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

September 2021 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

National health spending growth remains modest, health sector price growth slows for most categories, and health care employment falls slightly—remaining 3.1% below February 2020.

September 17, 2021

August 2021 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

National health spending continues its gradual recovery; health sector price inflation remains mostly under control; and hospital and ambulatory care jobs grow while residential care jobs continue decline.

August 18, 2021

July 2021 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

GDP growth is outpacing national health spending growth; health sector price growth falls below 2.0% amid economywide records; and health employment stands 25K below December 2020 halfway through 2021.

July 22, 2021

Health Sector Spending Contact

Contact Us

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.

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.