Today's post was shared by Kaiser Health News and comes from kaiserhealthnews.org
National health spending grew 3.6 percent in 2013, the lowest annual increase since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began tracking the statistic in 1960, officials said Wednesday.
Spending slowed for private health insurance, Medicare, hospitals, physicians and clinical services and out-of-pocket spending by consumers. However, it accelerated for Medicaid and for prescription drugs, according to the report, published online by the journal Health Affairs.
Health care spending has grown at historically low rates for the past five years, which is consistent with declines generally seen during economic downturns, such as the Great Recession that crippled the U.S. economy at the end of 2007. Looking ahead, “the key question is whether health spending growth will accelerate once economic conditions improve significantly; historical evidence suggest that it will,” noted the authors, who are from the CMS Office of the Actuary.
They also pointed out, however, that in the near term, the health sector will “undergo major changes that will have a substantial impact” on consumers, providers, insurers and sponsors of health care. These are the result of the health law’s creation of online marketplaces, its expansion of Medicaid, a shared federal-state health care program for the poor and disabled, and restraints the law made to the Medicare program, the analysts found.
“The balance of these and many...