US Health Care Spending: Who Pays?

Josh Cothran, Georgia Institute of Technology

In the past 50 years, the way health care is financed has changed, with private payers and public insurance paying for more care. This interactive graphic shows who paid for the nation's health care and how much it cost.

December 2015

Over the past five decades, there have been major shifts in how we pay for hospital care, physician services, long-term care, prescription drugs, and other services and products. Fifty years ago, Medicare and Medicaid did not yet exist, and about half of hospital care was not covered by insurance. In 1960, almost 100% of the spending on prescription drugs came out of the consumer's pocket, but by 2014, out-of-pocket spending was down to 15%. This interactive graphic uses data from the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to show national spending trends from 1960 to 2014 for health care by payer. (Figures presented refer to personal health care, which, as defined by CMS, includes goods and services such as hospital care and eyeglasses, but excludes administration, public health activity, and investment.)

The data visualization below is a companion to Health Care Costs 101, part of CHCF's California Health Care Almanac.

Note: Data for this visualization were updated December 2015 with 2014 data.