Study: Longer life is silver lining on healthcare cost rise

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Americans are living longer than ever, and the rise in healthcare costs is partly responsible, a new study finds.

U.S. residents born in 1960 can expect to live 70 years. That compares with a 77-year life expectancy for those born in 2000, according to a report published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study attributes about 3.5% of the years of increased life expectancy to healthcare improvements.

The conclusions offer a rare positive interpretation of the healthcare cost increases over the years. Such data largely justify the spending, according to Harvard University health economist David Cutler. The cost of each year of increased life expectancy increased from $7,400 in the 1970s to $36,300 in the 1990s, the study said.
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