Gov't report: USA health care tab hit $3.3T in 2016

Gov't report: USA health care tab hit $3.3T in 2016”

Spending for hospital services hit $1.1 trillion, an increase of 4.7% in 2016.

During 2014 and 2015, the health spending share of the economy increased 0.5 percentage points from 17.2 percent in 2013 to 17.7 percent in 2015.

Private health insurance spending grew by 5.1 percent to $1.1 trillion previous year, while Medicare spending grew by 3.6 percent to $672.1 billion. The lone thriving growth in its wealth of goods and services was expenses for nursing care facilities and continuing care retirement communities. "We had the enrollment expansion that impacted Medicaid and private health insurance with 10.2 million and 8.7 million people gaining coverage", a CMS official told reporters Wednesday. There was also an uptick in employer-sponsored coverage due to an improving economy. Despite the slower growth in 2016, healthcare spending still increased faster than the GDP growth rate.

Growth in USA health spending slowed considerably in 2016, rising by 4.3 percent, after two years of higher spending growth spurred by Obamacare and prescription drugs. Medicare spending on physician and clinical services, which constituted a 23% share in 2016, increased 3.8% after growing 4.7% in 2015.

The findings, published Wednesday by Health Affairs, are considered the authoritative breakdown of American health care spending and are prepared each year by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Medicaid spending growth fell to 3.9 percent from 9.5 percent in 2015 and 11.5 percent in 2014, when growth was driven largely to the initial impact of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Still, health spending continues to outpace overall spending on goods and services, which increased 2.8 percent in 2016.

Those three years followed a six-year period when national health care spending growth plummeted from the double-digit rises common in the past. Medicaid expenditures rose 3.9% to $565.5 billion in 2016, accounting for 17% of total national healthcare spending.

The year's deviation from the growth rate recorded in 2014 and 2015 may be more a return to norm than it is an indication of a slowed market, however. Finally, private insurance increased 5.1% in 2016 to reach $1.1 trillion, which was slower than growth was in 2014 and 2015, when private health insurance spending increased 5.7% and 6.9%, respectively, as enrollment grew by 8.7 million over the two years.

Hospitals accounted for more than 30 percent of spending, clinicians represented 20 percent, and prescription drugs accounted for 10 percent. Furthermore, spending for retail prescription drugs slowed, partly as a result of lower spending for drugs used to treat hepatitis C, while slower use and intensity of services drove the slowdown in hospital care and physician and clinical services. For private health insurance and Medicaid, the slower growth was influenced by decelerated enrollment growth. Another factor was a slowdown in the growth of spending on insulin, a lifesaving drug for people with diabetes, in Medicare. Slower growth was due to a leveling in the number of people gaining health coverage previous year, according to the researchers. The slowing was driven by fewer new drugs being introduced and less spending on pricey treatments for hepatitis C. Last year, on a per enrollee basis, Medicaid spending increased 0.9%, down from 4.5% in 2015, which reflects increased efforts by states to control costs, a decline in supplemental payments to hospitals, and a decrease in per enrollee costs for newly eligible adults.

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