- National healthcare spending grew less than 4% for the fourth year in a row in 2012, rising 3.7% to $2.8T, a report by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services shows.
- As a proportion of the total economy, expenditure edged down to 17.2% from 17.3%.
- The authors of the report said that the continued slow increase in spending was due to the lingering impact of the recession but that Obamacare has had a limited effect. However, the White House said the figures vindicated the President's signature policy.
- The authors were also cautious about whether the trend will continue, or whether growth will return to the higher levels experienced prior to the recession.
- The cost of hospital care rose 4.9% in 2012 and that for doctors' services and outpatient clinics 4.6%, although spending on prescription drugs increased just 0.4%, due to patent expiries.
- Relevant tickers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH, HCA, CYH, THC, UHS, HMA, LPNT, WAG, CVS, BIOS, RAD, MHS, PMC, OCR, MCK, CAH, ABC, ESRX, MHS, CAH.
- ETFS: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.