Milken Institute Study of the Economic Impact of Chronic Diseases Includes AHRQ Data

February 2008

The Milken Institute used data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) in its report, "An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease." The study found that the annual economic impact on the U.S. economy of the seven most common chronic diseases is calculated to be $1.3 trillion. Of this amount, $1.1 trillion represents the cost of lost productivity, a massive economic loss associated with preventable illness.

Ross DeVol, Director, Center for Health Economics at the Milken Institute, says, "The MEPS data was invaluable to the analysis. The cost estimates used in the study would have been guesswork without the MEPS information." The MEPS data was used to estimate the historical direct costs of seven chronic disease categories: cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary conditions, and mental illness.

The report was released as part of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, a national coalition of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts. The coalition is committed to raising awareness about the rising rates of preventable and treatable chronic diseases.

DeVol says, "The report has had a huge impact in the health policy discussion." Released at the National Press Club, the report has been widely used in briefings to the National Governors Association, Congressional Budget Office, California State of the State Conference, and various industry groups, such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Health care advisors from several 2008 presidential campaigns have also used the document to establish how their candidates' health policy platforms would address chronic disease.

The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, independent economic think tank based in Santa Monica, California. Its stated mission is to improve the lives and economic conditions of diverse populations around the world by helping business and public policy leaders identify and implement innovative ideas for creating broad-based prosperity.

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)
Topics(s): Chronic Care, Data
Geographic Location: National
Implementer: Milken Institute
Date: 02/01/2008
Page last reviewed October 2014