What's New and Noteworthy


This is a follow up to the January 14, 2004 newsletter article "US Pays the most for Health Care".

A report released by the United States Government Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said health care spending in the United States rose to $1.6 trillion accounting for 15% of the nations gross domestic product or GDP. The gross domestic product is the total value of goods and services produced in the country.

Health care spending grew at a rate of 9.3% in 2002. It grew at a rate substantially higher than the overall economy of the country.

Health expenditures for each person in the country have crashed through the $5000 barrier and have totaled $5444 for the year 2002.

A previous study had indicated the expenditure was $4631 on each person in the United States.

Prescription drug cost led the increase in personal health care expenditures.

The spending breakdown was as follows:

  • Private health insurance covered $549.6 billion.
  • Out of pocket payments accounted for $200.5 billion.
  • Medicare expenditures were $267 billion.
  • Medicaid programs spent $249 billion.

Spending for physician's services comprised only 20% of the United States total health care expenditure.