- A total of 155 health conditions accounted for the $30.1 trillion the U.S. healthcare system spent on personal healthcare from 1996 to 2013, and those with the most spending varied by age, sex, type of care, and year, according to a new study published in JAMA.
- In 2013, diabetes noted the most healthcare spending ($101.4 billion), followed by ischemic heart disease ($88.1 billion), and low back and neck pain ($87.6 billion).
- Out of all diabetes spending during 2013, 57.6% was spent on pharmaceuticals and 23.5% was spent on ambulatory care.
Healthcare spending has continued to dramatically increase and the Congressional Budget Office reported last year the growth was a highly significant contributor to the first shortfall in the annual budget since 2009.
A recent CMS report shows healthcare spending grew 5.8% in 2015, totaling $3.2 trillion, and hospital care had the largest share (32%.) This spending amounted to 17.8% of the U.S. economy, compared to 17.4% in 2014. The agency attributes the spending increase to the spike in the number of Americans with health insurance coverage thanks to the ACA.
The findings can be used to "for efforts to control U.S. healthcare spending," the JAMA researchers concluded.
"Data like this continues to draw attention to the fact a lot of these proposals being discussed about controlling health-care costs really don’t address the underlying issue, which is rising disease prevalence," Ken Thorpe, a health policy professor at Emory University who has conducted similar research to that in the JAMA report, told The Washington Post. "You see this rise in chronic disease spending – much of it is potentially preventable."
Low back and neck pain had the third highest spending in 2013, with an estimated $87.6 billion. However, as noted by the Post, in the researcher's list of the 20 conditions that had the most public health expenditures low back and neck pain ranked at 16, with only $140 million.
Heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S., was not even on the list for public health spending conditions.
The other seven in the top ten aggregated conditions accounting for the most healthcare spending in 2013 were:
- Risk factors for hypertension: $83.9 billion
- Injuries from falls: $76.3 billion
- Depressive disorders: $71.1 billion
- Oral disorders: $66.4 billion
- Sense organ diseases: $59 billion
- Skin-related diseases: $55.7 billion
- Pregnancy and postpartum care: $55.6 billion