Report: 5 Percent of People Account for Half of U.S. Health Care Spending

About 5 percent of the population is responsible for almost half of all health care spending in the United States and for rising premium rates, according to a new report from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation.

U.S. health care spending has sharply increased over the past few years. Between 2005 and 2009, national health care spending rose by 23 percent from $2 billion to $2.5 billion, according to the NIHCM Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization focused on health care. A foundation report that reviewed the 2008 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey found health care spending was concentrated among a small group of high-cost patients.

The report stated about half of the U.S. population accounted for only 3.1 percent of all expenditures. But 10 percent of the population hogged 63.6 percent of all health spending, the survey found. The top 5 percent of the population accounted for 47.5 percent of all spending, and the top 1 percent accounted for 20.2 percent.

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It looks like most of this could be prevented:

Nearly half of people in the top 5 percent of health care spending had high blood pressure; a third had high cholesterol; and a quarter had diabetes.

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