Health Sector Spending

We conduct research and identify strategies to bend the health care cost curve.

Health Sector Spending Solutions

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 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 Spending Publications

Featured Reports

August 2023 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

The latest HSEI briefs show that health spending as a percent of GDP has stabilized near 17.5%, health care price growth and economywide inflation recently converged, and the health sector added over 60,000 jobs in July.

August 17, 2023

July 2023 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

The latest HSEI briefs show that personal health care spending growth continues to increase due to higher utilization, price growth and economywide inflation slowed in June, and job growth continued at a pace near its 12-month average.

July 19, 2023

June 2023 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

The latest HSEI briefs show that personal health care spending growth exceeds GDP growth for the third month, health care price and utilization growth continue upward trends, and health care adds 52,000 jobs in May, consistent with the 12-month average.

June 28, 2023

Health Sector Spending Contact

Contact Us

Corwin (Corey) Rhyan

Corwin (Corey) Rhyan - MPP

Research Director, Health Economics and Policy

Areas of Expertise
  • Health Economics
  • Health Policy Analysis
  • Economic Modeling

Corey develops tools that model the societal benefits of improved population health and conducts economic analyses of health sector policies. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis.

George Miller

George Miller - PhD, BSE, MSE

Fellow and Research Team Leader

Areas of Expertise
  • Value of Health
  • Low-Value Care
  • Health Economics

Dr. George Miller is a fellow participating in Altarum's efforts to track national spending, analyze the drivers of spending growth, and quantify a sustainable spending growth rate. Dr. Miller received his BSE, MSE, and PhD degrees in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan, where he subsequently served as an adjunct assistant professor.