Update: Healthcare spending rate slows, but still reaches $3.5 trillion

The good news is that the rate of growth in healthcare spending has slowed in 2017 to 3.9% per year, compared to a 4.8% jump in 2016. But we will still spent an astounding $3.5 Trillion on healthcare in 2017, according to new data released by CMS. The slowdown is not necessarily all great news. Let’s look under the numbers: why did growth slow? It was not because of decreases in prices: in fact prices continued to rise. Instead the slow down in growth was due to a decrease in utilization, especially of high cost, complex procedures. Some of this decreased utilization could be due to a topic we have discussed often: shifting the cost burden to patients through high deductible plans. These type of plans have a role. When structured correctly they can expose people to the value decision about the costs and benefits and risks of certain healthcare interventions. But the burden is growing: recently the CDC reported that “more than 40 percent of Americans were on high-deductible plans in 2017, compared to only 25 percent in 2010.”  The bottomline is that healthcare costs continue to be a major source of stress directly on individual Americans and there is no magic bullet, or even coherent policy approach being seriously discussed today that would significantly address this burden.

Read MedCityNews: Healthcare spending slows, but still reaches $3.5 trillion

Read Health Affairs: National Health Care Spending In 2017: Growth Slows To Post–Great Recession Rates; Share Of GDP Stabilizes

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