A physician assistant of family medicine wears a stethoscope.
A physician assistant of family medicine wears a stethoscope. - 
Listen To The Story


SCOTT JAGOW: Right now, our health care bill is pretty hefty: $7,500 for every man, woman and child in this country. But a study out today says we ain't seen nothin' yet. Government economists predict that tab will double within a decade. They study's published online in the journal Health Affairs. Sarah Gardner tells us more about it.

SARAH GARDNER: According to federal analysts, 10 years from now health spending will account for nearly 20 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.Peter Lurie, deputy director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, says the pattern is unsustainable.

PETER LURIE: I think that the signs of the dangerous increase in the expenditures of health care have been there for at least a decade and Congress has been ignoring it.

Lurie's group is pushing for national health insurance.

Others, of course, advocate free-market policies. Either way, it's clear health care is taking center stage in our economy.

Glenn Melnick is a professor of health care finance at USC in Los Angeles.

GLENN MELNICK: Health care really will be the gold rush of the 21st Century. There've been reports out that anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of new jobs in our economy over the next 25 years are gonna be in health care.

Federal analysts predict the fastest-growing area of medical spending will be home health care.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

Follow Sarah Gardner at @RadioGardner