US Health Spending Declined in 2020

It seems counter intuitive, but US health spending appears to have declined in 2020 by 2%. That the first decline since 1960.

What changed?

  • Hospital care, the largest component, was 7% lower in 2020 than in 2019.
  • Dental services dropped 20% in 2020.
  • Some services were temporarily curtailed, and patients avoided seeking care to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
  • Spending on prescription drugs and home health care actually increased for the year, the latter likely related to individuals selecting home care rather than nursing homes to avoid exposure.(1)

The obvious question: Will we see a bounce-back in 2021 as people have the work done that they postponed? Or will people decide simply to forego what they didn’t do last year? That’s a particular issue for cosmetic surgeries and dentistry. With masks covering much of the face, are they still that important?



  1. We have seen the same here. But it is widely known here that our NHS ground to a halt, so your headline was not in the least surprising.

    At the very start of the pandemic, this manifested itself in things like kicking people out of hospitals in order to make room for the *expected* onslaught of covid patients. More general concerns include people, with non-covid, having treatment suspended. Such numbers will never show on statistics.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The impact should show in statistics for this year, at least in select clinical practice areas. We may see an uptick in catch-up work, and some minor procedures that were put off may morph into major surgeries this year.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.