The U.S. spent nearly $2.3 trillion on healthcare in 2007, or 16.2% of its gross domestic product, according to projections by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. That’s up from $2.1 trillion, or 16% of the GDP, in 2006.
BCBSA, Chicago, predicts national healthcare expenditures will increase by more than 70% between 2007 and 2015, to almost 20% of the GDP.
Based on data reported by the federal government and private sources, the Blues also note the following cost trends:
o Since 2002, the number of uninsured has increased among all income levels, averaging 15.8% of Americans in 2006, up from 15.3% in 2005. And more than 50% of uninsured Americans do not qualify for public health care programs and cannot afford coverage.
o Consumers are spending more on healthcare as a percentage of their total expenditures, and healthcare spending is increasing across all income levels in both absolute and percentage terms. For instance, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates 2007 health care spending per capita reached $7,498, vs. $7,092 a year earlier. Health expenditures in 2006 were growing at a rate of 6.9%, compared to 3.4% for consumer prices and 6.5% for wages and salaries.
o The leading causes of death are also the most costly. In 2004, over 147 million people had one of the 5 most expensive conditions, costing more than $311 billion. (Those conditions were heart disease, cancer, trauma-related ailments, mental disorders and pulmonary conditions.)