Health Reform and the Economy by the Numbers
SOURCE: AP/Lynne Sladky
Health care spending is out of control. Spending on health care in 2008 made up 17 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, up from just 6 percent in 1965. And national health care spending is expected to account for 25 percent of our GDP by 2025. Without reform, federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid alone will exceed the entire defense budget by 2019. Health care spending will be higher than total spending on all domestic discretionary programs by that year, and it will even surpass spending on Social Security.
Health care reform will not only make care available to more Americans; it stands to save taxpayers and the government billions of dollars while providing an infusion of jobs into the economy.
Reforming the way health care is delivered will translate into real savings and better care.
$2 trillion: Amount we can save over the next 10 years by promoting cost-saving innovations and reducing waste and inefficiencies.
$196 billion: Administrative savings associated with technology and payment reform.
$299 billion: Estimated savings as a result of increased use of preventative care, better management of chronic illness, and reduction in medical errors leading to fewer and less expensive acute care episodes.
Medicare reform, one major component of the health care reform bills now being considered in Congress, could save billions over the next 10 years.
14 percent: The amount by which Medicare overpays private insurers in the Medicare Advantage program. Taxpayers will save an estimated $175 billion over the next 10 years by reducing Medicare overpayments to private insurers.
$17.4 billion: The estimated cost of unplanned rehospitalizations of Medicare beneficiaries. Approximately one-fifth of Medicare beneficiaries who had been discharged from a hospital are unexpectedly readmitted within 30 days.
$12 billion: Estimated savings to taxpayers over the next 10 years by creating incentives tied to the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries.
$38 billion: Estimated Medicare savings over the next 10 years by realigning Medicare’s payments to teaching hospitals to track actual costs of physician training and to encourage primary care training. Medicare pays teaching hospitals more than twice the cost of indirect expenses incurred from training physicians attributable to Medicare patients.
Health care reform translates into new jobs for Americans who badly need them.
400,000: Number of jobs that could be created per year if health care reform is enacted that reduces the growth of insurance premiums.
120,000: Number of jobs added to the economy for every 10 percent reduction in excess health care cost growth.
Our current health care system is wasteful and inefficient, and many commonly used procedures rack up costs without providing any benefit to the sick and injured.
$800 billion: How much waste and inefficiencies in our health care system cost us each year.
One-third or more: The estimated number of treatments and procedures performed in the United States that have no proven benefits.
Between $18 billion and $33 billion: How much the overuse of radiology services costs Americans each year.
$550 million: How much the overprescription of antibiotics costs the nation each year.
$700 million: How much we could save each year by eliminating unnecessary heart stents.
More than $2 billion: How much we spend each year on arthroscopic knee surgery for people with osteoarthritis—a surgery we now know does not help these individuals.
Up to 70 percent: Percentage of hysterectomies performed that have been judged as inappropriate by experts.
- A Dark Picture of America Without Health Reform by Karen Davenport
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, health care, gun-violence prevention)
202.741.6285 or email@example.com
Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues)
202.481.7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)
202.478.6350 or email@example.com
Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, poverty, Legal Progress)
202.741.6277 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Tanya Arditi (Spanish language and ethnic media)
202.741.6258 or email@example.com
TV: Lindsay Hamilton
202.483.2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio: Madeline Meth
202.741.6277 or email@example.com
Web: Andrea Peterson
202.481.8119 or firstname.lastname@example.org