Chronic Disease in California: Facts and Figures

Gerard F. Anderson, Ph.D., and Katherine B. Wilson

Highlighting key trends and statistics ranging from spending to utilization, this report provides important information and perspective on chronic disease care in California and the United States.

October 2006

Forty-two percent of the American population — 125 million people — live with a chronic medical condition. This group already accounts for more than 80% of all health care spending and is expected to increase by 25% over the next two decades.

This 2006 snapshot provides an overview of chronic disease care in California and the nation. It highlights key statistics and trends related to disease prevalence, service utilization, spending, and Medicare beneficiaries.

Four common chronic conditions — hypertension, asthma, heart disease, and diabetes — present a significant public health challenge in California. Hypertension is by far the most prevalent and often leads to other conditions such as stroke and heart disease. Annual health care costs per capita for people with heart disease ($12,900) are more than five times that of the general adult population ($2,400).

Other key findings include:

  • In California, 14 million adults (38%) live with at least one chronic condition and more than half of them have multiple chronic conditions.
  • Nearly 1.5 million children in California have asthma, the most prevalent chronic condition for kids ages 0 to 17. Additionally, the rising number of teenagers with type 2 diabetes is a serious concern.
  • Treating one person with three or four chronic conditions nearly equals the cost of treating three people with only one chronic condition each.

The complete snapshot is available under Document Downloads.