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Publication date: 
August 1, 2022


Little is known about health care spending variation across the US for recent years. To estimate health spending by state and payer, we combined data from the government’s State Health Expenditure Accounts, which have estimates through 2014, with other primary data on spending. In 2019 state-specific per person spending ranged from $7,250 to $14,500. After adjustment for inflation, annualized per person spending growth for each state ranged from 1.0 percent in Washington, D.C., to 4.2 percent in South Dakota between 2013 and 2019. The factors that explained the most variation across states were incomes (25.3 percent) and consumer prices (21.7 percent). Medicaid expansion was associated with increases in total spending per person, although the median of spending in expansion states showed slower growth in out-of-pocket spending than the median in nonexpansion states. Contemporary estimates of state health spending are valuable for tracking divergent expenditure trajectories in the US and assessing the associated factors.


Johnson EK, Wojtesta MA, Crosby SW, et al. Varied health spending growth across US states was associated with income, price levels, and Medicaid expansion, 2000-19. Health Affairs. 1 August 2022. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2021.01834.