*Tax exclusion $ amount is not added into the $3,500B national health expenditure. Though it is a part of expenditure, it is not included in many data sources and is unclear how it should be best organized without causing contradictions in the expenditure breakdowns.
*$168B in research is a higher $ amount than the category breakdowns within it, as the $ amounts are taken from sources from differing years.
*All $ amounts have been rounded to the nearest billionth for readability and scanning purposes.
The US healthcare system is extremely convoluted. To call it “spaghetti” would be an understatement. Because of the complexity, accurately capturing and following associative and financial relationships is difficult. The wider picture of how organizations are connected, how money flows through the US healthcare system is difficult to see. As a result, public discourse around US healthcare issues and reforms are often too narrow in context. Many consumer services and products developed in the health technology space don’t consider long term, primary, secondary or tertiary, downstream effects they will have on the market or for patients in this wider view.
Below is a description of the methodology used in creating the "Where your Health Dollars Go" visualization. It is updated based on continuing research and feedback.
The components of the healthcare system to include in the visualization were primarily based on what public data was available. Some expenditures were based on older estimates due to difficulty in finding up to date data (such as administrative costs for private health insurance).
Other expenditures, such as numbers on fraud, waste, and abuse for health insurance programs, are best guesses based on a range of estimates as referenced below.
Column 1, National health expenditure section
Column 2, National health expenditure section
Column 3, National health expenditure section
Column 4, National health expenditure section
Column 5, National health expenditure section
Column 6, National health expenditure section
Column 1, Personal health expenditure section
Column 2, Personal health expenditure section
Column 1, Health and human services expenditure
Column 2, Health and human services expenditure