Healthcare Inflation Falls to Lowest Rate in 14 Years

Healthcare prices rose only 1.8 percent in February 2012, the lowest rate of healthcare inflation since April 1998, according to a report from the Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending (pdf).

Hospital prices rose only by 1.9 percent year-over-year, and durable and non-durable medical equipment prices rose by a nominal 0.2 percent. Overall healthcare inflation has trended downward since October 2009, when it was 3.3 percent.

The Altarum Institute also indicated that healthcare spending growth continues to trend downward as well. There was a 3.9 percent growth in healthcare spending in February 2012 compared with February 2011, which hovered around the record full-year low of 3.8 percent in 2009.

Healthcare employment has hit an all-time high of 10.8 percent of total employment in the United States, as the sector created 26,000 new jobs in March — 8,000 of those at hospitals.

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