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
Some individuals with “long COVID” may have a disability under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and other civil rights laws that entitles them to…
Blog
Individuals and states have tried — three times — to wipe the Affordable Care Act off the books. The Supreme Court today — for the third time — rejected those…
Headline
The United States Supreme Court this morning rejected the third major challenge to the Affordable Care Act, holding in a 7-2 decision that the challengers…
Headline
The Supreme Court should hold the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate constitutional, the Department of Justice said in a letter today to the Supreme…
Headline
States may apply until Jan. 20 for grants to implement and enforce certain market reforms and consumer protections to strengthen the private health insurance…
Perspective
“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good” is a quote credited to the French writer and thinker Voltaire. Although he died in 1778, that phrase is very…