This trend is continuing: In 2011, patient share of spending fell to the lowest level ever recorded. This is despite a movement in the insurance industry toward plans with higher deductibles. It's near certain that the Affordable Care Act will also put downward pressure on patients' share of spending, as it extends insurance coverage to 30 million Americans.
All this being said, consumers probably don't notice that their own share of health care spending has been dropping. That's because of the cost of health care has been growing so quickly: Even as consumers foot a smaller part of the overall health care bill, they're still seeing costs go up fast enough to wipe out a decade's worth of wage growth. As health care prices soar, consumers who have seen their share of the spending drop can also be seeing their overall bills go up.