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

August 2020 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

This month's analysis shows that national health spending continued to rebound in June, and health care regained half of jobs lost in spring, although the pace of recovery has slowed. 

August 14, 2020

July 2020 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

This month’s Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs show a rebound in health care spending and jobs, and varied price effects from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

July 17, 2020

June 2020 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs

​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.

June 12, 2020

Health Sector Spending Contact

Contact Us

Paul Hughes-Cromwick

Paul Hughes-Cromwick - MA

Co-Director of Sustainable Health Spending Strategies

Areas of Expertise
  • Health Sector Spending
  • Health Policy Analysis

For over 35 years, Paul Hughes-Cromwick has been involved in health care economic and policy analyses including economic forecasting and health sector economic indicators. Paul leads Altarum’s monthly series of timely briefs covering national health spending, employment, prices and health care utilization. Paul has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree from Clark University.

Ani Turner

Ani Turner - MA

Co-Director of Sustainable Health Spending Strategies

Areas of Expertise
  • Health Sector Spending
  • Health Equity

With over 25 years of experience working with both government and commercial sector clients, Ani leads Altarum's forecasting work on areas such as health sector spending and employment, as well as on studies focusing on societal impacts of health disparities and equity. Ani holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in applied economics with a concentration in labor economics, both from the University of Michigan.