Reports From the Field

Health care use has remained constant over past 40 years

Although there have been major changes in the organization and financing of health care, the estimated monthly use of health care services by Americans has remained consistent over the past 40 years, according to a study supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Researchers have found that 80% of Americans experience health problems each month, and roughly 27% see a physician.

The study updated a 1961 landmark study by Kerr White, MD. Researchers found that their data were similar to White’s estimates more than 30 years earlier. The research team based its estimates primarily on data from AHRQ’s 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey as well as a Gallup Survey conducted in the spring of 2000.