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Analysts Say U.S. Health Care Spending Grew 3.9 Percent in 2011
Growth Percentage Holds Steady for Third Straight Year
By News Staff
Hospital spending -- tallied at more than $850 billion in 2011 -- accounted for about 31 percent of total health care spending. In addition, the authors found that in 2011, the federal government financed 28 percent of U.S. health care spending, at nearly $745 billion.
Significant areas where the growth of health care spending slowed in 2011 included Medicaid spending (2.5 percent compared to 5.9 percent growth in 2010) and hospital spending (4.3 percent compared to 4.9 percent growth in 2010).
- U.S. health care spending grew by 3.9 percent in 2011, which mirrored growth rates recorded in 2009 and 2010.
- Spending increased in some areas, such as costs for Medicare patients, prescription drugs and consumer out-of-pocket expenses.
- A number of factors, including an increase in the number of insured Americans, could lead to more health care spending in the future, according to analysts.
- retail prescription drugs (2.9 percent compared to 0.4 percent growth in 2010),
- physician and clinical services (4.3 percent compared to 3.1 percent in 2010),
- Medicare spending (6.2 percent compared to 4.3 percent in 2010),
- private health insurance (3.8 percent compared to 3.4 percent in 2010) and
- consumer out-of-pocket expenses (2.8 percent compared to 2.1 percent in 2010).
Fleming pointed out that at a media briefing on Jan. 7, CMS Chief Actuary Rick Foster indicated that more individuals soon would be covered by health insurance because of implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; that fact, coupled with the propensity of insured patients to use more health care services, could increase health care spending down the road.
Foster acknowledged that some consumers have put off elective health care as a result of economic hard times, and he noted that "pent-up demand" also could fuel spending growth. "I think it's fair to say that there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty about all of this," Foster was quoted as saying in the blog.
Analysts Tally 2011 U.S. Health Care Spending Growth