The Health Spending Share of GDP Reaches 18 Percent

ANN ARBOR, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The health care spending share of GDP reached 18 percent in June 2009 and is now at 18.1 percent according to the August Health Sector Economic Indicators briefs released by Altarum Institute’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending. This finding is attributable to newly-released government data showing that the recession was even worse than first depicted and that GDP has not returned to its pre-recession peak. Health care spending and prices continued their moderate growth in June and employment sharply rebounded in July after two slow months.

The complete set of briefs, providing monthly data on health care spending, prices, and employment, can be viewed at

“Revised data show that the health spending share of GDP grew from 16.3 percent to 18.0 percent from the start of the recession in December 2007 to its end in June 2009,” said the Center’s director, Dr. Charles Roehrig. “Hitting 18 percent of GDP for the first time is clearly noteworthy, especially when roughly half of health spending is financed by the government. However, weak economic growth rather than high health spending growth is the main culprit for the increase.”

Roehrig also noted the dilemma facing policymakers as they continue to search for new ways to cut federal spending. “Health care spending is a two-edged sword,” he said. “Clearly it is a very big target. But, as our employment brief also shows, health spending continues to play a significant stabilizing role – creating sizeable health sector employment gains in an economy which is producing too few jobs.”

Altarum’s Health Sector Economic Indicators briefs offer an innovative and timely analysis of health sector employment, spending and prices. The three briefs (employment, spending, and prices) are now released simultaneously each month to provide a more integrated analysis of these data. To view these briefs, visit

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Altarum Institute ( integrates objective research and client-centered consulting skills to deliver comprehensive, systems-based solutions that improve health and health care. Altarum employs more than 400 individuals and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., with additional offices in the Washington, D.C., area; Sacramento, Calif.; Atlanta, Ga.; Portland, Maine; and San Antonio, Texas.


for Altarum Institute
Peter Mirijanian, 202-262-6333
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Michigan

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  AIDS  Hospitals  Public Policy/Government  Healthcare Reform  Other Health  Public Policy  Professional Services  Insurance  Managed Care