U.S. spending on health care grew 4.6% in 2018, slower than the 5.4% overall growth in the economy but up from 4.2% in 2017, largely due to reinstatement of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance tax after a one-year moratorium included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported today. Medicare, Medicaid and private coverage all experienced faster spending growth. The net cost of health insurance (comprised of non-medical insurance expenses like administration, taxes and underwriting gains and losses) increased 13.2%, up from 4.3% in 2017, driven largely by the health insurance tax reinstatement. Spending for hospital care grew 4.5%, down from 4.7% in 2017 due to slower growth in the use and intensity of hospital services. Spending for physician and clinical services grew 4.1%, down from 4.7% in 2017, while spending for retail prescription drugs grew 2.5%, despite increases in the use of generics. Retail drug spending does not include the cost of drugs administered in hospitals. The share of the economy devoted to health care spending fell to 17.7% from 17.9% in 2017. 

Related News Articles

Headline
Thirty-three state hospital associations filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to review this term an appeals court decision that held the…
Headline
The AHA, along with several other organizations, filed a a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to review this term an appeals court decision…
Headline
Employment at the nation's hospitals rose by 0.17% in December to a seasonally adjusted 5,297,100 people.
Headline
Twenty states and the District of Columbia Friday petitioned the Supreme Court to review this term a recent federal appeals court decision that held the…
Perspective
On behalf of the AHA Board of Trustees and our team, thank you for everything you do to advance health in America.
Blog
Sean Marotta, a partner at Hogan Lovells who authored AHA's amicus briefs in the case, answers questions about the decision.