Health Care Act

Heart attacks, high BP top tally of America’s costliest ills

Treatment of high blood pressure and other circulatory ailments costs $234 billion a year, a government analysis shows.
Treatment of high blood pressure and other circulatory ailments costs $234 billion a year, a government analysis shows. AP

Circulatory problems such as heart attacks and high blood pressure take a bigger bite of America’s health-care budget than cancer and injuries combined, a new government tally shows.

“The Bureau of Economic Analysis has made a real contribution to making health spending more comprehensible by analyzing health spending and price growth by common diseases and diagnoses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even the common cold. Doing that makes the problem of health-care costs much more understandable for everyone, and it can help direct the attention of policymakers, health professionals, and health-care institutions to where health-care dollars are going,” writes Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The report analyzed a decade’s worth of spending by disease and diagnosis. Circulatory problems topped the list at $234 billion in 2010. Next was “general preventive care and general medical care for everyday problems such as the common cold or flu” at $207 billion, Altman reports. Treatment for colds, sore throats and other common conditions was the fastest-growing spending category over the 10-year study period.

Helms: 704-358-5033;

Twitter: @anndosshelms. This article is done in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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