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Shifting Views on Same-Sex Marriage, Marijuana and End-of-Life Issues

In this column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman examines three areas of American life where public attitudes have been steadily changing – same sex marriage, marijuana, and end of life issues – and discusses the implications for policy and law.

Shifting Views on Same-Sex Marriage, Marijuana and End-of-Life Issues 

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman examines three areas of American life where public attitudes have been steadily changing – same sex marriage, marijuana, and end of life issues – and discusses the implications for policy and law. All previous columns by Drew…

The Rising Cost of Living Longer: Analysis of Medicare Spending by Age for Beneficiaries in Traditional Medicare

This analysis provides a detailed look at per person Medicare spending on the nearly 30 million beneficiaries over age 65 who are enrolled in the traditional Medicare program. Among the key findings of the report is that per person spending rises with age, peaking at age 96. But this rise is not entirely explained by Medicare spending on end of life care, which declines with age. What Medicare spends money on also changes as beneficiaries age. Hospital care is the largest component of Medicare spending throughout the age curve, up to age 100, but there is less spending on physician services and more on home health, skilled nursing and hospice care as beneficiaries age.

Medicare Spending Peaks at Age 96  

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman discusses the implications of a Kaiser finding: per capita Medicare spending peaks at age 96, and the main reason is not end-of-life care. All previous columns by Drew Altman are available online.

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: September 2015

As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services prepares to finalize a plan to pay physicians for discussing end-of-life treatment options with Medicare patients, this month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that about 8 in 10 of the public favors Medicare and private insurance covering such discussions and about 9 in 10 say doctors should have these discussions with their patients. However, relatively few (17 percent) say they’ve had such discussions with a doctor or other health care provider, while half of the public says they would want to have such a discussion. Overall, opinion of the health care law has remained divided with similar shares reporting favorable views (41 percent) and unfavorable views (45 percent), with opinion starkly divided by party. The Kaiser Health Policy News Index also finds that the 2016 presidential election is the most widely followed news story included in this month’s Index, placing far ahead of health policy news stories.

Views and Experiences with End-of-Life Medical Care in the U.S.

In partnership with The Economist, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a cross-country survey of adults in the United States, Japan, Italy, and Brazil about people’s views and experiences related to aging and end-of-life medical care. This report gives an overview of the U.S. survey results, including ratings of the health care system, personal preferences, conversations and planning related to end-of-life wishes, and experiences with loved ones’ death.

Views and Experiences with End-of-Life Medical Care in Japan, Italy, the United States, and Brazil: A Cross-Country Survey

In partnership with The Economist, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a cross-country survey of adults in Japan, Italy, the United States, and Brazil about people’s views and experiences related to aging and end-of-life medical care. This report summarizes the overall survey results with comparisons across the four countries. Topics covered in the survey include ratings of the health care system, personal preferences, conversations and planning related to end-of-life wishes, and experiences with loved ones’ death.