-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- High unemployment, lower
incomes, increased cost sharing and a large drop in the number of
people with private health insurance limited the growth of health
spending in the United States to 3.9 percent in 2010, according to
a new study.
Those factors meant that many people had to do without care or
seek less expensive treatment, said researchers at the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). They found that total health spending
in 2010 was $2.6 trillion, or $8,402 per person.
This was the second year in a row with a sizeable slowing in the
growth of health spending in the nation. The rate of growth in 2009
was 3.8 percent, according to the study in the January issue of the
The rates of health spending growth in 2009 and 2010 were the
lowest in the 51-year history of the National Health Expenditure
Accounts, the official estimates of total health care spending in
the United States. Even though the recession was officially
declared over in 2009, its effects on the health sector continued
into 2010, the study authors said.
"[The recession's impact] was a little more dramatic in 2010 because of a large decline in personal health care spending," lead author and CMS economist Anne Martin said in a journal news release. "Medical goods and services are generally viewed as necessities, but the recession led consumers to be a lot more cautious about utilizing them."
Factors that contributed to the overall low growth in health
spending included slow growth in spending for hospital services,
physician and clinical services, retail prescription drugs, private
health insurance and out-of-pocket spending, and Medicare and
The researchers also found that federal, state and local
governments paid for about 45 percent of the nation's health bill
in 2010, up from 41 percent in 2007.
The federal government's share of health costs rose
significantly between 2007 and 2010, from 23 percent in 2007 to 29
percent in 2010 (nearly $743 billion). During that time, the share
paid by state and local governments decreased from 18 percent to 16
percent (about $421 billion in 2010), according to the study.
The study also found that the share of the nation's health costs
paid by private business declined from 25 percent in 2001 to 21
percent (almost $535 billion) in 2010. Job losses due to the
recession resulted in much slower annual growth of employer
contributions to private health insurance premiums and payroll
tax-based employer contributions to the Medicare Hospital Insurance
(Part A) Trust Fund between 2008 and 2010 than between 2000 and
The share of the nation's health costs paid for by households
reached a historic low of 28 percent (about $726 billion) in 2010.
After a negligible increase in 2009, household spending on health
care rose just 2.8 percent in 2010, the study found.
Among the other findings:
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has more
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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