Two Reports on Health Care Trends Released

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Two Reports on Health Care Trends Released

The American Medical Associaion released two separate reports on health care trends in May.

The first report was on 2019 health care spending. This report provides a detailed look at the official U.S. health care spending estimates through 2019 using data from the CMS. It also presents preliminary estimates of 2020 health spending from Altarum, a private research organization that focuses on health policy.

  • Health spending was 17.7% of GDP in 2019 and increased by 4.6% from 2018 spending to $3.8 trillion ($11,582 per capita).
  • Spending in hospital care (6.2%) and prescription drugs (5.7%) grew faster than physician services (4.2%) in 2019.
  • In 2019, spending growth in Medicare (6.7%) and out-of-pocket payments (4.6%) reached their highest rates in the last decade while private health insurance (3.7%) and Medicaid (2.9%) were on a downswing.
  • The federal government financed the largest share of health spending (29.0%) in 2019 as it has since 2015; households were the second largest financiers (28.4%).
  • Preliminary estimates suggest an unprecedented decline in 2020 national health spending driven by decreases in spending for most personal health expenditure categories (including a 7.0% decline in hospital care spending and 4.2% decline in physician and clinical services spending).

The second AMA report describes changes in physician employment status and practice size, type, and ownership between 2012 and 2020. The content of the report is based on the AMA’s Physician Practice Benchmark Survey. Observations from the report include the following:

  • 2020 was the first year in which less than half (49.1%) of patient care physicians worked in a private practice, a drop of almost 5 percentage points from 2018.
  • 2% of physicians were in practices with at least 50 physicians in 2020, up from 14.7% in 2018.

Although the 2020 data are consistent with earlier trends, the size of the changes since 2018 suggest that the shift toward larger practices and away from physician-owned (private) practices has accelerated.

To view the 2020 health care spending, click here: 2020 Health Care Spending Report

To view the physician practice pattern report, click here: Physician Practice Pattern Report

To view the physician practice benchmark survey, click here: Physician Practice Benchmark Survey