Health Costs Could Double by 2011

A detailed study reported by Health and Human Services centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services said health costs are expected to grow at a rate of 7.3 percent annually between now and 2011. The report was published on March 12th, 2002 in the Journal Health Affairs, and predicts that by 2011, Americans are expected to spend $9,216 per person on health care. In the year 2000, health care spending in America averaged $4,637 per person, which is by far the highest in the world. This number represented 13.2 percent of the United States gross domestic product, again the highest in the world. According to the report, if the trend continues, the US will be spending 17% of the nation’s gross domestic product on health care.

The amount of money is staggering. In the year 2000 the total US spending on health care was $1.3 trillion. The study predicts that that number will balloon up to 2.8 trillion by 2011. The incredible increase is being attributed to the increased bargaining power of hospitals and health providers for higher insurance payments, and the aging of baby boomers, who increasingly want high-tech tests and treatments, as well as higher-priced drugs they see advertised on television.

Chiropractic accounts for only a relatively small financial slice of this expensive pie. In this study they also tracked expenditures for what they termed, “Other Professional Services”. These included professional services provided by private-duty nurses, chiropractors, podiatrists, optometrists, and physical, occupational and speech therapists, among others. Even though previous studies suggest that chiropractors see between 11 and 15% of the US population, the total amount spent in the year 2000 from a possible total of 1.3 trillion was only, 41.2 billion or less than 3.2% of the total amount. And in addition to chiropractic, this 3.2% includes all the “Other Professional Services” included in the study. With the high numbers of people using chiropractic care, it makes Chiropractic a very affordable component in an otherwise out-of-control health care expense.

As mentioned, the study showed that in the year 2000 the average health care costs per person were $4,637, and expected to rise to $9,216 by the year 2011. In comparison, when you then consider the category of “Other Professional Services”, which includes chiropractic, the estimated spending for 2000 was $147 per person, and increasing to $295 by 2010. These figures again put the percent that each person spends on services including chiropractic at a steady 3.2% of total per person expenses for health care per year.

Although not stated in the study, one of the conclusions that should have been included is that chiropractic care represents one of the most affordable parts of the health care economic picture both today and in the future.