Health Care Costs: A Primer
This primer on health care spending in the United States reviews the growth in health care spending since 1970 and the impact of health care costs on families and employers. The share of the economy devoted to health care increased from 7.2 percent in 1970 to 17.9 percent in 2009 and 2010. Many policy experts attribute a large portion of health care spending increases to the advancement and spread of medical technology. The primer also reviews the contributors to health care costs and some proposed approaches for addressing these rising costs, including provisions of the 2010 health reform law aimed at making health coverage more affordable and available, while attempting to contain health care spending.