National Health Spending Accelerated 4.3% in 2012, Still Slower Than Past 5 Decades

Although national health expenditures grew at an estimated rate of 4.3 percent, higher than the 3.9 percent rate in each of the previous years 2009 to 2011, healthcare spending growth is still slower than the more than 50 years on record, according to a report from the Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending (pdf). 

National health expenditures (pdf) in seasonally-adjusted annual dollars were $2.87 trillion in December, with hospital spending accounting for $921 billion of that — or 32 percent of total health spending, according to the report.

Healthcare prices (pdf) in December 2012 rose 1.7 percent over the previous December, the lowest rise year-over-year since February 1998. The  12-month moving average was 2 percent, the lowest since December 1998. Hospital price growth in December 2012 fell 2.2 percent year-over-year.

Healthcare added 23,000 jobs in January 2013, similar to the average monthly growth of 24,000 jobs for the past two years. Ambulatory healthcare employment saw the strongest growth with 28,000 new jobs, beating typical growth for the whole health sector. In contrast, hospitals added 4,000 jobs, below the two-year monthly average of 6,000.

More Articles on Healthcare Spending and Employment:

February 2013 Issue of Becker's Hospital Review
17 Healthcare Niches — Observations for 2013
Is U.S. Health Spending Finally Under Control?

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