Reuters: U.S. health spending rose 3.7 percent in 2012 as economy dragged

A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration. REUTERS/Mike Segar

A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration.

CREDIT: REUTERS/MIKE SEGAR 

(Reuters) – U.S. healthcare spending rose 3.7 percent in 2012 to $2.8 trillion, the fourth year in a row in this range as the slow economic recovery tempered private insurance use, drug prices fell and the government held back payment increases for doctors, the Obama administration said on Monday.

Since 2009, increases in spending on healthcare have run from 3.6 percent to 3.8 percent, below pre-recession rates which have been falling since their peak in 2003, the report from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said.

“The relative stability since 2009 primarily reflects the lagged impact of the recent severe economic recession,” Anne Martin, an economist in the Office of the Actuary at CMS said during a news briefing.

On average, the cost for medical care was $8,915 per person in 2012, up from $8,658 per person in 2011.

The report comes as more than 2 million Americans on January 1 began receiving new coverage under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, commonly known as Obamacare.

The law, passed in 2010 and formally called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aims to extend insurance to millions of previously uninsured or underinsured Americans through online exchanges that offer government subsidies based on income. It also expands the Medicaid program for the poor in nearly half of the states.

Continue reading here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/06/us-usa-healthcare-spending-idUSBREA0510D20140106?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews

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