Government Drops Big Data Bombshell On U.S. Hospital Industry

Dan Munro | Forbes | May 9, 2013

To be honest, I never thought we’d get much further than Steven Brill’s epic Time cover story – Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us. We had seen some of the data in bits and pieces over the years, and we knew that many Americans were driven to bankruptcy through medical expenses, but Steven gave us fresh insight into the personal devastation behind the sheer cost of care.

The story is still reverberating throughout the healthcare system today - and it will likely be thought of in the same vein as the Institute of Medicine’s To Err is Human (1999) – PwC’s equally stunning The Price of Excess (2009) and perhaps to a lesser extent – Mary Meeker’s USA, Inc. (2011 – which highlighted the current and future calculus of healthcare on the balance sheet of USA, Inc.).

If there’s a single industry that has the capacity to drive our country over the proverbial cliff – healthcare is one really good candidate. It’s now at about $3 trillion (unless you use Deloitte’s number’s which are higher) – and accounts for roughly 18% of our GDP – per year. Our healthcare system is basically “an economic unit roughly the size of France” (from David Brooks recent article Health Chaos Ahead).