Index shows huge increase in consumer health care costs

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While the U.S. government has become an even more dominant force in the nation's health care system, individuals are taking on a greater share of the costs, according to the new U.S. News Health Care Index.

The index was developed exclusively by U.S. News & World Report as an ongoing way to track health care's changing role in the U.S. economy and society. The first series of data, from 2000 to 2013, presents a comprehensive overview of the U.S. health care system by following movements in health care expenditures, medical costs, insurance coverage, health care employment, international comparisons and health care degrees granted in the United States.

"There is an ongoing narrative about health care's central role in the U.S. economy, but this index demonstrates all of the ways health care is touching every aspect of our society," said Tim Smart, executive editor of U.S. News. "The Health Care Index will allow us to better understand how the health care system is evolving and its broader influence over time."

The index shows a steady trend upwards between 2000 and 2013. The largest components – health care expenditures and employment – drive the trend.

Key insights from the U.S. News Health Care Index:

The U.S. News Health Care Index features a collection of interactive graphs so that users can easily explore the data, research specific data points and adjust the graphs to illustrate trends. The index (read full methodology) is made up of 36 data sets organized into eight sub-indices: health care expenditures, employment, insurance, education, insurance premiums, consumer price, insurance deductibles, and international economic impact.

The index relies on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Center for Educational Statistics and the World Health Organization.

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