WONKBLOG | Health care spending grew more slowly in the past two years than it has in over five decades. Even with health care costs growth slowing, the U.S. still devotes 18 percent of its economy to the sector, more than most other industrialized countries. These charts explain how that happened, what drives up health care costs and whether they’ll continue to slow in years to come.
Back in 1970s, the United States looked a lot like other countries when it came to health care spending. In 1980, we spent $1,110 per person on health care, which worked out to about 9.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product. But in the 1980s, health-care costs in the United States began growing much faster than in other countries, rising to $8,402 per person in 2010. That amounts to a total of $2.54 billion spent on health care, or 17.9 percent of our total economy. /Source: Kaiser Family Foundation Buy Photo