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December 1995

Trends in out-of-pocket spending on health care, 1980-92

Gregory Acs, John Sabelhaus

For the most part, employers, government, and households all shared in the increased burden of rising medical spending; each share grew proportionately between 1980 and 1990, but during 1990-92, government's share increased rapidly, while households' out-of-pocket component dipped. This article uses aggregate data from the National Income and Product Accounts (National Accounts hereinafter) and family level data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys to measure the growth in out-of-pocket health care expenditures between 1980 and 1992. We also explore how the composition of family health spending has changed during this period and how this spending varies across different types of families.

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