Health Spending Grew 5.3% to $3 Trillion

Wall Street Journal: “Growth in U.S. health-care spending is accelerating after reaching historic lows … Spending on all health care increased 5.3% in 2014 [to $3 trillion], according to a report Wednesday from actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That compares with the 2.9% growth in 2013, which marked the lowest rate since the government began tracking the gains 55 years ago.”

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L.A. Times: “Experts aren’t predicting a return to double-digit increases in medical spending. But the latest trend underscores how difficult it will be for policymakers, employers and insurers to control healthcare costs going forward.”

“‘Two main factors were responsible for health spending growth in 2014 — coverage expansion associated with the Affordable Care Act and faster growth in prescription drug spending,’ said Anne B. Martin, an economist at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.”

“Wednesday’s report by government actuaries found that the percentage of Americans with health insurance reached 88.8% in 2014, the highest share since 1987.”

“The Obama administration pointed out that the 5.3% increase in 2014 is still below the 6.9% average growth rate during the decade prior to the 2010 health law being enacted. Officials also predicted the spending increases tied to the coverage expansion will fade in the coming years.”

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