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$282,000,000 an hour…

…is what we spent on health care in the United States in 2009 ($2.5 trillion in total) says the Office of the Actuary, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in a Health Affairs paper released today. The short piece is required reading for anyone interested in where current/future health care dollars come from and go to. You can read some of the major findings below:

-In 2009 the health share of gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to have increased 1.1% to 17.3%—the largest single-year increase since 1960.

-Slow growth in private market spending (3.0%, $1.5 trillion total) reflects the toll of the recession, while public spending increased markedly (8.7%, 1.2 trillion total) as a result of higher unemployment (9.9% increase in Cobra spending) and Medicaid enrollment (6.5% increase). See below:

-The share of health care dollars paid by government will increase to the 50% milestone by 2012, and 52% by 2019. See below:

-The effects of population growth and the changing age-sex mix are expected to be minor, contributing 0.9% and 0.4%, respectively, to annual growth for 2009–2019.

-By 2020 over 19% of the GDP will be dedicated to health care, about one in five dollars spent in the U.S. totaling $4.5 trillion annually at an annual growth rate of 6.1% (almost 2% faster than inflation).

This trajectory is clearly unsustainable, unless we choose to spend an increasingly larger portion of our economy on health care (without any apparent benefit to actual health outcomes) while also cutting public benefits/raising taxes to keep up….or Congress can pass the health reform bill that begins to address these problems while also providing health security to millions.

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