Where the Money Goes: The Evolving Expenses of the U.S. Health Care System – The Commonwealth Fund

Key Findings

In 2012, health care revenues exceeded expenses by 10.2 percent across the three sectors.

Half of all revenue was paid to workers, with 23 percent going toward the wages and benefits of physicians and nurses. Although more nonprofessionals (e.g., support staff in physicians’ offices) were employed in health care over the study period, this did not account for much increased spending.

Even though labor remained the single-largest contributor to costs, the share of revenue spent on labor declined modestly from 1997 to 2012, from 53.2 percent to 49.8 percent.

The fastest-growing expense category across the three sectors was goods and services, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, IT systems, and accounting and engineering services. In 2012, payments for goods and services accounted for one-third of spending.

Source: Where the Money Goes: The Evolving Expenses of the U.S. Health Care System – The Commonwealth Fund

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