Achieving Sustainable Health Spending
Health spending has grown faster than the economy for decades, resulting in growth of the health care share of national economic output (gross domestic product (GDP)) from about 7 percent in 1970 to approximately 18 percent today. This inexorable increase in health care spending is a problem for individuals, families, businesses, government, and the overall economic health of the country. This is particularly evident when viewing federal, state, and local government budgets. About half of health care spending is publicly financed, mostly through Medicare and Medicaid, and the current rate of growth for these programs is not sustainable as it crowds out other priorities, such as infrastructure needs or education. A sustainable solution requires a long-term reduction in the health spending growth rate relative to GDP or “bending the health care cost curve.”
To identify trends and track progress toward sustainable growth, we regularly issue the following two reports:
Health Sector Economic Indicators (HSEI). These monthly briefs analyze the most recent data available on health sector employment, spending, prices, and utilization—helping to fill gaps in the official government data.
Health Sector Trend Reports. These quarterly reports build on the HSEI briefs by incorporating just-released data from the US Census Bureau’s Quarterly Services Survey (QSS), as reflected in the Bureau of Economic Analysis spending data that are a primary source for our HSEI spending estimates. The body of the report focuses on data and trends through the most recent quarter, while the longer appendix looks at trends in a broader historical context.
We are assisted in these endevours by our National Advisory Committee.
We also hold an annual symposium on sustainable health spending. View the latest on each below.