In the past 50 years, the way health care is financed has changed, with private payers and public insurance paying for more care. The California Healthcare Foundation has created this excellent interactive graphic shows who paid for the nation's health care and how much it's costs have shifted since 1960. The tree-map provides an intriguing exposition of the 'relative costs' but as The Economist adds, with regard the 'absolute costs': American healthcare costs increased by roughly 100 times, from $27 billion in 1960 to $2.6 trillion in 2010.
Via The Economist:
Although everything from homes prices to petrol increased a lot over the past half century, America's medical costs grew at an especially hefty rate, from 5% to 18% of GDP. Americans spend about twice as much as Canadians, Germans, French or British. Indeed, the federal government in recent years has begun to spend more on Medicare and Medicaid than on defense.
Among the chart's most arresting stats: the out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs was 96% in 1960; today it is a mere 19%—the federal government pays more than half the costs. Likewise, the feds pay for about half the total cost of hospital care, compared with about one-third when Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980. (And this seemingly "socialized" healthcare spending, it bears noting, predates Obamacare.)