Healthcare Spending Slowed in 2010; Grew Only 3.9% to $2.6T

Healthcare spending in 2010 grew 3.9 percent, representing total health spending of $2.6 trillion, according to research published in Health Affairs.

These figures indicate a second straight year of slow healthcare spending growth, as spending in 2010 grew only 0.1 percentage point faster than in 2009. Researchers attribute the slow growth to persistently high unemployment, a substantial loss of private health insurance coverage, lower median household income and increased cost sharing that led people to forgo care or seek less expensive treatment options.

Other contributors to overall low growth included slow growth in private health insurance and out-of-pocket spending and slower growth in Medicare and Medicaid spending. The researchers revealed other key findings from their study of national healthcare spending:

•    Approximately 45 percent of the nation's health bill was financed by federal, state and local governments in 2010, up from 41 percent in 2007.
•    Private businesses spent $534.5 billion on healthcare in 2010, or 21 percent of the nation's total healthcare bill.
•    Household spending on healthcare in 2010 reached $725.5 billion, accounting for 28 percent of national health spending.

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