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In 1960, hospital costs were were 38% of total U.S.healthcare costs; in 2010, they were 37%. But in 1960, hospital costs were $9 billion of a total $23.4 billion in healthcare costs; in 2010, they were $814 billion of a total $2, 186 billion. (Simple inflation, using the CPI as a metric, means that the 1960 figure, in 2010 dollars, would be around $1.8 billion.)
But in many ways more interesting than the growth in the overall total are the changes in how healthcare is financed– in who pays. In 1960, for example, almost 100% of the spending on prescription drugs came out of the consumer’s pocket; by 2010, out-of-pocket spending was down to 20%.
Watch the healthcare economy evolve in the California Healthcare Foundation’s interactive graphic, “U.S. Healthcare Spending: Who Pays?“
As we stock up on supplements, we might spare an anatomically-correct thought for Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne (de Boulogne); he died on this date in 1875. Regarded by many to be the “father of modern neurology,” Duchenne developed the first working understanding of the conductivity of neural pathways; he was the first to understand the effect of lesions on these structures; and he innovated diagnostic techniques including deep tissue biopsy, nerve conduction tests, and clinical photography. He’s probably best remembered for identifying the myopathies that came to bear his name: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne-Aran spinal muscular atrophy, Duchenne-Erb paralysis, Duchenne’s disease (Tabes dorsalis), and Duchenne’s paralysis (progressive bulbar palsy).