US health care spending hits $3.5 trillion in 2017, but rate of growth slows


WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — Health care spending in the United States topped $10,000 per person in 2017, which is undeniably a lot of money, but it actually represents a deceleration of the upward trend in health expenditures to pre-Affordable Care Act levels.

According to the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, national health spending grew at a rate of 3.9 percent last year, with Medicare spending up by 4.2 percent and Medicaid up by 2.9 percent. Private insurance spending rose 4.2 percent and out-of-pocket expenditures increased 2.9 percent.

U.S. health care spending increased 3.9 percent to reach $3.5 trillion, or $10,739 per person in 2017. Health care spending growth in 2017 was similar to average growth from 2008 to 2013, which preceded the faster growth experienced during the 2014-15 period that was marked by insurance coverage expansion and high rates of growth in retail prescription drug spending. The overall share of gross domestic product (GDP) related to health care spending was 17.9 percent in 2017, similar to that in 2016 (18.0 percent)