I try to keep a few health policy relevant economic numbers in my head. Very frequently as I read reporting on how much this or that policy change will save or cost, I use these numbers to calculate what fraction of Medicare or the federal budget or the economy that change is. It adds a lot of perspective.
Here’s a list of my top four handy numbers. All are per year and roughly accurate for 2012, but obviously will change over time:
- Medicare: ~$550B and expected to be ~$650 by 2014
- Total US health spending: ~$2.3T
- Fed budget: ~$3.6T
- Total economy: ~$14T
Paul Kelleher on Twitter suggests adding these to my cache:
- Tax subsidy for employer-sponsored health insurance: ~$250B
- Federal spending on Medicaid: Also ~$250B
What are your favorite, handy policy/budget/economic numbers?