EBRI FAQ About Benefits | Health Question 1

FAQs About Benefits—Health Spending and Insurance Issues

What has America spent on health care in recent years?

For decades national health spending has consumed a growing percentage of America's gross domestic product, reaching a record 17.6 percent of GDP in 2009. In 1980, it was 9.1 percent. With the exception of a few years in the late 1990s, health spending has grown significantly faster than other spending, increasing at an average annual rate of 12.9 percent during the 1970s and 11.0 percent in the 1980s. Since 2000, the growth in health care spending has slowed from 7.0 percent in 2000 to 4.0 percent in 2009. While it is difficult to precisely allocate responsibility for the increases, an aging population, the introduction of new technologies that are widely popular, very expensive or both and the inherent labor intensity of medical services have all played a role.

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