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Today CMS published health spending growth numbers for last year; US health care spending grew only 3.9% while the overall economy grew by 3.8%. Consequently health care as a share of GDP stayed at 17.6%. This is a significant slowing of health care costs which had increased by double digits in past years. Unfortunately the good news is not expected to last. In 2014 CMS estimates a blip in health care spending as 22.9 million Americans gain coverage. However that trend is expected to return to more modest levels by 2015, slightly below what would have been expected without reform. Government’s share of the health care pie is expected to continue to grow. The share of health care spent on drugs and physician/clinic services is expected to rise and hospitals’ share of spending is expected to decrease under reform. CMS predicts that taxes on more expensive health plans scheduled for 2018 will cause the rate of growth in health costs, both premiums and use of health services, to slow.
Ellen Andrews