Growth in health care spending slows, report says

January 06, 2014|By Andrea K. Walker | By Andrea K. Walker

National health care spending increased 3.7 percent to $2.8 trillion in 2012, continuing a four-year trend of slow growth, according to new federal data.

Spending on health grew more slowly than gross domestic product, pushing the share of the economy devoted to health care down from 17.3 percent in 2011 to 17.2 percent last year, according to analysis by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released in the January issue of Health Affairs.

The declines reflect the continued impact of the past recession and reduction in Medicare payments to skilled nuring facilities. Some prescription drugs are lost patent protection, meaning cheaper generic versions could be sold.

An uptick in spending at hospitals and on doctor services continued to see an accelaration in growth, while spending on prescription drugs and nursing home care slowed.

The Affordable Care Act had minimal impact on spending, according to the report.

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