Perspective: Did National Health Spending in 2020 Decline for the First Year in Recorded History? Preliminary Data Say It Did




For the first year since at least 1960 – when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began tracking national health expenditures – total health spending in 2020 was less than in the previous year. While spending has recovered somewhat from its pandemic-related decline in the spring, our preliminary estimate is that national health spending in 2020 was 2.0% lower than in 2019, a decline of about $75.8 billion dollars. The exhibit shows annual growth rates for six major personal health care components of health spending in 2020 and, for comparison, 2019. The latter numbers match the CMS National Health Expenditure Accounts (NHEA) for 2019, while the 2020 values are based primarily on the latest BEA data, adjusted to match more nearly those that would be produced by CMS.

Author(s): George Miller, Corwin (Corey) Rhyan, Ani Turner

Publication Date: 17 February 2021

Publication Site: Altarum