Re­port: US health spend­ing hits $3.5T but growth slows

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - WEATHER -

WASH­ING­TON >> A gov­ern­ment re­port says the na­tion’s health care tab hit $3.5 tril­lion last year, or $10,739 per per­son. But be­hind those stag­ger­ing fig­ures is some fairly good news:

• The rate of growth slowed for the sec­ond year in a row, eco­nomic ex­perts at the fed­eral Health and Hu­man Ser­vices depart­ment re­ported Thurs­day.

• Health care spend­ing in­creased by 3.9 per­cent in 2017, fol­low­ing a 4.8 per­cent in­crease in 2016.

• Pri­vate in­sur­ance spend­ing grew more slowly in 2017, and so did Med­i­caid, and Medi­care costs grew at about the same rate. The over­all econ­omy grew faster than health spend­ing.

If moder­ate growth can be main­tained, that would make the U.S. health care sys­tem more man­age­able for fam­i­lies, em­ploy­ers and gov­ern­ment.

Cov­er­age ex­pan­sion and drug costs had ear­lier led to big­ger spend­ing in­creases.

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