FACTBOX: Healthcare in the United States

Mon May 25, 2009 7:03pm EDT

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(Reuters) - The U.S. Congress is preparing to overhaul the United States' troubled healthcare system and President Barack Obama hopes to sign legislation before the end of the year.

Here are some facts about healthcare in the United States:

* U.S. government economists predict that public and private health spending will hit $2.5 trillion this year, taking up a 17.6 percent share of gross domestic product.

* Americans spend more per capita on healthcare than any other country at $7,421 per person, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports. Yet studies suggest Americans get poorer care than people in other industrialized countries that have national healthcare plans.

* Private insurance pays 35 percent of this; Medicare, the federal health plan for the elderly and disabled, pays 19 percent; Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program pays 15 percent; 12 percent comes from other public funds; 7 percent from other private sources, and 12 percent is paid out-of-pocket by patients.

* The U.S. Census Bureau says 46 million Americans, or 15 percent of the population, have no health insurance.

* About 63 percent of U.S. employers offer health benefits to workers, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Those who work at large companies are much more likely than those who work at small businesses to have health coverage. The self-employed must typically pay much more for coverage than those who get insurance through an employer.

* Growth in health-insurance premiums has outpaced workers' earnings and inflation since 2004 by a ratio of 4 to 1, according to the Kaiser Foundation. Employers on average pay about 75 percent of that cost.

* Obama says he wants to cover more of these Americans but has not indicated how. Options include expanding Medicare and Medicaid, creating a public insurance pool, tax breaks for employers to offer coverage and requiring insurance companies to cover more people.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan, editing by Philip Barbara)

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