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've also held an annual symposium on sustainable health spending. View the latest on each below.