A Matter of Agency
Heart disease, cancer, trauma-related disorders, mental disorders, and asthma were the five costliest conditions in both 1996 and 2006, reported the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in July. Mental disorders and trauma-related disorders incurred the largest increase in expenditures (from $35 billion to $58 billion) during this 10-year period. Furthermore, the number of people with expenses for mental disorders nearly doubled from 19 million to 36 million. Mental disorders also topped the list for out-of-pocket expenses for both years. Cancer and heart disease were associated with the highest mean expenditures per person for both years.