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.

We are assisted in these endeavors by our National Advisory Commitee

We also hold an annual symposium on sustainable health spending. View the latest on each below.

Health Sector Spending Publications

Featured Reports

December 2020 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

National health spending continues its slow recovery, hospitals and nursing home care continue to lead the overall change in health care prices, and 2/3 of health care jobs lost have been regained, but remain at 500K below their pre-COVID-19 level.

December 15, 2020

November 2020 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

National health spending recovers to 1.0% higher than September 2019 level, health care price growth has it's slowest year over year growth rate of the past seven months, and jobs are still 3.6% below pre-COVID-19 level.

November 18, 2020

October 2020 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

National health spending recovers to August 2019 level, accelerated health care price growth continues for another month, and the health care job rebound levels off.

October 16, 2020

Health Sector Spending Contact

Contact Us

George Miller

George Miller - PhD, BSE, MSE

Fellow and Research Team Leader, Value in Health Care

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.

Ani Turner

Ani Turner - MA

Senior Economist

Areas of Expertise
  • Health Spending
  • Health Equity
  • Health Workforce

With over 30 years of experience working with government, commercial, and philanthropic clients, Ani leads Altarum research and policy analyses in areas such as health spending and workforce and the economic impacts of investments in improving health and advancing racial equity. Ani holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in applied economics with a concentration in labor economics, both from the University of Michigan.