The health care sector has been an exception to the trend of slow growth. It continues to employ more Americans than ever before, without much sign of slowing down.
[Correction. Here’s a sign of some slowing.]
The health care industry has become so huge that it comprises nearly 1/5 of the economy. Now 1/9 American workers are somehow in health care (think medical coders, billing specialists, and various administrators). It’s astonishing. Whole cities (Hello Cleveland, Pittsburgh, etc., etc.) rely on health care as their #1 sources of jobs/income/investment.
[For a superb treatment of this phenomenon, read Chad Terhune’s piece here.]
A while back I read a great essay by a health care pundit who talked of health care spending “crowding out” other forms of public investment.
Think of it this way: a government collects taxes. If it spends an increasing amount on health care goods and services each year, there is less available for education, roads, infrastructure, etc.
It may not quite be a zero sum game, but it’s darn close.
Don’t You Just Love Those Drug Ads on TV?
I wrote new essay for NPR’s health blog, Shots, in honor of the 20th anniversary of drug ads appearing on TV in the U.S.
You can click on the box below to have a look. It ran with more great collage art by @KatStreeter.