You'll never guess how often patients are misdiagnosed, how much America spends per capita on healthcare, or how many Americans go without dental insurance.
"The whole issue of health care is very complicated. There have been seven presidents who've tried to get healthcare reform passed." -- Valerie Jarrett
"Now, I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject ... Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated." -- Donald Trump
No matter who you are, the more you learn about health care, the more impressed you'll be with how complicated -- and interesting -- it is. Here are some healthcare stats that should surprise and impress you.
$3.2 trillion: The United States spends a whopping sum on health care. The total U.S. healthcare expenditure in 2015 was $3.2 trillion, per the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. At that level, it accounted for 17.8% of our gross domestic product (GDP).
$9,990: Putting the figure above into context, the U.S. spent about $9,990 per person on health care, as of 2015, per the Centers for Disease Control. A National Public Radio report put that in perspective, noting that as of 2014, Somalia spent $33 per person on health care, and Japan, with a longer life expectancy for its citizens than the U.S. (83.1 years vs. 79.1 years), spent just $3,816 per person.
20%: In 2015, Medicare spending totaled $646 billion, making up about a fifth of our total national health care spending. (Medicaid, at $545 billion, made up another 17%.)
19.8%: You might think that most of our health care spending goes toward physician services, but you're wrong -- they get about 20%. Hospitals get the biggest chunk. Here's how 2015's national health care spending breaks out:
Health care spending category
Percent of national health care spending, 2015
Physician and clinical services
Retail outlet sales of medical products
Nursing care facilities and continuing care retirement communities
9%: Between 2014 and 2015, spending on prescription drugs grew by 9% to $325 billion. That's an alarmingly fast growth rate, but it's slower than the 12% growth rate from the year before.
28.9%: Of our national health care spending, the federal government shouldered 28.9% of the total amount, while households forked over 27.7% and private businesses 19.9%.
5,564: There were recently 5,564 registered hospitals in the U.S., per the American Hospital Association. Some 2,845 of them were non-profit community hospitals, while 1,034 were for-profit (i.e. investor-owned) community hospitals.
897,961: There were recently nearly 900,000 staffed beds in U.S. registered hospitals, 87% of which were in community hospitals.
923,308: There were recently 923,308 professionally active physicians in America, per the Kaiser Family Foundation. About half of them, 48%, were primary care physicians, and the others specialists. About a third of American physicians are women.
7,300 to 43,100: The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that by 2030 there will be a shortage of primary care physicians -- with the shortfall between 7,300 and 43,100. The estimated shortfall for specialists is more severe, between 33,500 and 61,800. What's going on? Well, some factors are that many current physicians are expected to retire in the coming years, and our aging population will be driving demand for doctors.
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