Health

Health covers both the state of physical, mental, and social well-being of Americans, as well as access to healthcare. Healthcare accounts for nearly 20% of the US economy.

Data Updated January 11, 2023
Table of Contents

What are the basic facts?

There are many ways to measure the state of health and healthcare in the US: life expectancy, top causes of death, percent of Americans with health insurance, health risk factors, and more. This page showcases some of these measures to answer fundamental questions and directs you to data to develop an understanding of how healthy Americans are.

What is the role of the government in health?

Government spending

In fiscal year 2020, governments spent a combined total of $347 billion on health (excluding insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid.)

That’s $1,047 per person.

USAFacts categorizes government budget data to allocate spending appropriately, and to arrive at the estimate presented here. The health-related spending shown covers public health, hospitals, and other medical services. It does not include spending on government-run health insurance programs such as Medicare or Medicaid. In 2020, public health spending increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This included testing and vaccination for the virus.

Government revenue and expenditures are based on data from the Office of Management and Budget, the Census Bureau, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Each is published annually, although due to collection times, state and local government data are not as current as federal data. Thus, when combining federal, state, and local revenues and expenditures, the most recent year for a combined number may be delayed.

Key government actors

Focus
Key actors
Responsibilities

Public health

Surgeon General, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture

Promote good health; provide grants to states

Research and development

National Institutes of Health

Fund and directly conduct scientific research

Hospitals and emergency care

Department of Veterans Affairs, military hospitals

Provide health services and hospital care to veterans and service members

Health insurance

Department of Health and Human Services

Operate federal health insurance exchanges; regulate the health insurance market

Focus

Public health

Research and development

Hospitals and emergency care

Health insurance

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