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EBRI FAQ About Benefits | Health Question 1

What has America spent on health care in recent years?

For decades national health spending has consumed a growing percentage of America's gross domestic product, reaching a record 16.0 percent of GDP in 2006. In 1980, it was 9.1 percent. With the exception of a few years in the late 1990s, health spending has grown significantly faster than other spending, increasing at an average annual rate of 12.9 percent during the 1970s and 11.0 percent in the 1980s. It grew by 6.7 percent in 2006 and by 6.5 percent the prior year. While it is difficult to precisely allocate responsibility for the increases, an aging population, the introduction of new technologies that are widely popular, very expensive or both and the inherent labor intensity of medical services have all played a role.

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