Healthcare to make up one-fourth of GDP by 2030, economists say

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Healthcare could account for 25% of the gross domestic product by 2030, according to business experts. That means it would be a dominant economic driver.

As the population ages and scientists develop more expensive medications and procedures, health spending will continue to expand, says Robert Fogel of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Currently, healthcare spending makes up 16% of the GDP, which is a measurement of the amount of goods and services produced in one year.

Americans can spend more on healthcare today because they spend relatively less on other expenses, such as food, clothing and shelter than people of generations ago, he said. Most 45-year-olds will spend $30,000 more over their lifetime caring for cardiovascular disease than they would have spent in 1950, according to David Cutler, an economist at Harvard University.