Low Level of Health Care Use Among Bottom Half of Spenders Remains Stable for Decades

SSS senior health analyst Zhengyi Fang coauthored an article in Health Affairs that showed that the vast majority of Americans use few health care resources and have low out-of-pocket spending. The findings are featured in The Washington Post and Fortune. Based on the authors’ analysis of 21 surveys conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality covering 1977–2014, the bottom 50 percent of health care spenders were responsible for only about 3 percent of overall spending—a statistic that remained almost unchanged during the 37-year period examined. The same data also showed that the top 1 percent of spenders used more resources than the bottom 75 percent. The article was coauthored with a contributing editor to Health Affairs.