$4.3T US healthcare spend represents 18.3% of GDP: 8 notes

U.S. health care spending increased 2.7 percent in 2021, reaching $4.3 trillion or $12,914 per person, according to CMS.

Eight things to now:

1. That $4.3 trillion represents 18.3 percent of the country's gross domestic product, by far the highest share of major economies, according to Bloomberg. By comparison, the U.K., Germany, Canada, Japan and Australia all spend between 10 percent and 12 percent of GDP on healthcare.

2. If the U.S. healthcare spend was around the same percentage of GDP as that of other major economies, it could save about $1.5 trillion a year. 

3. Below is the U.S. national healthcare expenditure as a percentage of GDP over the last 10 years, according to data from Statista:

2021: $4.3 trillion (18.3 percent)
2020: $4.1 trillion (19.7 percent)
2019: $3.8 trillion (17.6 percent)
2018: $3.6 trillion (17.6 percent)
2017: $3.5 trillion (17.7 percent)
2016: $3.3 trillion (17.7 percent)
2015: $3.3 trillion (17.4 percent)
2014: $3 trillion (17.1 percent)
2013: $2.9 trillion (17 percent)
2012: $2.8 trillion (17.1 percent)

4. The 2.7 percent growth rate to $4.3 trillion in 2021 was markedly slower than the 10.3 percent spike to $4.1 trillion in 2020. This was driven by a 3.5 percent drop in federal healthcare expenditures that followed the strong 2020 growth which occurred in response to the pandemic, according to CMS. This more than offset the effect of greater use of healthcare goods and services and increased insurance coverage in 2021.

5. In 2021, spending for hospital care increased 4.4 percent to $1.3 trillion, but this was a slower growth than the 6.2 percent experienced in 2020. The slower growth reflected a significant decrease in funding from federal programs, including COVID-19 relief.

6. Medicare spending jumped 8.4 percent to $900.8 billion in 2021 due to a combination of a 3.9-percent rise in spending for fee-for-service expenditures (accounting for 54 percent of total Medicare expenditures) and a 14.1 percent increase in Medicare private health plan spending, according to CMS. 

7. Medicaid spending rose 9.2 percent to $734billion in 2021, similar to the 9.3 percent growth in 2020. Medicaid enrollment grew faster in 2021, increasing 11.2 percent following growth of 4.8 percent in 2020. CMS said this growth was down to the continuous enrollment requirement of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020.

8. Federal government spending declined 3.5 percent in 2021 compared to growth of 36.8 percent in 2020. The decline was driven by a reduction in federal COVID-19 funding as well as a decrease in federal public health expenditures and slower growth in the federal portion of Medicaid payments.

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