Has responsibility for paying medical bills shifted over time?
Since 1960, the percentage of the nation's medical bills paid directly by individuals has declined, while the share paid by the government and private insurance has grown. In 1960, individuals were paying nearly half (48.7 percent) of the nation's health care bill. By 2005, this figure is estimated to have declined to 12.5 percent and projected to decline to 10.9 by 2017. Government's spending on health care (both federal and state and local) increased over the same period from 24.5 percent (in 1960) to 45.4 percent (in 2006). By 2017, government's share of health care spending is projected to be 48.6 percent.