Macro View: What We Spend and What We Get

The performance of our healthcare system can be characterized along three dimensions: cost, quality, and access. In this section, we review each dimension and offer evidence on how the system is performing.


Compared to other sectors of the U.S. economy, health is distinguished by its rapid rate of growth in spending. Health spending is rising faster than income, which raises questions about how we will pay for future healthcare needs. The issue is particularly acute in the United States compared to other countries because we currently spend much more per capita and have one of the highest spending growth rates. In 2011, national health spending is estimated to have grown 3.9 percent and to have reached ...

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