New Report on U.S. Health Care Spending

May 21, 2021
Policy Snapshot

A new report from the American Medical Association (AMA) provides a detailed look at the official U.S. health care spending estimates through 2019 using data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). It also presents preliminary estimates of 2020 health spending from Altarum, a private research organization that focuses on health policy.

  • Health spending was 17.7% of GDP in 2019 and increased by 4.6% to $3.8 trillion ($11,582 per capita)
  • Spending in hospital care (6.2%) and prescription drugs (5.7%) grew faster than physician services (4.2%) in 2019
  • In 2019, spending growth in Medicare (6.7%) and out-of-pocket payments (4.6%) reached their highest rates in the last decade, while private health insurance (3.7%) and Medicaid (2.9%) were on a downswing
  • The federal government financed the largest share of health spending (29.0%) in 2019 as it has since 2015; households were the second largest financiers (28.4%)
  • Preliminary estimates suggest an unprecedented decline in 2020 national health spending driven by decreases in spending for most personal health expenditure categories (including a 7.0% decline in hospital care spending and 4.2% decline in physician and clinical services spending)