Friday, January 7, 2011
Spending on healthcare grew at its slowest rate in 50 years, mostly because of recession-fueled cutbacks by businesses, governments, and households, according to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report.
The growth in healthcare spending has slowed every year since 2002, but 2009's was particularly pronounced -- growing at a rate of 4%, down from 4.7% in 2008, according to the authors of the agency's annual health spending report, published in Health Affairs.
Economic recessions do not always lead to a slowdown in healthcare spending, Anne Martin, a CMS economist and lead author told reporters at a press briefing.
Despite the slowdown in the growth rate, the U.S. still spends $2.5 trillion on healthcare, or $8,086 per person.
And if the rate of growth in spending has slowed, healthcare's share of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) -- 17.6% -- took its largest one-year increase in the five-decade history of the CMS report.
The largest chunks of the $2.5 trillion spent on healthcare in 2009 went toward hospital care, followed by physician services, then prescription drugs.
One-sixth of the nation's financial resources went to pay for healthcare, and more than half of all taxes collected paid for healthcare, said Martin.