Health Care-Demographics

Healthcare is the second largest industry in the country

Health-care spending typically accounts for more than 10% of GDP in developed nations, and in the US the figure is even higher. In 2009, over $8,000 was spent per person in the United States, totalling $2.5 trillion! And spending is increasing, with the US bill totalling 16.2% of GDP in 2008 and 17.3% in 2009.

Part of the increase in health care spending is due to our aging population. In 2011, baby boomers started turning 65 in mass numbers. For the next 19 years, 10,000 individuals will turn 65 every day! By 2030, the percentage of our population over the former retirement age will have grown from 13% to 18%. And improved medical care and healthier habits are helping more of us live longer. With average life expectancies now approaching 80 years, the health care industry has many reasons to expand!

Healthcare is one of the biggest employers in the country. Dr. Cosgrove (the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic) argues that employment is just the beginning of the impact. “It’s not just employment, I mean its 24 percent of the federal budget. After restaurants and hospitality, this is the biggest industry in the United States. It’s big business news.” Dr. Cosgrove said, “It was big news when the airlines started to consolidate. This is a much bigger industry.”

Larger hospital systems are going to compete with each other, have increasing influence over the labor market, and change how policy works.

It’s going to change how we experience healthcare