The health care industry consists of the offices of doctors, dentists and other practitioners such as chiropractors, optometrists and psychologists, hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities and home health care services. Offices of doctors, dentists and other health care practitioners make up 76 percent of establishments. Although hospitals only make up 1 percent of establishments they employ 35 percent of all workers in the industry.
According to Plunkett Research, health care costs are rising faster than inflation. Premium costs for family coverage rose 131 percent from 1999 to 2009 and the employee contribution rose 128 percent. The United States spent 15.3 percent of gross domestic product (the value of all goods and services produced in the economy) in 2006, the highest of the 33 most-advanced industrial countries.
There were 46.3 million people or 15.4 percent of the population without health care insurance coverage in the U.S. in 2008. For some, coverage was unavailable or unaffordable, but for others it was because they just decided not to buy coverage. more than 8 million of the uninsured had incomes above $75,000. Another estimated 8 million of the uninsured are illegal immigrants.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health care industry was one of the largest industries in 2008, employing 14.3 million people in about 585,000 enterprises nationwide.