The Affordable Care Act is mostly known for its mandate to expand health insurance to 30 million more Americans within a decade. But much of the law’s 905 pages are dedicated to an effort that’s arguably more ambitious: the overhaul of the U.S. business model for medicine. These charts look at how we pay for health care now, how that's gone wrong and what the health-care law attempts to change about that.
"The rapid growth of health expenditures is one of the most important economic trends in the United States in the post–World War II era," health care economist Victor Fuchs wrote recently in the New England Journal of Medicine. In 1950, 4.6 percent of the American economy was devoted to health care. Today, that number stands at 17.9 percent, or $2.6 trillion. Fuchs attributes much of that growth to the rise of medical technology and "increased specialization that comes along with it." New England Journal of Medicine Buy Photo