Spending on mental and substance use disorders will likely grow more slowly than all health spending through 2020. We project that spending on mental and substance use disorders, as a share of all health spending, will fall from 7.4 percent in 2009 ($172 billion out of $2.3 trillion) to 6.5 percent in 2020 ($281 billion out of $4.3 trillion). This trend is the projected result of reduced spending on mental health drugs because of patent expirations, the low likelihood of innovative drugs entering the market, and a slowdown in spending growth for hospital treatment. By 2020 the expansion of coverage to previously uninsured Americans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), combined with the projected slowdown in Medicare provider payment rates under the ACA and the Budget Control Act of 2011, are expected to add 2.7 percent to behavioral health spending, compared to spending without these changes.
Spending on mental and substance use disorders projected to grow more slowly than all health spending through 2020