Bioethics Blogs

End-of-Life Healthcare Spending Grows Faster for Pets than Humans

A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research asks “Is American Pet Health Care (Also) Uniquely Inefficient?”

The abstract:  “We document four similarities between American human healthcare and American pet care: (i) rapid growth in spending as a share of GDP over the last two decades; (ii) strong income-spending gradient; (iii) rapid growth in the employment of healthcare providers; and (iv) similar propensity for high spending at the end of life. We speculate about possible implications of these similar patterns in two sectors that share many common features but differ markedly in institutional features, such as the prevalence of insurance and of public sector involvement.”

Among other findings:  In the last month of life, spending on the humans’ health care was more than twice what it was during a “regular” month.  For dogs, it was nearly 3.5 times higher.  (HT: Washington Post)

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