No link between higher spending and better care

While the amount of money Medicare spends on chronically ill patients varies greatly from state to state, researchers at Dartmouth Medical School found no correlation between higher spending and better health. In fact, they said patients in states spending the least actually were better off than their counterparts in states spending the most.

The researchers looked at how often Medicare patients went to the hospital in their last six months and the number of times those patients went to the doctor in that time period. They found higher mortality rates in states with the most intense care. Their conclusion: The government could save tens of billions of dollars a year while improving care if it prevented overuse of health care.

"We need to redirect resources away from acute care and invest in infrastructure that can better coordinate and integrate care outside of hospitals — for example, home health and hospice care," the report said.