July 21, 2020

The Mortality Cost of Expenditures

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This paper updates the mortality cost of expenditures, which has relevance to a broad range of policies, including regulations, wars, and COVID‐19 restrictions. Because changes in income lead to changes in mortality risk, health investments costing more per life saved than a threshold cost‐per‐life‐saved cutoff level are expected to increase mortality risk. This article discusses the mechanisms driving this relationship and provides recent empirical support. The 2019 cost‐per‐life‐saved cutoff level at which expenditures increase mortality risk has a lower bound of $83.1 million and an upper bound of $133.8 million, with a midpoint of $108.5 million.