Health-care spending in Alaska reached about $7.5 billion in 2010, according to new estimates by Scott Goldsmith of ISER and Mark Foster of Mark A. Foster and Associates. For comparison, that’s close to half the wellhead value of all the oil produced in Alaska in 2010. The definition of health-care spending is broad, including not only spending for hospitals, doctors, and medical tests, but also prescriptions, nursing homes, medical equipment, and more.

The researchers found:

• Health-care spending in Alaska increased 40% between 2005 and 2010, up from $5.3 billion to $7.5 billion.

• Individual Alaskans directly paid about 20% of the health-care bill, state and federal health programs 40%, and private and government employers 40%.

• A combination of things is driving health-care spending in Alaska and nationwide: new technology, income growth, medical-price inflation, changing insurance coverage, and a growing, aging population.

• At current trends, health-care spending in Alaska could nearly double by 2020, climbing to more than $14 billion. Controlling that growth will be a big challenge.


Visit to see the 12-page report.


For questions:

Scott Goldsmith, professor of economics, at

Mark Foster, Mark A. Foster and Associates, at