Doom, meet gloom: The nation's health care tab is on track to hit $4.6 trillion in 2020, accounting for about $1 of every $5 in the economy, government number crunchers estimate in a report out today. How much does that work out to per person? Including government and private money, health care spending in 2020 will average $13,710 for every man, woman, and child, says Medicare's Office of the Actuary. By comparison, 2011 health care spending is projected to top $2.7 trillion, or about $8,650 per capita, roughly $1 of $6 in the economy.
The analysis found that President Obama's health care overhaul would only be a modest contributor to growing costs—the average yearly growth in health care spending between 2010 and 2020 will only be 0.1 percentage point higher than without his overhaul—even though an additional 30 million people who would be otherwise uninsured stand to gain coverage. The main reasons that health care spending keeps growing faster than the economy are the high cost of medical innovations and an aging society that consumes increasing levels of service. Separately, another new report finds that the United States continues to spend far more on health care than other economically developed countries.