The annual health spending numbers from CMS’ Office of the Actuary (OACT) show that health care spending is increasing as a share of national income. A study by Martin et al. (2016) estimates that health care spending now makes up 17.8% of the U.S. economy, by far and away the largest percentage in the world.
Total nominal US health care spending increased 5.8 percent and reached $3.2 trillion in 2015. On a per person basis, spending on health care increased 5.0 percent, reaching $9,990. The share of gross domestic product devoted to health care spending was 17.8 percent in 2015, up from 17.4 percent in 2014. Coverage expansions that began in 2014 as a result of the Affordable Care Act continued to affect health spending growth in 2015. In that year, the faster growth in total health care spending was primarily due to accelerated growth in spending for private health insurance (growth of 7.2 percent), hospital care (5.6 percent), and physician and clinical services (6.3 percent). Continued strong growth in Medicaid (9.7 percent) and retail prescription drug spending (9.0 percent), albeit at a slower rate than in 2014, contributed to overall health care spending growth in 2015.
- Anne B. Martin, Micah Hartman, Benjamin Washington, Aaron Catlin, and the National Health Expenditure Accounts Team. National Health Spending: Faster Growth In 2015 As Coverage Expands And Utilization Increases. Health Affairs. December 2016 10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1330