Reaching Our Potential

The US economy took a long figurative pit stop with the great recession of 2008 and 2009. Employment has not recovered to its previous peak and employment is about at the same level as the peak of the last business cycle of more than a decade ago. Health care employment growth has been unaffected by the last two business cycles. Since the beginning of this recession, healthcare employment has grown more than 11 percent. What can we draw from these observations concerning the performance of the health care component of the economy? The fact that health care employment and real per capita consumption grew throughout the business cycle at their prerecession rates are indicative of the fact that health care consumption is largely paid for by third parties. Payment by government and private insurance allows for continued consumption growth even during a severe recession.

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