Health Care Costs: A Primer

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Publication number 7670, 8/8/2007

This primer on health care costs examines the rapid growth in the nation’s health care costs since 1970, when the average growth in health spending exceeded the growth of the economy as a whole by an average of 2.5 percentage points. It also examines the impact of health care costs on families, with insurance premiums rising 87% between 2000 and 2006, more than four times the growth in wages.

The primer describes the types and sources of health care spending and the demographic factors associated with higher or lower levels of spending. It also discusses other factors that influence health care spending growth, including the use of new medical technology, population changes, and changes in disease prevalence.

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