In Part 1, we learned that real per capita health spending saw a 25-fold increase the 8 decades starting in 1929 even as real per capita GDP grew only 5-fold during the same period.
In Part 2, we learned that annual excess growth in inflation-adjusted health spending above and beyond general economic growth has been a persistent phenomenon: from 1929 to 2015, the average rate of growth in real per capita health spending (4.1%) was slightly more than double the rate experienced in the rest of the economy (2%).
Today we will examine the consequences of this outsized growth in health spending: health spending–which includes both spending on health services (“health care”) as well as health insurance–absorbs an ever-growing fraction of the economy and government spending (in this post, my term “health spending” is equivalent to the official government term used by actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: National Health Expenditures or NHE: it includes both spending for medical care services/supplies/medications as well as health insurance and the attendant administrative costs borne by health care providers and health insurers; in short, it includes everything).
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