The unmistakable trend in the U.S. is that private insurance has covered a greater and greater share of total medical costs over time. An a result, the net share of costs borne by insured people has been shrinking steadily while the share paid by private insurance has grown. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the graph in this article is worth easily a trillion.
There are many reasons for the expansion of private insurance coverage - these reasons include benefit mandates by the states and the federal government; pressure from unions and other group plan sponsors for "better" coverage; even the impact of HMO's which, by offering low copays, induced their PPO and indemnity-style competitors to offer similar low copays.
But . . . who knew the trend has been so steep, or has been going on for such a long time?
I recommend everyone click on the link, and read the whole article - then save it in your favorite file.