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Health Aff (Millwood). 2008 Sep-Oct;27(5):w349-59. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.27.5.w349. Epub 2008 Jul 29.

The distribution of public spending for health care in the United States, 2002.

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Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), in Rockville, Maryland, USA.


U.S. health care spending is projected to approach $2.4 trillion in 2008; a large share will be paid by government outlays and tax subsidies. Other countries routinely conduct incidence analyses of public health care spending, yet we know of no recent and comprehensive incidence studies for the United States. We examined data for 2002 from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey aligned to the National Health Expenditure Accounts and augmented with simulated tax subsidies. The public sector accounted for 56.1 percent of health spending within the civilian noninstitutionalized population. Our analysis highlights this sector's role in financing the care of seniors and people in poor health.

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