CMS issued an annual report on national health care spending that showed nominal spending in the U.S. grew 4.4 percent last year, to $2.3 trillion, the slowest rate of growth since CMS started tracking health care spending in 1960. The health care spending rate in 2007 was 6.0. However, health care spending grew faster than nominal economic growth.
Jonathan Blum, director of CMS’s Center for Medicare Management, said the report “contains some welcome news and yet another warning sign. Health care spending as a percentage of GDP is rising at an unsustainable rate. It is clear that we need health insurance reform now.”
According to the report, health care’s share of the GDP grew to 16.2 for 2008, up .3 percent from 2007.
The recession naturally caused people to spend less on health care, and impacted their ability to buy private insurance. Spending on hospital care grew 4.5 percent in 2008 to $718.4 billion. Nursing home and home health spending grew a combined 11.1 percent. Private insurance spending was lower: 2.6 percent in 2008, down from 5.6 percent in 2007.