state spending


What Massachusetts Spends On Health Care? $68 Billion

Yesterday’s estimating exercise: How much do you think Massachusetts spent last year on health care? Apologies that the question could have been clearer: We meant total spending in the calendar year. And now — drum roll — the answer is…$68 billion, roughly 18.6% of our state GDP. This from WBUR’s Martha Bebinger, who dug up the stats:

$68 billion. That really big number is in this report to the state from Rand (The $68 billion number is on pg. 4 of the executive summary). It’s a projection for what we were expected to spend last year (2010). If anyone has an update, please let us know.

I’ve looked at total state spending over the years. The number always stops me in my tracks. It seems especially jarring as we think about how to cover the health care cost debate. We are spending an awful lot of money without knowing how much anything costs or whether we are getting the best care for the best price. What can we, a few interested journalists, do to help consumers and providers in this debate?

By the way, $68 billion is roughly 18.6% of the state’s GDP. I say roughly because the latest state GDP number I can find is $365 billion from 2009. That’s a year earlier than the projection of $68 billion in 2010. For the US, health care was 17.6% of GDP in 2009.