- David Nather
- May 30
How chronic conditions drive up health spending
Source: RAND Corporation; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios
We've heard a lot about how a small number of people with serious health problems drive a disproportionate amount of health care spending, but a new report by the RAND Corporation, prepared for the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, shows that reality in vivid detail. The big finding: 12 percent of people with five or more chronic conditions account for 41 percent of total health care spending.
Why it matters: The big dilemma in health care right now is how to cover the costs of the sickest people — and if Congress doesn't keep the Affordable Care Act system, which covers all people in the same insurance pools regardless of health, then it has to come up with a better system. This chart shows how the spending is distributed for all patients.
Of note: Six out of 10 U.S. adults have at least one chronic condition.