U.S. Health Care Costs Projected to Continue to Climb

September 9, 2010

Pushed by a dramatic increase in the number of Americans who will get insurance under the new healthcare law, total U.S. medical spending will continue to gallop upward, consuming nearly 20 percent of the economy by 2019, according to a new government estimate.

The report estimated that healthcare spending will nearly double for the previously uninsured as many of the newly insured get care they now do without.

  • Before passage of the law, the United States was projected to spend $4.5 trillion on healthcare in 2019, up from about $2.6 trillion this year.
  • The overhaul is expected to push up the nation's 2019 healthcare bill to $4.6 trillion.
  • That translates to an average annual growth rate of 6.3% over the next decade, far outpacing the economy-wide inflation rate.

The continuing upward surge in total healthcare spending poses a challenge for President Obama and others who championed the healthcare overhaul as a way to "bend the cost curve."

Source:  Noam N. Levey, "U.S. healthcare costs projected to continue to climb," Los Angeles Times, September 9, 2010.

For report:

http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/abstract/hlthaff.2010.0788

 

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