Health Care Costs
Public funds account for more than half of U.S. health care spending, with seniors and people in poor physical or mental health accounting for disproportionate shares of total medical spending, researchers report in a study in Health Affairs.
In 2002, five times more public funding went to seniors than children eligible for public health care programs, while public funds accounted for 80% of health care spending for those in poor physical or mental health, according to the authors.
The study found that:
- About 41% of health care spending by people enrolled in private health insurance coverage was covered by public funds, partly through tax incentives; and
- About 46% of total health care spending on people whose incomes exceed 400% of the federal poverty level came from public money.
The authors also found racial and ethnic disparities in health care spending (Selden/Sing, Health Affairs, 7/29). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.