Changing National Health Expenditures, Essay Example

The global recession has greatly diminished the capacity for economic growth and the residual effects of the massive job losses suffered has been the loss of benefits, such as health care coverage.  Without employment, millions of people are unable to afford the costs of health care coverage and this has resulted in additional applications for government assistance through programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  As a result, “U.S. health care expenditures have risen rapidly in the last six years, imposing increasing stress on families, businesses, and public budgets” and this is causing a deficit since spending on health care costs is rising faster than the employee earnings and the economy (Davis et al., 2007).  With the national health expenditure (NHE) for health care estimated at $2.5 trillion for 2009 and projected to increase to $4.5 trillion by 2019, increasing from 17.3% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to a whopping 19.3% by 2019 (National, 2011).  The staggering figure for 2009 NHE includes 44.3% of hospital care, 27.9% of physician care, 60.0% of home health care, 29.0% of drugs and nondurable medical equipment, and 43.4% of home care costs for American citizens (Barton, 2010).

As the economy continues to worsen and more Americans are laid off, reliance on government programs will also increase.  This has spurned the predictions of continued growth in NHE for the near future.  Moreover, specific growth is expected in areas like prescription drug expenditures due to technology, increased number of elderly, defensive medicine, and system emphasis of curative rather than preventive health services increases (Barton, 2010).  The residual effects of this lagging economy on the healthcare system as well as in other areas will not began to improve until the millions of unemployed find jobs with health benefits to help cover the costs of their care.



Barton, P.L. (2010). Understanding the U. S. Health services system fourth edition. Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.

Davis, K. et al. (2007, January). Slowing the growth of U.S. health care expenditures: What are the options? Commission on a High Performance Health System, The Commonwealth Fund.

National Health Expenditure Projections 2009-2019. (2011, September 21). Retrieved from