The National Health Expenditure Accounts (NHEA) produced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report that U.S. health care spending was $2.6 trillion in 2010.
More recent estimates from Altarum confirm that the health sector represents 17.9 percent of our national output. The data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the health sector continued to create jobs throughout the recession and recovery and now accounts for nearly one in nine jobs.
For the first time, we link the workforce by occupation to national spending on health care services by aligning data sets from the BLS and Bureau of Economic Analysis with the NHEA. We find $1 trillion, or 57 percent of the $1.78 trillion spent on personal health care services, went to health sector labor.
Characterizing the health sector workforce and its contribution to health expenditures informs the potential for spending reductions and the implications of such reductions on employment.