POLICY: Overview of HC system spending

The California Healthcare Foundation is out with more great reference work. This one is an overview of the whole health care system. They call it Health Care Costs 101 and it’s a nice summary of some voluminous work done at CMS by Katherine Levit’s team.

There’s an easy to digest one page system overview PDF as well as a much larger version here.

Perhaps one of the most interesting views of what we already know is what share of which payers’ expenditure goes on what.

For consumers, “Out of Pocket” expenditure on prescription drugs is 23% of all spending, dental/other professional 21% and other (such as nursing homes) is 18%. For Private Insurance the numbers are hospitals 30%, physician/clinical 30% and Rx 14%. For Medicare hospital care is 56%, physician/clinical Services 26% and nursing Home/Home Health 9%

So as you’d expect the relatively low amount overall paid out of pocket by consumers is concentrated on drugs (and is concentrated in a relatively few number of consumers by the way) with the political consequences we’ve been seeing in the past few years. Whereas private insurers are concerned mostly with hospitals and doctors, and Medicare of course is still fixated on hospitals 20 years after the introduction of DRGs.

All food for thought when you’re considering who cares about what.

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