HEALTH $ RECORD
As bad as the financial picture is for today's physicians, they can take some consolation in the fact that their services will continue to be required. According to a report by the National Health Statistics Group (www.cms.hhs.gov), US spending on health care in 2001 (the latest year for which complete totals are available) reached an all-time record of $1.4 trillion and grew at the fastest rate in 10 years. Spending on health care was up 8.7% from the previous year, a rate of increase not observed since 1990 when similarly increasing costs led to the rise of managed care. Health care spending accounted for 14.1% of the US gross domestic product and Americans spent an average of $5035 per person on health care. Given the aging of the baby boom generation and the fact that average US life expectancy is now age 77, work for doctors isn't likely to disappear.