Health care is as American as apple pie, at least when it comes to spending. The usual metric for the macroeconomy is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is defined as the market value of all goods and services produced in a country. Arithmetically, the calculation is,

GDP = Personal Consumption + Investment + Government Spending + (Exports – Imports)

Personal consumption is the largest single component of the economy. Health care comprises over 17% of personal consumption expenditures, and housing, 15%. The third largest line item in personal consumption is food, which eats up 14% of personal consumption expenses.

Thus, health care took 17 cents of each dollar spent in 2006. By 2015, this proportion is forecasted to be 20% — that is, 1 of every 5 dollars in America will go to health care.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: You’re upset about the cost of gas. Yet, gas, fuel and energy consume 75% less of your spending than health care. Health care costs are an integral part of household spending, and kitchen table conversations. That’s the rationale for starting up this blog, Health Populi…

Health Populi, Health of the People. I learned about “health citizenship” when working in Europe and meeting Jean-Claude Healy who led EU health data efforts and uttered the phrase, “health citizen” to me for the first time. This is the root mission of this blog, where we’ll think about health, people, technology, and economics.

[Data Sources: Health Care Spending: Public Payers Face Burden of Entitlement Program Growth, While All Payers Face Rising Prices and Increasing Use of Services, February 15, 2007, General Accounting Office, GAO-07-497T (]