Growth of healthcare costs remained muted in 2012

|By:, SA News Editor

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.

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