Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Growth in U.S. Health Spending Remained Low in 2012

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Growth in U.S. Health Spending Remained Low in 2012

Article excerpt

AT A HEALTH AFFAIRS BRIEFING

WASHINGTON--Spending for physician services grew half a percentage point more in 2012 than 2011, according to an annual analysis of health care spending from the National Health Expenditure Accounts Team at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The uptick in spending growth was partially attributable to more physician visits as American pocketbooks began to rebound from the recent recession, said Anne B. Martin and her colleagues at the CMS Office of the Actuary The impact of the Affordable Care Act on spending growth remained negligible in 2012, as it was in the 2 prior years, according to their analysis, published simultaneously in the journal Health Affairs (2014;33:67-77 [doi: 10/1377/hhhaff.2013.1254]).

The CMS actuaries estimated that, overall, the law increased spending by 0.1% from 2010 to 2012. A few ACA provisions--such as coverage for dependents under age 26 and for patients with preexisting conditions--increased spending, while others--such as payment cuts to hospitals and rebates for drugs under Medicaid--decreased spending.

Overall, the nation's health spending-- $2.8 trillion in 2012, the most recent year for which there are accurate and complete data--grew 3.7% in 2012, a historically low rate similar to that seen in the previous 3 years. When there is a recession, health spending decreases; the rebound in spending often lags an economic recovery by several years, said Aaron Catlin, deputy director of the National Health Statistics Group in the Office of the Actuary. …

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