Health Care Spending Charts That Make You Stop and Think

Posted on December 3, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If you don’t regularly read the Health Populi blog written by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, then you’re really missing out on some great insights into what’s happening with the economics of healthcare. I’m not sure if I’d just missed some of her writings previously, or if she’s really been writing a lot more lately but I regularly find myself chewing on the healthcare economic data she presents.

Today’s post about US National Healthcare Spending is a great example. You can go and read all the insights she offers, but the two charts she shares really stood out to me.

The first chart shows the growth in per capital health care expenditure from 2004-2014.
National Health Care Costs in 2014 - Health Affairs

That’s a massive jump from the drop in health care costs we saw in 2013 to the 5.3% increase in healthcare costs in 2014. It seems like most of the increase in cost comes from all of the newly covered ACA (Obamacare) patients. However, this chart also tells an interesting story about spending on drugs:
Prescription Drug Spending 2010 - 2014

We’re going to have to carefully watch these trends over time. Both of them are quite scary to me. What do you think of these charts?