U.S. Healthcare Spending Hits $3.2 Trillion


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The U.S. increased its total health care spending last year, hitting $3.2 trillion – the fastest rate since the recession in 2008. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, this is an average of close to $10,000 per person.

The increase is attributed to the rise of Americans having health insurance, either through private insurance or Medicaid. In the last two years, federal spending for health insurance rose by 21 percent with millions of Americans getting their insurance covered through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

A report published in the Health Affairs Journal noted this federal spending rise was the result in the increase of Medicaid admissibility and enrollment. Thanks to the ACA, the federal government will pay the entire cost of Medicaid coverage for new enrollees. 31 out of the 50 states opted to expand their eligibility requirements.

In essence, health spending amounted to 17.8 percent of the country’s economy for 2015. In 2014, that number was 17.4 percent. There was a 5.8 percent increase in total healthcare spending from last year. According to the Obama administration, the growth was under the rates for the year before the ACA was approved.

Economist Anne B. Martin said the federal government became the biggest health spending source last year – 29 percent to be exact. This is more than households, state and local government, and private businesses. The rise is attributed to the increase in coverage and the older population, with Medicare expansion.

ACA had anticipated to fuel a rise in health spending, but cost less than the Congressional Budget Office projected. That’s because the amount of people who signed up for the exchanges was much less than forecast.

According to officials, the recession’s aftereffects are the reason for the low national healthcare spending. The White House noted the health law, with cuts to the growth of the Medicare payments, to healthcare providers, slowed the healthcare spending. It also enticed them to be better efficient.

Martin said the biggest increases in health spending have happened in times around economic recession. The biggest increases – 2014 and 2015 – happened over five years after the latest recession. However, it also corresponded with nearly 10 million people getting health insurance and 10.3 million being eligible for Medicaid.

Officials said the increase in prescription drug also contributed to the rise in national health spending. According to the report, new specialty drugs like those for autoimmune disorders, cancer, hepatitis C and others and traditional brand-name drugs like those treating diabetes also helped with growth.

The report states prices for brand-name medications also rose by double-digit numbers for four straight years, with the amount of new drugs being approved for a reason as well. The government said 45 new medications were approved in 2015.

According to the report, 20 million people were able to enroll in Medicaid or received private health insurance coverage thanks to the ACA. In 2013, only 86 percent of the population had health care coverage. The percentage stood at 90.9 percent in 2015.

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Posted by on Dec 3 2016. Filed under Featured, Health, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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