The American health care system is a patchwork of public and private programs that serve citizens in different ways, depending on their age, military service, employment status, income and health. Americans spend roughly two times more than any other nation per capita on health care, with more than one in six of all dollars spent in the country being spent on health care. Health care costs also tend to increase faster than economic growth, and have been doing so for decades.
Nearly half of all health care spending is done through government programs, primarily Medicare (for those older than 65) and Medicaid (for the poor). Thus, health care inflation places a strain on the federal budget and is the largest factor in the federal budget's long term unsustainability.