Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Seven Things You Need to Know About 2011 Health Care Spending

If you're interested in learning more about the latest U.S. health care cost trends, everything you need to know is in this article in the January 2013 issue of Health Affairs.

Or you could rely on the Disease Management Care Blog to point out the article's 7 most important points.  Use them to impress your colleagues and stymie your foes:

1) The data only go up to 2011; we'll have to wait another year before we'll know about 2012.

2) 2011 health care spending, as a percent of gross domestic product, remained at 17.9%.  The overall economy was slow and that took its toll on the health care sector.

3) That comes out to $2.7 trillion or $8,680 in health care spending per person.

4) While the percent remained stable, the economy experienced modest growth in 2011. The health care sector, thanks to an overall growth rate of 3.9%, kept pace. Prices for services grew less than the demand for services.  As we grow older, demand is likely to grow.

5) Medicare and private insurance grew faster than the economy, which was offset by Medicaid cost cutting by the states.

6) If the past is any guide, when the U. S. economy rebounds, health care spending is likely to accelerate and resume its march toward becoming 20% of GDP.

7) The relative stabilization of 2011 health care costs is independent of the Affordable Care Act.  Many of its important provisions (such as the mandate) don't kick in until 2014.

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