NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Evidence for Significant Compression of Morbidity in the Elderly U.S. Population

David M. Cutler, Kaushik Ghosh, Mary Beth Landrum

Chapter in NBER book Discoveries in the Economics of Aging (2014), David A. Wise, editor (p. 21 - 51)
Conference held May 9-11, 2013
Published in June 2014 by University of Chicago Press
© 2014 by the National Bureau of Economic Research
in NBER Book Series - The Economics of Aging

The question of whether morbidity is being compressed into the period just before death has been at the center of health debates in the United States for some time. Compression of morbidity would lead to longer life but less rapid medical spending increases than if life extension were accompanied by expanding morbidity. Using nearly 20 years of data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, we examine how health is changing by time period until death. We show that functional measures of health are improving, and more so the farther away from death the person is surveyed. Disease rates are relatively constant at all times until death. On net, there is strong evidence for compression of morbidity based on measured disability, but less clear evidence based on disease-free survival.

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This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w19268, Evidence for Significant Compression of Morbidity In the Elderly U.S. Population, David M. Cutler, Kaushik Ghosh, Mary Beth Landrum
Commentary on this chapter: Comment, Daniel McFadden, Wei Xie
Users who downloaded this chapter also downloaded these:
Cutler, Ghosh, and Landrum w19268 Evidence for Significant Compression of Morbidity In the Elderly U.S. Population
Poterba, Venti, and Wise The Nexus of Social Security Benefits, Health, and Wealth at Death
 
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