Health care spending slows down

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The report noted that US health spending rose by 5.1 percent in 2014, and then by 5.8 percent in 2015. "When you add people to the rolls of Medicaid and private health insurance they are going to be using all types of medical goods and services".

National health spending increased 4.3% in 2016 compared to 5.8% in 2015, according to a new study by the Office of the Actuary at CMS.

Home health care, which represents a 3% share of the health care system, saw spending rise at a slower pace in 2016 compared to the previous year.

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Medicare's growth rate decline was less significant than the other 2 payers (from 4.8% in 2015 to 3.9% in 2016), but the program was still limited by slowed physician and clinical services, as well as prescription drug spending.

The slowed growth in comparison to recent years is linked to decelerated spending for retail prescription drugs, hospital care, clinical services. Slower growth was due in part to slower enrollment growth and was partly offset by faster growth in hospital prices, which accelerated slightly from 0.9% in 2015 to 1.2% past year.

The total out-of-pocket health care spending in 2016 increased by 3.9%, a one percent increase from 2015's out-of-pocket rate of 2.8%.

The rate of spending growth for 2016 is more in-line with the average of 4.2% growth seen between 2008 and 2015.

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Medicaid spending growth grew 3.9% to $565.5 billion in 2016. Private health entities and Medicare reported lesser enrollment growth, while Medicare saw lower per enrollee growth rates. The notable slowdown in private health insurance spending was mainly driven by slower enrollment growth, slower growth in spending for retail prescription drugs, and a continued shift to high-deductible plans. Major payersPrivate health insurance rose 5.1% to $1.1 trillion, slower than 6.9% growth in 2015. Last year, on a per enrollee basis, Medicaid spending increased 0.9%, down from 4.5% in 2015, which reflects increased efforts by states to control costs, a decline in supplemental payments to hospitals, and a decrease in per enrollee costs for newly eligible adults.

The National Health Expenditure Accounts (NHEA) are the official estimates of total health care spending in the United States. The lone thriving growth in its wealth of goods and services was expenses for nursing care facilities and continuing care retirement communities. Medicaid spending grew 11.5% in 2014 and 9.5% in 2015, due in part to the ACA. A year before, spending on such drugs grew by 8.9 percent, and in 2014 by 12.4 percent.

The rate of healthcare spending in the United States slowed down a year ago to levels previously seen between 2008-2015, driven by much slower growth in spending for retail prescription drugs, as well as hospital care and physician and clinical services. CMS attributed the previous large increases to the introduction of new drugs and higher prices for existing drugs, particularly those used to help treat hepatitis C.

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