Health care spending in the United States experienced
historically low rates of growth in 2009 and 2010, according to the annual
report of national health expenditures published in Health
Analysts at the CMS reported that the increase in
spending for 2009 represents the lowest rate of increase in the 51-year history
of the national health expenditures (NHE) report. The low rate of growth,
according to a CMS news release, reflects lower utilization in
health care than in previous years. The report noted that US
health care spending increased 3.9% in 2010 0.1% faster than in 2009.
The report noted that growth in the US economy as reflected in gross domestic
product (GDP) rebounded while the health spending share of the overall economy
was unchanged at 17.9%.
We have worked hard since the passage of the
Affordable Care Act in 2010 to lower health care cost growth, Marilyn
Tavenner, acting CMS administrator, stated in the release. We believe
that the tools in
health reform will help keep health care cost growth low
while improving the value of care for consumers.
Key findings from the report include:
- Household health care spending equaled $725.5 billion in 2010,
representing 28% of total health spending, slightly less than its 29% share in
2007. Growth in total private health insurance premiums slowed in 2010 to 2.4%
from 2.6% in 2009, continuing a slowdown that began in 2003. For the first time
in 7 years the growth in premiums exceeded the growth in insurer spending on
health care benefits with the net cost of insurance increasing by 8.4%
or $11.3 billion in 2010. Out-of-pocket spending by consumers increased 1.8% in
2010, compared with 0.2% growth in 2009.
- Retail prescription drug spending (10% of total health care spending)
increased 1.2% to $259.1 billion in 2010, a slowdown from 5.1% growth in 2009
and the slowest rate of growth for prescription drug spending recorded in the
- Medicaid spending increased 7.2% in 2010, slowing from growth of 8.9%
- Hospital spending, which accounted for approximately 30% of total
health care spending, increased 4.9% to $814 billion in 2010, compared with
growth of 6.4% in 2009.
- Growth in private health insurance spending for hospital services,
which in 2010 accounted for 35% of all hospital care, slowed considerably in
- Physician and clinical services spending, which accounted for 20% of
total health care spending, increased 2.5% to reach $515.5 billion in 2010,
slowing from 3.3% growth in 2009.