National health expenditures are projected to grow an average 5.5% annually during 2017-2026, outpacing average projected growth in gross domestic product by 1 percentage point, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Office of the Actuary reported yesterday. Prescription drugs are projected to experience the fastest average annual increase over the decade (6.3% per year), largely due to increased spending on specialty drugs, CMS said. The proportion of the population with health insurance is projected to fall from 91.1% in 2016 to 89.3% in 2026, partly due to the repeal of the individual mandate. The projections do not reflect the health provisions in the Bipartisan Budget Act enacted last week.

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