Health Economics: Health Care Trends
Deceleration of health care spending occurred almost across the board for many types of services and in many programs, which attributed to leveling-off of spending in 2016. However, growth rate for health spending continues to increase faster than gross domestic product (GDP). Increases in employees’ cost-sharing payments for health care services have far outpaced wage growth. Greater cost exposure will result in increased numbers of underinsured patients burdened with medical debt. Rising rates of preventable illnesses will continue to impact the nation’s health and economic productivity. Health care industry consolidation activity has increased steadily since 2009 and is taking on a variety of forms. Growth in price and utilization of pharmaceuticals has varied over the past two decades. One in four people taking prescriptions drugs report difficulty affording their medication. Costly new specialty drugs were a major driver of a recent spike in health spending. Polling results indicate bipartisan support for government action to lower prescription drug costs. Communication between the FDA and the public is an essential component of preventing and mitigating drug shortages. This report by the AMA’s Council on Long Range Planning and Development analyzes data on health care spending, consolidation in health care, coverage and access to care, prescription drug costs and drug shortages to formulate predicted impacts of these trends for patients, physicians, medical students, and policymakers. Should you have technical questions, please contact the AMA Unified Service Center at 800-621-8335. Should you have questions regarding the content, please contact Susan Close at
View Activity Information
Health Economics: Health Care Trends
Release Date: June 18, 2018
Expiration Date: June 18, 2020

At the end of this activity, physicians should be able to:
  1. Identify trends on national health care spending and spending on health care services 
  2. Describe factors contributing to widespread consolidation in health care 
  3. Identify effects of health care coverage on patient access to care 
  4. Define causes of, and efforts taken, to mitigate the rising costs of prescription drugs and drug shortages 
  5. Explain predicted impacts of health economic trends for patients, physicians, payers and policymakers 

Target Audience
This activity is designed for physicians and medical students.   

Statement of Competency
This activity is designed to address the following ABMS/ACGME competencies: patient care; practice-based learning and improvement; interpersonal and communication skills; professionalism; medical knowledge and systems-based practice. 

Accreditation Statement
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Designation Statement
The American Medical Association designates this enduring material for a maximum of 2.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Receiving Your CME Credits
To claim AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, you must; 1) view the activity material in its entirety, 2) successfully complete the quiz by answering 4 out of 5 questions correctly and 3) complete the evaluation.

CME Planning Committee

Susan Close, RN, Director Health Care Trends and Secretary, Council on Long Range Planning and Development (CLRPD)
Barry Dickinson, PhD, AMA CME Program Committee
Glenn Loomis, MD, Chair, CLRPD; Alfred Herzog, MD, Vice Chair, CLRPD

Susan Close, RN, (author) and the following CLRPD members, content reviewers
Glenn Loomis, MD; Alfred Herzog, MD
James Goodyear, MD
Mary Herald, MD
Clarence Chou, MD
Shannon Pryor, MD
Gary Thal, MD
Edmond Cabbabe, MD
Matthew Lecuyer, MD
Kathrine Marsh, medical student

Disclosure Statement
The content of this activity does not relate to any product of a commercial interest as defined by the ACCME; therefore, there are no relevant financial relationships to disclose for the planners or faculty.  

Hardware/software Requirements
Screen resolution of 800X600 or higher.
Web Browser: MS Internet Explorer 8.0 or higher, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari
Browser Plug-in: Adobe Flash Player
PDF Adobe Reader 5.0 or higher.

Audio speakers or headphones

Should you have any questions regarding the content of the activity, please contact Susan Close at 

Should you have any technical questions, please contact the AMA Unified Service Center at 800-621-8335.

Type:  Internet Activity (Enduring Material)
Activity Price
45 Registered Users
2 Credits> AMA> AMA PRA Category 1 Credit

0 Credits> AMA> Certificate of Participation for Non-Physicians