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Modest Health Care Spending Rise Expected for 2013: Report
Date:6/12/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Health care spending in the United States from 2011 to 2013 is expected to grow 4 percent, which is slightly more than the historic low of 3.8 percent in 2009, government officials said Tuesday.

According to the experts at the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), growth in health care spending by consumers remained sluggish in 2011 and that trend is expected to continue this year and next.

"We are expecting near-historic low growth in health spending for the first three years of our projection period," Sean Keehan, a senior economist in the CMS Office of the Actuary and lead author of the report, said during an early-afternoon press conference.

But in 2014, when all the facets of the Affordable Care Act go into effect, health care spending is expected to increase significantly, he added. "This is especially the case for prescription drugs and clinician clinical services," Keehan said.

"In addition, by 2021, the number of uninsured people is expected to be reduced by nearly 30 million," Keehan noted.

By 2021, health care spending is expected to be 19.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), up from 17.9 percent in 2010, according to the report published online June 12 and in the July print edition of Health Affairs.

Despite the slow rate in health spending growth seen during the recession and beyond, in 2014 health spending growth is expected to pick up and accelerate to 7.4 percent. This increase is largely due to the expansion of the Affordable Care Act, which will make medical care accessible for many more people, according to the report.

In addition, from 2011 through 2021, health care spending is expected to grow an average of 5.7 percent a year, which is 0.9 percent faster than the expected yearly increase in gross domestic product over that time.

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