars.

AHRQ also found that:

  • During the same period, spending on treatment for mental disorders increased from $38 billion to $52 billion; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease expenditures rose from $40 billion to $49 billion; and spending on trauma disorders increased from $46 billion to $59 billion.
  • Spending on cancer patients increased the most—from an average of $4,577 to $5,727 per person.
  • More patients were treated for these conditions in 2004, as compared with 2000. The greatest increase—24 million to 34 million—occurred for patients with mental disorders.

The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), the Nation's most complete survey of how Americans use and pay for health care, including their health insurance coverage. AHRQ, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to enhance the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care in the United States.

For more information, access MEPS Statistical Brief No. 80: The Five Most Costly Conditions, 2000 and 2004: Estimates for the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population.

For other information, or to speak with the author off the report, please contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of April 2007


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